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Horse Racing and The Movies

Updated on June 16, 2021

Horses In The Movies

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National Velvet (1944)

The film that turned Elizabeth Taylor into one of the most-loved actresses in the world, National Velvet depicts the story of a young girl, Velvet Brown, who wins a horse in a raffle that has a strong mind of its own and prefers to err on the side of unruly.

Determined not to lose faith in her beloved stead, Brown is convinced that it can run the Grand National and win and takes help from her friend Mi Taylor. Not in it for the cash, Velvet rides her horse herself despite having no experience and only does so to prove that her horse can do great things.

A film that leaves you warm and fuzzy inside, and still has a classic theatre feel – back when movies were a magical retreat for escapism.


Secretariat (2010)

A feel-good film that hooks the watcher in and doesn’t let them go until the credits start rolling, Secretariat takes you on a journey that consists of the rollercoaster of emotion that we go through when watching a competition unfold.

Completely inspirational, this movie tells us all about the horse that won the Triple Crown in 1973 and managed to establish itself as one of the greatest Thoroughbred racehorse ever.

Made by Disney, the twists and turns that this story leaves the viewer wanting more and sighing with relief when they get to the end – there’s nothing quite like having what you’ve wished for come true. A hard one to walk away from without a smile on your face.

Racing Stripes (2005)

A little less serious than other horse racing movies, Racing Stripes depicts the story of a baby zebra that is separated from a travelling circus and is found by a horse trainer.

The daughter of the horse trainer decides to keep the zebra as a pet after falling head over heels in love with him, and the story of her new zebra and incessant drive to racehorses unfolds in front of us. Forbidden by her father to do so after her mum died in an accident, she stands side by side with her new pet and insists that she can reach her goal.

Something a little different and more ‘out-there’, this is a great horse racing themed film for all of the family, and kids will definitely love it.

Dreamer (2005)

This film is one that shows the watcher that a horse isn’t just a horse; you don’t just race it and retire it – it brings so much more to life than that.

Dreamer stars Kurt Russell as a character who has a difficult relationship with his daughter whilst owning, training and raising a Thoroughbred racehorse.

The horse is injured and needs nursing back to full health in order to become a champion once more, which serves as a poetic story to run alongside his character nursing his relationship with his daughter back to full health. If inspiration is what you want, then that is what you’ll get from this film.

Seabiscuit (2003)

Possibly one of the most famous films to feature horseracing, Seabiscuit is beautiful as it is based on a true story that gets the watcher behind the underdog from the off – and every movie fan loves to see an underdog come out on top.

Seabiscuit managed to beat all the odds and raced to win, but it was the time that Seabiscuit actually won the race that really hits the audience hard.

During the time of the Great Depression, Seabiscuit became a little ray of hope for those who were suffering, and this film depicts the role this horse had on not only the people working alongside but the population who really took it to their hearts.

Champions (1984)

There is no other horse race in the world that comes close in terms of prestige to Aintree’s Grand National steeplechase, and ‘Champions’ is another film that involves this world-famous race.

Playing Bob Champion, Bob Hurt took the role and made it his own, winning the hearts of viewers by showing how Champion battled cancer, got through treatment, and never lost sight of wanting to get back on a horse.

It’s hard not to smile when you see him race to victory in the 1981 Grand National.


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