Horse Movies ~ A Starting List of 9 Racers

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Photo montage of the 9 movies in the article. Across top from left to right: National Velvet, Champions, Shergar. Centre from left to right: International Velvet, Secretariat, Hildalgo. Lower from left to right: Racing Stripes, Phar Lap, Seabiscuit.

A while back we asked a selection of “horsey” people and others to give us their favourite horse movies. Here are the movies they chose that are about racing horses in one form or another. These are in date order of when the movie was first released.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie National Velvet

National Velvet 1944

The first and oldest of our horse movies also proved to be one of the most popular and the oldest of the horse movies on the list is National Velvet which stars a young Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown and Mickey Rooney as Michael “Mi” Taylor. This film won 2 Oscars and was nominated for 3 others.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie International Velvet

International Velvet 1978

International Velvet is an American film directed by the British director, Bryan Forbes. This horse movie stars Tatum O’Neal, Christopher Plummer, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Nanette Newman. It is a sequel to National Velvet.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie Phar Lap

Phar Lap 1983

The next horse movie, Phar Lap, is Australian and starred Tom Burlingson, Martin Vaughan, Ron Liebman, Judy Morris and James Steele. It is about the champion Australian racehorse after which the film is named.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie Champions

Champions 1984

No trailer for this one but this is fantastic

Champions is a horse movie about the champion jockey Bob Champion, who was diagnosed with cancer, and how he overcame this to win the Grand National riding Aldaniti. It stars John Hurt, Kirstie Alley, Edward Woodward and Jan Francis. The director, John Irvin, was nominated for an award at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival. John Hurt won an award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards in 1985 for his role in this film.

Image shows the theatrical poster of the horse movie Shergar.

Shergar 1999

Shergar is a movie about the abduction of the racehorse, Shergar, from a stud in Ireland in 1983. The movie stars Mickey Rourke, Sir Ian Holm and Billy Boyle.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit 2003

Seabiscuit is based upon a best selling non-fiction book by Laura Hillebrand. It is loosely based upon the life and racing career of the successful (despite being undersized and overlooked) racehorse Seabiscuit. The film stars Tobey MaGuire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Gary Stephens and William H. Macy. Seabiscuit was nominated for 7 academy awards.

Image shows theatrical poster of the horse movie Hidalgo.

Hidalgo 2004

Hidalgo is based upon the legend of Frank Hopkins, an American distance rider, and his mustang Hidalgo. They raced in Arabia in 1891against Bedouins riding pure-blooded Arabian horses. The movie stars Viggo Mortensen, Zuleika Robinson and Omar Sharif.

Image shows the theatrical poster for the animated horse (and zebra) movie Racing Stripes

Racing Stripes 2005

A family animated comedy movie about an abandoned zebra, Stripes, who believes he is a racehorse and dreams of training for, and competing in, horse races. Starring Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Malick and M. Emmet Walsh, it also has the voice talents of a whole gamut of others including Joshua Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Frankie Muniz and Snoop Dog.

Image shows theatrical poster for the horse movie Secretariat.

Secretariat 2010

The final movie in our list is Secretariat, which is also based upon a book, this time by William Nack. The film shows the life of the race horse, Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973. This film stars Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, James Cromwell, Kevin Connolly and Scott Glenn. Secretariat won a Christopher Award for Feature Film and a MovieGuide Award for Best Film for Mature Audiences in 2010. The soundtrack on this film is excellent.

That takes us over the finish line with these 9 racers. Which of these movies are your favourites? Do let us know via the comment box below. We look forward to bringing you further articles on horses in film and TV.

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