Name your favorite big screen horse.

Name your favorite big screen horse. May 3, 2010

With the breaking news that Steven Spielberg is going to turn the children’s book War Horse into a big-screen motion picture, I’m thinking back on my favorite movie horses.

I’m still not sure anything beats the majesty of The Black Stallion. There was something magical about that horse, as captured by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel – father of the lovely and talented Zooey (She and Him) and Emily (“Bones”) Deschanel, and husband to Mary Jo (“Twin Peaks”).

White Mane is a remarkable film about a horse, but it becomes distracting that the horse is played by horses of differing stature.

I’m sure somebody’s gonna say Seabiscuit, but I remember the people from that movie more than the horse.

Here’s an NPR article about the stage play of War Horse. Strange that I heard that report just this morning.

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  • Michael O.

    They don’t have names, but the horses in 28 Days Later. They are the essence of – horseness? Equinity?

  • linds

    The Black Stallion, all the way!

    And yet… this horse person really loved:

    Seabiscuit. Man, that horse could act. Redemption on four crooked legs. :)

    Spirit from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron – I have a soft spot for both horses and good cel animation.

    How are we forgetting National Velvet? The Pie is my favorite horse in all of literature. Okay, my favorite non-talking horse (Bree takes the cake, with Melynlas from the Chronicles of Prydain and Black Beauty running a close sentimental second).

    And every horse in every western ever. As Colonel Potter once said, the best part of a western movie is horses, horses, and more horses. :)

  • Emily Bradburn

    My favorite movies horses are: Brego and Shadowfax from Lord of the Rings, Spirit from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimaron, Flicka from Flicka, Sonya from Dreamer, and Ruffian from Ruffian.

  • Adam Hildebrandt

    Since people are diverting from the big screen, I am switching to Canvas. Any of the Horses from Swedish Illustrator John Bauer. In particular:

  • Would “Francis” of Francis the Talking Mule qualify?

  • Jonathan

    Well, it’s not a film (yet) but I’d love to see Athansor from Helprin’s Winter’s Tale.

  • Gene Branaman

    I’ve always loved the horses in classic Disney fairy tale movies, those rode by the charming princes. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty . . . there’s something fascinating about them. In a few cases, the animators seem to express what the viewer is feeling through the prince’s horse. A very interesting storytelling choice.

  • tyler

    Okay, if Rick can bring up camels, then I’m bringing up the cow from the Iranian movie The Cow.

  • The Neverending Story is dreadful but the early scene in the Slough of Despair- I mean the Swamp of Sadness- between Atreyu and his horse Artax is quite moving. The scenes in the swamp are so potent that nothing in the rest of the movie can live up to them.

  • Rick Ro.

    I’m gonna answer your question a twist. Not a horse, per se, but…

    Favorite movie camel – the calf from The Story of the Weeping Camel.

  • For my money, you can’t beat Trigger. Though Champion comes close.

  • Brian D.

    Jim Sheridan and Mike Newell’s 1992 “Into the West” is one of the most priceless fables about a horse and his boys. The wordless opening credits are a breathless introduction to this white beauty named Tir Na Nog. After that, she becomes the center of a whirl of magical realism that has always had my heart and memory.

  • Josh

    Black Stallion, all the way.

    That’s an interesting connection re. Deschanel. I always attributed the beauty of that movie to the powerful combination of Coppola and Ballard, but you have a strong argument. Ballard, of course, went on to film the equally gorgeous “Never Cry Wolf” and the enjoyable children’s film, “Fly Away Home”–w/Deschanel! so you may be right there. Looking up the rest of Deschanel’s career–as much as I was turned off by the gore of “The Passion,” it was beautifully shot–as was “The Natural,” one of the best Redman films of all time.

    As a sidenote: “Black Stallion” and “The Natural”–two movies that became better than the original books, thanks to Deschanel’s lens? Hmm!

  • Erik

    I would say Bree from The Horse and His Boy, but that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, and judging by the current stated of things in Narnia movie world, it won’t be done right anyway.

  • tyler

    Shadowfax is really cool, although I feel like he was more of a presence in the books than in the movies.