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Gallant Bess (1946)

Passed | | Drama, War | 1 January 1947 (USA)
In addition to the horse playing a dual role, the horse was also a gelding which is a male, not a female. Quite an acting challenge for any actor.



(story suggestion) (as Lt. Marvin Park U.S.N.R.), (story) | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
Lug Johnson
Lt. Bridgeman
Chief Petty Officer
John Burford ...
Bess ...


A young orphan farmboy has dreams of building a ranch with his horse Bess. But it's WWII, and he joins the navy and has to leave Bess behind. But while on patrol in the jungle, he finds a wounded horse to nurse back to health and to love. And in return, this new Bess not only becomes the unit mascot, but also saves the life of her master. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See Bess do stunts you never saw a horse do before. (original poster)


Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Man and His Horse  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Los Angeles on KTTV (Channel 11) Friday 17 May 1957, followed by Chicago 13 July 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Seattle 18 July 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Philadelphia 10 November 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), and by Minneapolis 20 November 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9); in New York City it was initially shown 10 November 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), and in San Francisco 14 October 1958 on KGO (Channel 7) . At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so these film showings were all still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see this one in its original Cinecolor glory until several years later. See more »


Referenced in It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

A war story... a horse story... a war horse story
24 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

My mother drove me to school, one morning when I was nine. On the way, she mystified me by announcing she'd pick me up early. She wouldn't say why, just smiled and said it'd be a surprise. In my family, you did't skip school for anything less than snow, illness, or death. so this was odd.

I wondered about the surprise thing all morning. At noon, Mom picked me up and drove me home. My favorite lunch was waiting on the table. I thought that was the surprise, but no, she said, something else was yet to come....

After lunch, she planted the two of us in front of the TV and told me, "There's a special movie on, this afternoon. I want you to see it."

It was "Gallant Bess."

I was a horse-crazy little girl with my own horse standing in a corral out back, but I remember being extraordinarily touched by "Gallant Bess." The adults in my life were still talking about WWII as if it'd just happened, so that seemed very close to me, too. I felt for that farm boy who lost his mare, Bess, to the WWII cause, and found her again, in what I was told was based on a true story. By the end, I was so caught up in empathizing with that young man and the horse, the ending seemed scary and amazing and is still clear in my mind's eye.

I suppose, compared to the high-tech, computer-enhanced images of today's films, "Gallant Bess" may seem mild. Those were simpler times. Maybe the acting's not outstanding, but there's a goodly amount of action and suspense.

This film impressed my mother so much that she took me out of school to see it. Once I'd seen it, I understood why. If you like a moving animal story, or if you've got a horse-crazy little kid in your house, y'all should see it, too.

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