The Black Stallion


Action / Adventure / Family / Sport


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August 05, 2015 at 07:55 AM


Mickey Rooney as Henry Dailey
Teri Garr as Alec's Mother
Hoyt Axton as Alec's Father
Kelly Reno as Alec Ramsey
1.85 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 58 min
P/S 3 / 17

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by victoria333 10 / 10

Beautiful, please see it for yourself...

First, please don't base your opinion on the last critic's remarks. You must see this movie and judge for yourself. I have been in love with this movie since I was 7 years old (1979) and I just watched it again for the first time in many years. I STILL love it!

It is one of my top ten movies of all time (Lawrence of Arabia being #1).

There isn't any bad acting. In fact, I think that Kelly Reno did a fine job as Alec...clever, introspective, and curious. Hoy Axton did a great job as his father, as well. Maybe I just connect with them because I had a similar relationship with my dad.

I challenge you to watch this film without nit-picking it to death, especially if you have an artistic soul. I thought it was lovingly directed with a lot of original camera shots (for 1979) and perfectly composed/matched music. Do you know there is an incredible length of time during this film where not one word is spoken? Nor, is it needed. Indeed, words would be sacrilege to the simple beauty of the growing friendship between boy and horse.

It's an exciting, heartwarming, beautiful, and moving tale...I can't wait to show it to my future children so I can share the magic.

*PS - make sure you turn up the bass in the beginning so you can hear the ship's heart - imagine being on that ship and hearing that all the time. It really helps set the tone and brings a conflicting sense of impending doom and comfort.

Reviewed by CinemaDude 10 / 10

A stunning visual banquet. Should be on everyone's must-see list.

For nearly the first hour, not more than a few pages of dialogue are spoken. Yet the camera is able to tell a complicated narrative as well as evoke powerful emotions with nothing but pure visuals. The scenes that establish the emotional relationship between the 10 year old protagonist and his equestrian soul-mate not only move the story along, but provide us with some of the most stunning visuals I have ever seen on film. It recalls the powerful visuals of films like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and NANOOK OF THE NORTH.

Then there is the mind-boggling riding stunts, if they are stunts that leaves one staring in wonder at what the young actor is doing right before our eyes. As far as I could tell, and it was the consensus of everyone who saw this film with me, there were no trick shots and no stunt doubles. The camera is too close and it is obvious that what we are seeing is real. Without giving much more than that away (because these sequences really need to unfold before you with no foreknowledge), it is enough to say that the first half of the film could stand alone as a complete work. Coupled with Carmine Coppola's exquisite score that matches every subtle turn of feeling with every scene, the picture is a joy to behold. A sequence with choreographed movement underwater is nothing short of an incredible ballet. How this film did not wind up on every one of those silly "top 100 films of all time" lists, I cannot fathom. How it did not win a multitude of Academy Awards is a mystery. Caleb Deschanel's cinematography is simply breathtaking.

The second half is no less a pleasure, but as the studios are wont to dictate, a story in the age of MTV and LETHAL WEAPON 16 cannot remain subtle and esoteric -- it can't be simply about the powerful bond between friends, boy and horse, man and between creatures beyond words and definitions. So there is conflict, action and a race; the tension that makes for exciting storytelling, yet the rich emotional texture that is achieved even without these more mundane fixtures still dominate the work. And I must add, those more spiritual qualities surprisingly are not diminished by the action sequences but remain the dominant elements of the film's power-of-the-whole. And where there is dialogue, much to director Ballard's credit, it is kept sparse, it's not strained but is quite believable. Even Mikey Rooney, who could have been any director's worst nightmare, turns out a touching performance.

This is a film that marries every element perfectly -- from the music to the photography to the precision editing to an improbable performance from such a young actor. The loudest kudos must go to the young Kelly Reno who turns out a performance that rivets you from the first scene to the last with its power and simplicity.

This is not just a good film -- this is a masterpiece; it's what cinema is all about. And of course the only way to see it is in a theatre on a large theatre screen, NOT on a 19in TV set. Even DVD is more like a xerox copy compared to the definition that a 35mm print provides. If there is an art cinema near you, go to the director and plead with him/her to book this gem. Bring your kids or your nieces and nephews -- the younger generation needs to see what real film-making is all about. And powerful statements about trust and friendship and personal strength wouldn't hurt them either.

Reviewed by Becky King 10 / 10

Amazing movie

I was so afraid to see this movie. The Black Stallion books defined my life until I was about 14 years old, if not longer (they have always continued in my memory). I read every single book that Mr. Farley wrote, most of them many times over, and I knew every character intimately - how they looked, how they talked, everything about them. And The Black - I know exactly how The Black looked and acted. So - when this movie was announced, 23 years ago, I refused to see it. I could not risk having all of my childhood memories shattered in the course of a 2 hour movie. But recently, in a discussion of favorite movies, a friend mentioned this movie as her favorite. Immediately, I was interested. So, nervously, I rented the movie, and settled in to watch it. My heart started pounding as the opening credits rolled - I was almost breathless waiting for it to start. All I can say is, now that I have seen it, I hate myself for waiting so long. Every detail of the book is captured perfectly, as if Mr. Copolla, Ms. Mathason, et al managed to film all of the images in my head and pour them onto the screen. The cinematography is astonishing, the score is beyond compare as to how well it fits with what is happening on screen. These are the technical details of the film - what is impossible to describe is just how closely this work captures the original book. There is no whiz-bang gadgetry, or special effects, although some young ones may find the shipwreck sequence to be frightening. It is a beautiful story, told masterfully.

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