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National Velvet (1944)

G  |   |  Drama, Family, Sport  |  26 January 1945 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,796 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 17 critic

A jaded former jockey helps a young girl prepare a wild but gifted horse for England's Grand National Sweepstakes.



(novel), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ...
Donald Brown (as Jackie Jenkins)
Juanita Quigley ...
Arthur Treacher ...
Terry Kilburn ...
Arthur Shields ...
Aubrey Mather ...
Alec Craig ...
Eugene Loring ...


Mi Taylor was a young wanderer and opportunist whose father had given him "all the roads in the Kingdom" to travel. One of the roads, and a notation in his father's journal, leads him to the quiet English country-side home of the Brown family. The youngest daughter, Velvet, has a passion for horses and when she wins the spirited steed Pie in a town lottery, Mi is encouraged to train the horse for the Grand National - England's greatest racing event. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the Novel "National Velvet" See more »


Drama | Family | Sport


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 January 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuego de juventud  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Future British MP Baroness Shirley Williams auditioned for the Velvet Brown role. See more »


Mr. Brown, a butcher who should know better, authoritatively announces that one small-to-medium-sized lobster will provide a family dinner for six: A claw apiece for he and his wife, the entire tail (the meatiest part of the crustacean) for his picky young son who's a finicky eater and what's "in-between" (basically all of it's inedible entrails) for his three teenage daughters - with some left over for the dog! In reality, a lobster of that size would hardly feed one hungry person. See more »


Donald Brown: I was sick all night!
Malvolia "Mally" Brown: That's a lie, Donald. You weren't sick.
Donald Brown: I could've been sick if I wanted to.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A frame, with music, was added to the film at the end: "To families of servicemen and women: Pictures exhibited in this theater are given to the armed forces for showing in combat areas around the world. [signed] War Activities Committee/Motion Picture Industry" See more »


Featured in 100 Years at the Movies (1994) See more »


Hielan Laddie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"The Greatest Horse Race Of Them All"
5 March 2004 | by (San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

My daughter already wrote a review of this movie in my sign in...but I want to add a few words.

‘National Velvet' was one of my two favorite movies as a child. (The other being 'The Wizard of Oz‘.) The cinematography, the acting, the script, and the music all came together is such a wonderful little heart felt drama that it can still bring tears to my jaded eyes. Based on a book by Enid Bagnold, the script followed the book quite well. The characters are so thoughtfully created. It's easy to become emotionally involved with the entire family and the quaint little Irish village in which they live. The premise...complete outsider believes in her horse and herself enough to chance a try at the greatest horse race in the world...is awe inspiring to any young person, especially a young girl in the 40's...a time when girls were sometimes ignored as humans beings let alone athletes. You would have to be terribly hard-boiled not to appreciate it's merit.

But the perspective I cherished most about this movie is the unabridged innocence in it's moral message.. It's almost magical how 'mom and apple pie' the movies were back then. I was really taken aback by the IMDB reviewer who asked...'Was the world ever really this trusting?' and then proceeded to chastize the director for his complacency regarding ‘unchaperoned' overnight travel involving the two main characters. My answer to his question is an unequivocal YES!!!! The movie going world was that trusting in the 40's.

My grandparents remember taking my mother to this movie when it was released. Then my mother took me to see it when I was young, and my daughter was lucky enough to be born at a time when she could watch it repeatedly on video tape. Now we have it on DVD. It's been a family favorite for generations, albeit generations of horse lovers. It was never about sex...it's about coming of age! It's about believing in yourself and working hard to reach your goals. Also, so old fashioned it wasn't even about the prize money! It's about the girl child who understood her horse had what it took to ‘be the best'. And yes, the director was indeed concerned with Elizabeth Taylor's lack of physical development because the book made a big deal about Velvet Brown (Liz Taylor's character) having to cut her hair and bind her chest so that she could pass as a male jockey when she went to the Grand National Steeplechase. This was a guys only sport back then...I think there have only been 12 women ever to compete in this race. It's almost insulting that anyone would bother to think the Lolita thing about this particular movie...besides, anyone having had anything at all to do with an adolescent girl and her horse would know that the only thing they ever think about with stars in their eyes have four hooves and a tail.

And now for a great bit of trivia...the stunt riding was performed by the now famous ‘Horse Whisperer', Monty Roberts. I believe he is given mentioned for his riding in the movie credits.

I give this movie a 10 out of 10! I never get tired of watching it again.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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