The Black Stallion

1979

Action / Adventure / Family / Sport

3
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 10123

Synopsis


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Cast

Mickey Rooney as Henry Dailey
Teri Garr as Alec's Mother
Hoyt Axton as Alec's Father
Kelly Reno as Alec Ramsey
1080p.BLU
1.85 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 58 min
P/S 2 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by consubandon 10 / 10

Much more than a children's movie...

This film is offered as children's fare. That does not matter to me. It succeeds as an professionally presented film for adults.

I am in no position to bellyache about how little it resembles Walter Farley's children's book. I have read some of the book. The book does not interest me.

Neither does its set-up for whatever sequels interest me. They were, by most accounts, mediocre.

This film, "The Black Stallion", holds a great deal more for me than most other pictures.

The film is one of the most powerfully beautiful sets of moving images I have ever seen on screen conjoined with sumptuous music and gently mesmerizing performances. Its editing awards, cinematography awards, and the awards for its music all were well deserved.

From the wreckage of the "Drake" through the lengthy bonding of boy and horse on the island, through to their rescue, not a word is spoken. It is one of the longest, most intensely cast verbal negative spaces in film. Civilization is dispensed with, language is removed, layers of meaning are stripped; there is no intellectual comfort on which to fall back. Into that emptiness fall the sound of waves and wind and rain as though natural extensions of Carmine Coppola's exquisite score. The film's soundtrack is wonderfully uncomplicated and moving. The island sequences are visited by small groups of instruments in turn -- a harp here, primitive percussion there, minimal woodwinds; no brass intrudes for a long time -- in musical experiments of loneliness yielding to companionship that echo the tentative meetings of the boy and the horse.

Such negative spaces abound in "The Black Stallion", carved from the soundtrack (the roar and crush of sound in the midst of the final race sequence blur out into a blissful, quiet emptiness touched lightly by flute and brass), washed clean of visuals (for the bulk of one critical scene, horse and boy, the centers of attention, disappear, literally, and focus is on the tiniest details of ticking watch hands and empty sheets of translucent night rain), and opened at great lengths in the dialogue: Alec's mother responds to her son's plea with a tortured delay and Teri Garr, in remarkable performance, draws out her strangely active non-speech for many long seconds before her two-word reply closes this particular negative space with the thunderclap of a rushing locomotive and the thrust of a guitar as the soundtrack slams back in.

The final burst of joy from the island sequence's soundtrack is so magnificent, so full and compelling, it is odd to listen, carefully, to its hesitant introduction as the horse finally permits the boy to mount: small flicks at the harp joined by a reed or two before the tympani knock insistently to tell us something miraculous has happened.

And we need that wake up call: We have to come up for air. Our vantage point for Alec's first ride begins *under water*. We see only six legs and, then, much boiling and thrashing in a scene that is as intimate and anticipatory as only the best love scenes ever filmed. And this *is* a love scene, in every sense. The charging aerial streamings and broad panning shots that follow the boy and the horse and the forces of nature, the sand and ocean through which they tear, convey as deep a physicality as in any love scene.

This film, with its powerful sensory immersion, offers much about love and tenderness and touch and connectedness to an audience inclined to forget that most motive force in life comes through the union of dissimilar entities and the experience of sex is, at its fullest, not just about bodies conjoined: it's also about longing and belonging and trust and completion though union with one's chosen and preferred. "The Black Stallion", G rating and all, is one of the most powerfully sexy films ever made. It offers every amended glory possible in any sexual relationship that proceeds past involvement of 'the plumbing'.

In both illustration and disclosure of why this film means so much to me, I might as well mention I was 38 the last time I watched this movie, my first viewing of it in many years. The young lady with me had never heard of it. When, at its end, she turned to hot, liquid sunshine in my arms, weeping in amazement, not fully understanding why she'd been so moved, we began a romance that has refused easy definition ever since -- but I cannot imagine a stronger bond. The magic of this film perfectly mirrored the best possible feelings within us. A kid's movie? Sure, if you say so.

This is a wonderful film. It will not push or drag you. But watch -- and listen -- closely and let it take you where it can and it will amaze you.

Reviewed by jerkyshaw 10 / 10

A masterpiece

It is hard for many people to accept that a little family film about a boy's relationship to a horse could be one of the greatest films ever made. But you must remember that not so long after The Black Stallion was released another film was made that was about a boy's relationship with a creature from another planet. That film is widely considered a masterpiece and its director has gone to become the most successful director in film history. I think it is worth noting that both films were written by the same person. Melissa Mathison, who wrote both E.T. and The Black Stallion, has penned two great films about a boys love friendship with a non human creature. And after several viewings of both I'm beginning to think that Stallion may be the better of the two. I doubt that I have ever seen a more atmospheric and emotional movie that holds up so well after repeat viewings. And I must say the sparse dialog is probably my favorite thing about it. Little is said but much is felt and isn't the feeling what is most important? This film has a beautiful look to it, which may have something to do with the director, Carol Ballard's, experience as a cinematographer. The wonderful images and rich detail draw you into the film and say more than words ever could. Great performances by everyone in the cast also boost this movie to the next level. Is The Black Stallion better than E.T.? I cannot say but it certainly feels that way. If you want to see a movie that is pure feeling than you should see this one.

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.

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