IMDb > The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

The Rocking Horse Winner (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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The Rocking Horse Winner -- This haunting tale of a boy driven to the limits of his life by his mother's materialism is based on one of D. H. Lawrence's most enduring short works. Plagued by his mother's obsession with money, a young boy discovers that by riding his toy rocking horse, he can predict the outcome of future horse races. But the more he wins, the more his mother spends, and the stakes get higher and higher.


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D.H. Lawrence (short story)
Anthony Pelissier (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Rocking Horse Winner on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 November 1949 (UK) See more »
"One of the finest portrayals of youthful distress that you are ever likely to witness." -- N.Y. TIMES See more »
A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(3 articles)
San Andreas 3-D
 (From Trailers from Hell. 12 October 2015, 7:26 PM, PDT)

John Howard Davies obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 25 August 2011, 3:50 AM, PDT)

John Howard Davies obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 25 August 2011, 3:50 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
First Lawrence Film is also the Best See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)

Valerie Hobson ... Hester Grahame
John Howard Davies ... Paul Grahame
Ronald Squire ... Oscar Cresswell

John Mills ... Bassett
Hugh Sinclair ... Richard Grahame
Charles Goldner ... Mr. Tsaldouris
Susan Richards ... Nannie
Cyril Smith ... Bailiff
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anthony Holles ... Bowler Hat (uncredited)
Melanie McKenzie ... Matilda Grahame (uncredited)
Michael Ripper ... 2nd Chauffeur (uncredited)
Johnnie Schofield ... 1st Chauffeur (uncredited)
Caroline Steer ... Joan Grahame (uncredited)

Directed by
Anthony Pelissier  (as Anthony Pélissier)
Writing credits
D.H. Lawrence (short story)

Anthony Pelissier (screenplay) (as Anthony Pélissier)

Produced by
John Mills .... producer
Earl St. John .... executive producer
Original Music by
William Alwyn 
Cinematography by
Desmond Dickinson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
John Seabourne Sr.  (as John Seabourne)
Casting by
Maude Spector 
Art Direction by
Carmen Dillon 
Makeup Department
Tony Sforzini .... makeup supervisor
Vivienne Walker .... hairdressing supervisor
Trevor Crole-Rees .... makeup assistant (uncredited)
Betty Dymore .... hairdressing assistant (uncredited)
Bob Lawrance .... makeup assistant (uncredited)
Nora Ridgeway .... hairdressing assistant (uncredited)
Production Management
Andrew Allan .... production manager
Phil C. Samuel .... production supervisor
Herbert Smith .... executive in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Asher .... assistant director
Frank Ernst .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Alec Gibb .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
R.B. Aunger .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Alec J. Henshaw .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Bill Holmes .... draughtsman (uncredited)
H. Don Lee .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
George Croll .... sound recordist
Harry Miller .... sound editor
John W. Mitchell .... sound recordist
Danny Daniel .... boom assistant (uncredited)
Peter Davies .... first assistant dubbing mixer (uncredited)
Basil Fenton-Smith .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Jack Goodwin .... sound maintenance (uncredited)
Gus Lloyd .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Francis Carver .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
H.A.R. Thomson .... camera operator (as Russell Thomson)
George Cannon .... still photographer (uncredited)
Reginald H. Morris .... focus puller (uncredited)
Alex Thomson .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bert Brown .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Doris Corby .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Mrs. W. Jackson .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Fred Pridmore .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Anne V. Coates .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Les Wiggins .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
David McCallum Sr. .... orchestra leader (as David McCallum)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra .... music player (as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
Other crew
Tilly Day .... continuity
Ray Cunnington .... floor publicist (uncredited)
Doreen Dearnaley .... production secretary (uncredited)
Ken Green .... publicist (uncredited)
Roy Munns .... office runner (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:91 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

[first lines]
Bassett:Are you looking for me?
Paul Grahame:You're Bassett, aren't you?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Rocking Horse Winner (1977) (TV)See more »


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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
First Lawrence Film is also the Best, 12 November 2005
Author: Prof_Lostiswitz from Cyberia

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).

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