Horse Racing Movies
Sports films are a cornerstone of modern cinema. They allow us to become immersed in competition and root for the underdog. Whether based on fact or fiction, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of a win or lose story.
Football, hockey and baseball have made up a majority of this popular genre, but it’s horse racing movies that have become some of the most compelling sports films produced.
Here is a list of 3 of the top horse racing movies ever made!
This film, based on a true story, chronicles the life of famed race horse Seabiscuit and his jockey, Red Pollard, portrayed by Toby Maguire, as they rise to popularity in American horse racing. The film boasts an impressive cast that includes Academy Awards winners Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper.
Even to racing amateurs, Seabiscuit is one of the most recognizable names in horse racing history, partly in thanks to the popularity of this film. It was both a critical and financial success at the box office and was nominated for 7 Academy awards including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
While it carries a serious tone throughout, it’s an ultimately uplifting story of the underdog.
Disney’s Secretariat tells the story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner; one of only 11 race horses to carry that title. Starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich in the lead roles, Secretariat is a film bolstered by it’s strong performances.
The film opened in the UK with little to no promotion and was played for only one week in most cinemas. While not the box office or critical darling that Seabiscuit was, the film details an important part of horse racing history and tells the story of one of the most famous thoroughbred horses ever to race.
National Velvet (1944)
One of the first and best horse racing movies to ever be made was this 1944 classic. The film starred Mickey Rooney and a 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor in one of her first roles.
National Velvet tells the story of Velvet Brown, played by Taylor, who wins a horse and trains it for the Grand National steeplechase.
The film is widely considered to be an American classic. At the 1945 Academy Awards, it scored 2 Oscar wins for both Best Supporting Actress and Best Editing. It is also one of the only films to receive universal acclaim on film site Rotten Tomatoes, currently sitting at a 100% fresh rating. In 2003, the Library of Congress added National Velvet to the United National Film Registry, preserving it for it’s cultural impact.
Many years after the film premiered, it spawned a sequel. The 1978 film, titled International Velvet, followed Velvet Brown into adulthood. Though showcasing an excellent cast, the film never managed the same success as the original.
If you’re a sports movie fan but have yet to enter the realm of horse racing, consider these 3 films as a beginner’s course in the horse racing movie sub-genre. As a sport that’s always evolving, you can be sure to look forward to even more horse racing movies in the future.