Which horses are the subject of movies?

There are a number of horse and horse racing movies that are worth a watch. Sometimes the films are based on a fictional tale, many others are non fiction but based on a jockey’s career rather than a horse. Some leave no doubt though as they are actually named after the actual horse that movie relates to. More often than not the horses are either instantly recognisable or high achievers in the sport such as Phar Lap, Shergar, Secretariat, and Ruffian. Here are four of our personal favourites:


Phar Lap (1983)

One epsecially for the Aussies and New Zealanders, as Phar Lap is well known for lifting the spirits of Australians during the great depression. A slow start in his career (his first 4 starts were loses), he went on to win an impressive 37 of 47 runs, with a 14 race winning streak for good measure. Wins included the Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, Victoria Derby and three Craven Plates. The many crazy subplots within the movie (from death threats to crazy weight carrying) are all true as is the bond between horse and groom. Well worth a watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88% IMDB:  7.3 / 10


Seabiscuit (2003)

One of the most successful sports genre movies of all time, the movie Seabiscuit is named after the book of the same name. It details SeaBiscuit’s victory against triple crown winner War Admiral and stars a stars a stellar cast including Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges and Tobey Maguire. Directed by Gary Ross the movie was nominated for seven academy awards. It’s the ultimate underdog story, as Seabiscuit only won four of his first 40 races before going on to become champion. Similar to Phar Lap, this occurred during the Great Depression and as such was seen as a story of hope and determination.

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%  IMDB: 7.3 / 10


Ruffian (2007)

Ruffian doesn’t have the household status of some racing greats, but that’s a shame as she’s a US Racing hall of fame Champion filly. With ten straight wins at one stage she won both the US Champion two and three-year-old filly awards in the 1970s. The movie summarises a stunning career cut short.

Rotten Tomatoes: ??  IMDB: 7.2 / 10


Secretariat (2010)

A movie detailing the life of the legendary thoroughbred Secretariat. Up there as one of the greatest horse of all time and winner of the triple crown in 1973. The scene where Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths is really evocative and highlights what a class act he was. The movie was released by Walt Disney pictures.

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%  IMDB:  7.2 / 10