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The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

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A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races.


(as Anthony Pélissier)


(short story), (screenplay) (as Anthony Pélissier)
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Cast overview:
John Howard Davies ...
Ronald Squire ...
Hugh Sinclair ...
Charles Goldner ...
Susan Richards ...
Cyril Smith ...


In London, the young Paul Grahame lives with his upper class but financially broken family. His wasteful mother Hester Grahame is a compulsive buyer, spending all the family money on new expensive dresses, jewels and objects for their home. His father Richard Grahame is a gambler, losing money in the horse races. His uncle Oscar Cresswell is permanently covering the Grahame family debts. When the servant Bassett is hired, Paul finds that he can predict the winner of the horse races by rocking his wooden horse. Paul asks Bassett to become his partner. The two of them bet their money on the races. Paul wants to prove that he is lucky in order to silence the house, which perpetually whispers to him that it needs more money. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Exciting As Your Wildest Dreams! See more »


Drama | Fantasy


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Release Date:

30 November 1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Amartiai goneon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Bassett: Are you looking for me?
Paul Grahame: You're Bassett, aren't you?
See more »


Version of The Rocking Horse Winner (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

First Lawrence Film is also the Best
12 November 2005 | by (Cyberia) – See all my reviews

It seems that this was the first time anyone had tried putting D.H. Lawrence on film; its also wonderfully well done, a great deal better than Ken Russell's overblown excess.

A large part of the credit goes to William Alwyn's creepy score, similar to the work he had done for Odd Man Out a few years before. Odd Man Out is reckoned to be one of the best British films, but this is about equal in quality.

I don't want to spoil the story for those who aren't familiar with it; but when you read that it's about a boy and his magic rocking horse, you might not be prepared for the darkness involved. The undertones of the story make it closer to Pasolini or Fassbinder than to anything we have come to expect from British cinema.

Some scenes of exposition are typical of the era, with a lot of scintillating conversation; these help to understand the story, but you can probably go to the fridge without missing too much. The essential scenes are - a) those with the rocking horse; b) those between the boy and the mother; c) all those with Alwyn's music. (Alwyn deserves a better reputation than he now enjoys).

Near the end is one shot you really should check out, where the boy sees the storm-clouds form into horses' heads.This must surely have been an influence on later movies like The Haunting (1963).

15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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