War Horse is a 2011 war drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, based on Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel of the same name and its 2007 play adaptation. The film's ensemble cast includes Jeremy Irvine (in his film acting debut), Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Marsan, Niels Arestrup, Toby Kebbell, David Kross, and Peter Mullan. Set before and during World War I, it tells of the journey of Joey, a bay Thoroughbred horse raised by British teenager Albert (Irvine), as he is bought by the British Army, leading him to encounter numerous individuals and owners throughout Europe, all the while experiencing the tragedies of the war happening around him.
DreamWorks Pictures acquired the film rights to the novel in December 2009, with Spielberg announced to direct the film in May 2010. Having directed many films set during the Second World War, it was his first film to tackle the events of World War I. Long-term Spielberg collaborators Janusz Kamiński, Michael Kahn, Rick Carter, and John Williams all worked on the film as cinematographer, editor, production designer, and music composer, respectively.
Produced by DreamWorks Pictures and released worldwide by Touchstone Pictures, War Horse became a box-office success and was met with positive reviews. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, two Golden Globe Awards and five BAFTAs.
In 1912, a bay Thoroughbred is born in Devon, England. At auction, farmer Ted Narracott (Peter Mullan) outbids his landlord Lyons for the colt, to the dismay of his wife Rose (Emily Watson). Their son Albert (Jeremy Irvine), accompanied by his best friend Andrew, names the colt Joey, and teaches him to come when he imitates an owl's call. Against all odds, the horse and boy successfully plough a rocky field, saving the family's farm.
In 1914, as war with Germany is declared, a heavy downpour ruins the family's crops, forcing Ted to sell Joey to the army. Captain James Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) sees Albert's attachment and promises to look after the steed. Albert tries to enlist but is too young, and before the company departs, he ties his father's pennant to Joey's bridle.
Joey bonds with Topthorn, a black horse with whom he is trained for his military role. The horses are deployed to Flanders with a flying column under the command of Nicholls and Major Jamie Stewart (Benedict Cumberbatch). They lead a cavalry charge through a German encampment, but the unit is decimated by machine gun fire. Nicholls is killed along with almost all his fellow cavalrymen; the Germans capture the horses.
Gunther, a young German soldier, is assigned to the care of Joey and Topthorn. When his brother Michael is sent to the front line, Gunther takes the horses and the four of them desert. The German army soon tracks down the boys and they are shot for desertion; however, the Germans leave without noticing the horses. They are found by a French girl named Emilie. German soldiers arrive at her grandfather's farm, but Emilie hides the horses in her bedroom. For her birthday, Emilie's grandfather allows her to ride Joey; they run into the Germans, who confiscate the horses. Emilie's grandfather keeps the pennant.
By 1918, Albert has enlisted and is fighting alongside Andrew in the Second Battle of the Somme. After a British charge into no man's land, Albert and Andrew miraculously make it across to the German trench, where a gas bomb explodes.
The Germans use Joey and Topthorn to haul artillery, under the care of Private Henglemann. He eventually tries to free them, but Topthorn succumbs to exhaustion and dies. Joey escapes, narrowly evading an oncoming Mark IV tank, and gallops into no man's land where he becomes entangled in barbed wire. Colin, a British soldier, makes his way to Joey under a white flag and tries to free him. Peter, a German soldier, comes over with wire cutters, and together they rescue Joey and remark on the remorseless war. To decide who should take the horse, they flip a coin; Colin wins and guides the injured Joey to the British trench.
Andrew is killed by the gas attack but Albert survives, temporarily blinded. While recuperating, he hears about the "miraculous horse" rescued from no-man's land. Just as Joey is about to be put down, he hears Albert's owl call. Albert, his eyes still bandaged, is able to describe Joey in perfect detail, and the two are reunited.
World War I ends, and Joey is ordered to be auctioned. Though Albert's comrades raise a collection to bid for the horse, the auction is won by Emilie's grandfather, who tells Albert that Emilie has died and the horse is all he has left of her. However, the old man recognizes the strength of the soldier's bond, and returns the pennant and Joey to Albert, as "Emilie would have wanted."
Albert returns with Joey to his family's farm, embracing his mother and returning the pennant to his father. The elder Narracott extends his hand to the boy, now a man and like him, a former soldier. Joey watches on, seemingly with pride.
- Jeremy Irvine as Albert Narracott
- Peter Mullan as Ted Narracott
- Emily Watson as Rose Narracott
- Niels Arestrup as Grandfather
- David Thewlis as Lyons
- Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Nicholls
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Jamie Stewart
- Céline Buckens as Emilie
- Toby Kebbell as Colin, the British soldier from South Shields
- Patrick Kennedy as Lieutenant Charlie Waverly
- Leonard Carow as Private Michael Schröder
- David Kross as Private Gunther Schröder
- Matt Milne as Andrew Easton
- Robert Emms as David Lyons
- Eddie Marsan as Sergeant Fry
The pre-production period only allowed for three months to train the horses before shooting commenced. The main horse trainer was Bobby Lovgren, and other horse trainers included Dylan Jones, Bill Lawrence, and Zelie Bullen.
During filming, fourteen different horses were used as the main horse character Joey, eight of them portraying him as an adult animal, four as a colt and two as a foal; four horses played the other main equine character, Topthorn. Up to 280 horses were used in a single scene. A farrier was on set to replace horseshoes sucked off in the mud during filming, and the horses playing the main horse characters had a specialist equine make-up team, with their coats dyed and markings added to ensure continuity. Equine artist Ali Bannister was responsible for the 'hair and make-up' of the horses, as well as drawing the sketches of horses that are featured in the film. Extra filming involving a bay foal took place in California in March 2011. Working with horses on this scale was a new experience for Spielberg, who commented: "The horses were an extraordinary experience for me, because several members of my family ride. I was really amazed at how expressive horses are and how much they can show what they're feeling."
Representatives of the American Humane Association were on set at all times to ensure the health and safety of all animals involved, and the Association awarded the film an "outstanding" rating for the care that was taken of all the animals during the production. However, a 2013 suit by former AHA employee Barbara Casey alleges that a horse was killed on set, but the organisation chose to "cover-up the death" to protect Spielberg's reputation. An animatronic horse was used for some parts of the scenes where Joey is trapped in barbed wire; the wire was rubber prop wire.Read more at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Horse_%28film%29
- The Nokk is a character in Disney’s 2019 animated feature Frozen II. It is the horse-shaped elemental spirit of [...]
- New Year's Day is an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Racing only as a two-year-old he won two of his three races including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
- Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. While your horse can't speak, we'll bet that he's thankful for a whole lot this Thanksgiving.
- The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus, which includes as subspecies the modern domesticated horse [...]
- Virtual horse games sound like something for small children, but plenty of adults play them. Sometimes they are horse lovers [...]
- The Banker horse is a breed of feral horse (Equus ferus caballus) living on barrier islands in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
- Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements and training for the battlefield, and has since developed into the competitive dressage seen today.
- White horses are born white and stay white throughout their lives. White horses may have brown, blue, or hazel eyes.
- Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and [...]
- White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. They are often associated with the sun chariot [...]
- In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. traveled to England, visiting Epsom in Surrey where The Derby had been running annually since 1780.
- Pegasus is a mythical winged divine horse, and one of the most recognized creatures in Greek mythology.
- The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. In each discipline, both individual and team medals are awarded.
- When you are looking to buy or sell property you are sure to have certain things in mind. This is a possibility especially if you have a specific need for it.
- If you are thinking of buying or selling horse property, register with a leading website that focuses on equine properties for sale.
- Unlike buying a home or a property, when it comes to buying an equestrian property to raise horses, the whole concept is something entirely different.
- You can sell equestrian real estate without much difficulty because there are unique websites that cater to buyers & sellers from around the world.
- There are several equestrian properties for sale but it is necessary to consider some basic points before you invest in a property.
- When you are planning your horse property for listing, do it through a popular and reliable website for equine real estate.
- Perhaps the most famous warhorse remains disputed; nonetheless, according to legend The TROJAN HORSE
- Horse racing in the United States dates back to 1665, which saw the establishment of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York.
- The American Quarter Horse, the official State Horse of Texas, is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances.
- Horse racing is a sport that translates well to board games. These are our picks for the best horse-racing board games.
- Between adhering to building codes and choosing the best equipment, there are many details to bear in mind when planning your dream stall barn.
- A movie ranch is a ranch that is at least partially dedicated for the creation and production of motion pictures and television productions.
- Everyone adores horses, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are tons of movies starring these beautiful creatures.
- Horses have captured the imagination and emotion of mankind for centuries – perhaps, in a way that no other species of animal ever has.
- Horse farms are often considered one of the most “green” businesses in agriculture. We don’t spread undue amounts of chemical fertilizer.
- Do you dream of owning your own stable, or perhaps just owning a place where you can keep your horses in the backyard?
- Anne Kusian, Arabian horse breeder and riding instructor are giving you a flavor of what are the advantages of owning a horse ranch.