There’s nothing like a good horse racing movie to make the juice flow – and there have certainly been some amazing ones out there – from real life stories to fictional riots. Here we will look at our top 5 movies all around horse racing.
This 2003 film is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s novel, Seabiscuit: An American legend. It was set during the Depression, when people did not have much to smile about, but Seabiscuit gave everyone a little bit of hope.
Not only was the film a financial success, but it was also nominated for 7 Oscars. It tells the story of three men and a horse. These men transform their horse, from a dull but cheerful horse to a champion racehorse.
Red, a jockey; Howard, a wealthy businessman whose son has passed away, and Smith, a driver who was a skilled rider, cross all roads – and that leads them to Seabiscuit. They work together to create a horse that wins the hearts of everyone in America.
Phar Lap came out in 1983 and is a real classic. It tells the true story of a racehorse who has the most exciting journey. The horse dominated racing in the 1930s, but was never destined to become a champion.
He was foaled in New Zealand and trained in Australia. An unfortunate racehorse trainer persuades one of his few owners to buy Phar Lap unseen – and when the horse arrived in Australia, his new owner was disappointed – and would not waste money on his training.
Phar Lap agreed to train the horse for ⅔ of his gains, and started his career losing. Not long after, however, the horse began to win race after race and became the heart and soul of Australian racing.
This 2004 film is the true story of one man and his horse. Hidalgo was a Mustang that was ridden in the 1980s by Franklin T. Hopkins. Together, they were part of the Buffalo Bills Wild West show and were described as the greatest endurance horse and rider in the world.
They are then asked to prove this claim – by participating in the ‘Ocean of Fire’ race, which was a 3,000-mile race across the Najd desert.
Normally the race is only for purebred Arabian horses with Arabian riders, but an exception is given. Over the course of the race, they encounter lots of drama, many obstacles and numerous prejudices. They face breaking points and suffering, but reach the finish line. . . And when all is done, Frank Hidalgo allows to run free.
This film from 2010 had a big budget, an amazing cast and an excellent story. The film is based on four characters – Secretariat; The groom of the Secretariat, the owner of the Secretariat and the trainer of the Secretariat.
It is based on the true story of a thoroughbred racehorse that won the triple crown in 1973 and was the first horse to do so in 25 years. It’s about a woman named Penny who has to navigate a horse racing world run by men while running her family and trying to save her family’s stables.
The secretariat becomes her savior and together with the trainer and groomer they help the horse to write history.
The fifth title on our list is Drabet, a classic film noir from 1956, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Unlike the others, this is not a feel-good story. It is a dark and gritty film about a world of wannabe gangsters who want to break into a horse race track.
This is a movie full of suspense. Kubric moves through the timeline back and forth, which keeps the audience on their toes – and the film has no classic ‘hero’ or protagonist. The humans are right – good and bad – and the plot involves shooting a horse to create a distraction.
It goes wrong though, and it all gets ugly. This is not necessarily what everyone would consider a great horse racing movie, but it is dark, gritty and unique and draws you straight in whether you want to be it or not.
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