10 Best Horse Racing Movies
Historically, horse racing has formed a well rounded and less violent way for riders and fans alike to cheer and clap (and make a little extra on the side) as the jockeys showcase their mastery over those elegant stallions and mares of course. The silver screen has also over the decades captured some of the triumphs and tragedies of this spectator sport, mostly from the riders’ perspectives, especially as it touches the relationship between the two cultures (a jockey and his steed) over the duration of the film.
Listed on this page are perhaps the best horse-racing movies ever made, not just in terms of their cinematography, but also the emotion they have been able to evoke in their audiences throughout. Let’ see.
Hailed as having been inspired by real life events, the story’s retro feel and look accentuated by the stellar performances of the cast make it our number for this site. The film tells the comeback efforts of jockey Red Pollard (Toby Maguire) and his horse Seabiscuit from where the film derives its original score. The film never managed to garner the cast and crew any awards in spite of being nominated (Golden Globe,) but the real stallion was inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the late fifties.
- National Velvet
It is in this movie that the world caught first glance of the purple eyed actress Elizabeth Taylor. Others include Mickey Rooney as the trainer that tries to turn a young girl’s dream of competing for an old horse in the English Grand National (read more about the event at grand-national.club) after first having acquired some beginners luck success in a lottery race. Another great watch for racing fans and Golden Globe nominee of 1944.
- Black Stallion
You surely are familiarly acquainted with the hit TV series of the same name. It starred Mickey Rooney as the owner of the stallion. The emotive aspect was heightened by the soulful Spanish guitar stylings that rolled the credits at the end (Ahh…nostalgia).
The movie, however, stars Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, and follows the adventures of one Alec Ramsey. The boy is shipwrecked and discovers an Arabian stallion upon coming to shore. The two embark on a journey together that sees them compete against a champion horse, but that is after first being rescued. The film is based on a popular Children’s book published in 1941.
- War Horse
War Horse is an adaptation of an award-winning play. It was directed by Spielberg, and in true war movie fashion, it explores the complex relationship between a soldier serving in WW1 and his cavalry horse.
- Phar Lap
The title comes from the real life name of a 30’sAustralian racehorse that was the national champ and beloved of all. In the film, we get to see the owner’s prospect of driving this success beyond the land down under.
- Let It Ride
The film is about a racehorse bettor, so it’s sure to appeal to gambling fans. Jay Trotter is a bettor of horses that finds his four leaf clover and goes on a winning streak after he puts his money on a horse named Hot to Trot, despite best efforts by his friends to dissuade him.
- The Secretariat
The film chronicles the legacy of champion racehorse Bold Ruler’s son, who falls into the hands of Penny Chenery, and together they go on to win the Belmont stakes, arguably the biggest win in the history of the tournament.
- A Day At The Races
Following in the Marx brothers tradition of comedy (the early thirties btw), this beautiful black and white tale captures the foibles of Veterinarian treating humans, and it’s hilarious!
9.The Rocking-Horse Winner
Perhaps one of the most tragic adaptations of a short story by the same name, the film reprises the role of a young boy that accurately predicts winnings while rocking back and forth on his wooden rocking horse. I won’t give away the sad bits of the film, you’ll have to rent it and find out for yourself.
- The Horse Whisperer
Arguably one of the best horse-related movies of the nineties, this yarn tells of a trainers struggle to revive injured horses and the equally shattered rider’s ambition of racing again.