It’s easy to find horse-themed movies. Included in this collection are films about horses’ adventures and those about horse training and use. These movies include classics, action films, epics, and horse racing films. Among them are some of the best of all time. Treating the horses with respect was a common denominator among the best.
Movies about horses are the next best thing for horse lovers to do in their spare time. There are a number of notable horse-centric films, including Oscar-nominated documentaries, new classics, dramas, and family flicks.
Shawn S. Lealos updated this page on May 7th, 2020. Horse movies have proven to be a hit with both horse enthusiasts and those who enjoy fantastic sports or inspiring movies. Others, like one of the decade’s most abstract films, stretched the concept to its logical limits and came up with something entirely new.
Lynn Gibbs made the following update on November 3rd, 2021:
In some of the best horse movies, the horse is always the star of the show and the focus of the story. While the human characters in most films are excellent, it is the horses that teach humility and respect. Horse racing is a common theme in horse-related films, but there are other films and documentaries that show horses in the wild or on a farm. No matter where they are or what they are doing, the beautiful horses that appear in these well-known horse flicks always manage to impress the audience.
1. Black Beauty (1994)
Anna Sewell’s 1877 novel, Black Beauty, was the inspiration for the 1994 film adaptation. Disney’s upcoming cinematic adaptation of Sewell’s novel is the most recent of numerous film adaptations.
Viewers follow a stunning black horse by the name of Black Beauty throughout the film. Alan Cumming, the film’s narrator, narrates the story from his point of view. The movie begins with Black Beauty’s birth, but it really takes off when he falls in love with Ginger, a mare. This rendition of Black Beauty’s story was one of the best since it humanized horses and showed them in a new light.
2. My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)
Disney’s The Princess and the Frog
In addition to a 1986 film, the novel has been made into a 2017 movie. Although it is an animated story, people enjoyed reliving their childhood memories through this film.
Hasbro’s My Little Pony: The Movie follows the principal ponies as they attempt to save Ponyville from a dark force that has taken over Ponyville. These ponies are able to defeat evil forces by channeling the strength of their bonds with one another and with the rest of their tribe. Magic is a made-up concept in the My Little Pony universe, but it added a whimsical element to the movie.
3. Dark Horse (1992)
The story of Dark Horse illustrates that animals can have a positive effect on a person’s mental well-being. Allison Mills, the main character of the film, is a young woman dealing with the loss of her mother. She is sent to a local stable for community service after getting into trouble. There, she meets a horse named Jet who has a profound impact on the course of her life. Many people could relate to the film’s central conceit of a horse representing a lost soul, and the film was well received when it premiered at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.
4. Phar Lap (1983)
Phar Lap, a horse movie made in New Zealand and released in 1983, is based on the famed New Zealand-bred racing horse of the same name. To begin, we learn of the tragic demise of Phar Lap before flashing forward to follow the horse’s amazing journey to stardom. Following Michael Wilkinson’s book, the film depicts how the horse progressed from longshot into winner with a conclusion hinting that it was gamblers who killed the animal. As Phar Lap, Towering Inferno should have earned an award for his speed and professionalism on the set of the film. According to Museums Victoria, Phar Lap is one of the most popular racehorses in New Zealand’s history. This film’s popularity is attributed to this fact.
5. The Man From Snowy River (1982)
Kirk Douglas had a starring role in the film The Man from Snowy River. The western genre was on its way out by 1982, thus the movie didn’t do quite as well as it could have. When viewed in retrospect, the video is a good time, with some of the most stunning aerial vistas ever captured on film of horse herds.
Rancher Douglas is opposed to the concept of a young man who has inherited his father’s ranch falling in love with his daughter. There is a destiny for the young man and the stallion. This film has stayed with me for almost 30 years because of the enchantment it contained.
6. All Pretty Horses (2000)
No Country for Old Men and The Road, two of McCarthy’s best-known works, are two of the best movies ever made based on his work. However, McCarthy’s debut novel, All the Pretty Horses, was a critical success.
With Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz starring and Billy Bob Thornton directing, a film based on this book was released in 2000. It wasn’t Damon’s best film, but his character, who was raised on a ranch but later moved to Mexico after his grandfather died, was well-written and believable. He sets out to discover what’s left of the Wild West after his mother sells the ranch.
7. Sorry To Bother You (2018)
Boots Riley made his feature film directorial debut in 2018 with Sorry to Bother You, and the public was shocked by what they witnessed.
Cassandra Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a young man who discovers that a “white voice” can help him thrive in his telemarketing business. It was a major role for Stanfield’s career.
If you haven’t watched this satirical masterpiece, don’t tell anyone that the business he works for is developing equisapiens, because spoilers are inevitable.
8. Lean On Pete (2017)
2017 brought us Lean on Pete, one of the lesser-known films on this list. Charley, a 15-year-old orphan, appears in the film, which was written and directed by Andrew Haigh. To save Pete, a racehorse he loved, he steals it from the farm where he worked and sets off across America’s vast open spaces in search of a new home for the two of them. Their dependence on each other is heartwarmingly depicted in this film.
9. War Horse (2011)
Steven Spielberg adapted Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel War Horse for his 2011 film War Horse, which tells the story of a thoroughbred horse named Joey. Joey’s birth and subsequent training by Albert form the beginning of the story. Joey is sold to the army by Albert’s father when they need money to pay their landlord’s rent after their crops are destroyed by a deluge. However, Albert watches as his horse is shipped off to serve in the war. War Horse’s players and Joey’s horses were all fully dedicated to their roles.
When Albert reaches the age of legality, he joins Joey in the war effort. Albert and Joey have been reunited, as expected. It features an all-star cast including Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Marsan and Benedict Cumberbatch with Jeremy Irvine as Albert. This horse movie was nominated for six Oscars.
10. Seabiscuit (2003)
Since the 1940s, Seabiscuit has been the most successful thoroughbred racehorse in the United States. However, Seabiscuit was much more than a racehorse. As a symbol of optimism for Americans during the Great Depression, the horse was also smaller than normal.
In 1949, Shirley Temple starred in a cinematic adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s book about Seabiscuit, which was followed by the 2003 film. The film, which starred Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges and received seven Academy Award nominations, was directed by Gary Ross.
11. The Black Stallion (1979)
Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion is one of the best books for kids ever written on horses. The novel was made into a film in 1979, just five years after it was released. Shipwrecked on an Arabian stallion’s island, a child and the horse develop a close connection.
When a fisherman’s boat saves them, the two go back to their homes, but they keep in touch. Alec becomes a jockey and Black becomes a racehorse under the tutelage of the experienced trainers. The film’s editing and actor Mickey Rooney both garnered nominations for Academy Awards for their roles in this horse movie.
12. The Horse Whisperer (1998)
Robert Redford directed and starred in The Horse Whisperer, a 1995 film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Film adaptation of Nicholas Evans’ 1995 novel “Horse Whisperer” has Redford as the “Horse Whisperer” who can help a young girl (Scarlett Johansson) comprehend horses.
The movie opens with a scene in which Grace and her horse are involved in a tragic accident in which both they and their friend’s horse die.
Grace, who has one leg amputated below the knee, feels resentful as her horse suffers. Tom Booker steps in to lend a hand and helps the girl and her horse get back on their feet. In this picture, the relationship between the horse and the young girl was one of its most memorable aspects. Her performance in the film has been overshadowed.
13. Seacretariat (2010)
During the Great Depression, Seabiscuit became an iconic racehorse, while Secretariat remained one of the greatest thoroughbred racehorses of all time.
Among the best racehorses of the 20th century, he ranks second only to Man o’ War, who won five Eclipse Awards, according to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
It was in 2010 that Disney released a film about this incredible horse’s story. Diane Lane plays Secretariat’s owner, while John Malkovich plays the horse’s trainer in this film. However, Roger Ebert praised the film, calling it “genuine,” and the film was not as successful as other horse movies.
14. Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron (2002)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, released by DreamWorks Animation in 2002, is an amazing horse film. Horses don’t talk in this movie, but they communicate with sounds and body language exactly like a real horse would in the wild. In order to get an Oscar nomination, it had to impress the critics. However, Matt Damon’s narration of Spirit’s thoughts was a success.
In the story, the young colt grows into a stallion who leads his herd with pride. Wranglers grab him, and the colonel uses terrible methods to tame him. This connection between Spirit and the Native American child saves both of their lives. It’s a great film for all ages, even if it’s an animated one.
15. Hidalgo (2004)
In 2004, Joe Johnston directed the filmHildago, which premiered in theaters around the country. Frank Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo are the subjects of this biographical western. It’s worth noting that in actual life Hopkins was an accomplished long-distance rider who claimed to have won 400 races; nevertheless, most of his claims were thought to be false, given his involvement in circuses.
In 1891, he competed in a horse race in Arabia that was included in the film. Although the film received mixed reviews, horse aficionados will like this western. Despite the fact that the film was based on a genuine story, Viggo Mortensen’s portrayal of Hopkins was considered a fabrication.
16. National Velvet (1944)
During the Great National Steeplechase in 1935, a young girl named Velvet rode her horse, Pie, to victory in the race. A woman in the 1920s who achieved incredible feats was the focus of the novel, which was even though it was a work of fiction. In 1944, the film adaptation of the book was released.
Family-friendly film National Velvet was a huge success, with a 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor playing Velvet Brown and Mickey Rooney as the drifter who helps her. For its cultural significance, the film received five Oscar nominations, two of which it won, and was placed to the National Film Registry in 2003.
17. Buck (2011)
Buck, a film on the real-life horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman, was released in 2011. This was the individual who served as the primary consultant on Robert Redford’s fictional film The Horse Whisperer. His approach to horse training is based on leadership and sensitivity, and he refuses to use any kind of punishment. It’s one of the best documentaries about animals.
As a Sundance audience prize winner, this film offers an abundance of entertainment value for horse lovers. While working for folks who need help training and bonding with their horses, Buck travels the country. He also goes to clinics to teach people how to have a better relationship with their pets.
18. Dreamer (2005)
Dreamer, a family film about a horse trainer and his daughter, was released in 2005 and depicted how their connection changed as they worked with horses. He neglects his daughter while working hard to care for his horses, Kurt Russell portrays Ben in the film. Dakota Fanning, an eleven-year-old girl, is his child.
After years of neglect and tribulations, one horse, Soador, brings the two together and strengthens their friendship. In addition to the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Family Film, the ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie went to this film.