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Equus (1977)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  October 1977 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 5,348 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 29 critic

A psychiatrist attempts to uncover a troubled stable boy's disturbing obsession with horses.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Colin Blakely ...
Frank Strang
Dora Strang
Harry Dalton
Jill Mason
Margaret Dysart
John Wyman ...
Elva Mai Hoover ...
Miss Raintree
Ken James ...
Mr. Pearce
Patrick Brymer ...
Hospital Patient


A psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, investigates the savage blinding of six horses with a metal spike in a stable in Hampshire, England. The atrocity was committed by an unassuming seventeen-year-old stable boy named Alan Strang, the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father and a genteel, religious mother. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy's demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own. Written by Serenleono <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A moment of love becomes a crime of passion. See more »


Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

October 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Equus - Blinde Pferde  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Burton still had dye in his hair from his previous picture Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) that made his hair look orange when the light hit it. When Sidney Lumet told him, Burton sighed and said "Well, maybe if I'm good enough they won't notice." See more »


When Dr. Dysart is holding the "truth drug", he has his hand alternately open and closed around it. See more »


[first lines]
Martin Dysart: Afterward he says, they always embrace. The animal digs his sweaty brow into his cheek, and they stand in the dark for an hour, like a sated couple. And of all nonsensical things, I keep thinking about the horse, not the boy. The horse and what he might be trying to do. I keep seeing the huge head, kissing him with its chained mouth, nudging from the metal some desire absolutely irrelevant to fulfilling its bearing or propagating its own kind. What desire could this be? Not to stay...
See more »


Referenced in The Making of... 'Lifeforce' (1985) See more »


Motor City
Music by Nick Ingman
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

When Horror Meets Reality
23 April 2008 | by (Queens, New York) – See all my reviews

This movie is one of the most disturbing yet moving and deep movies I have ever seen. This movie in fact is not thought of as a horror movie but it surly could be considered one. It does not do what 99% of all horror movies do which is make you fearful of what might come out of the wall or make you jump out of your chair. Instead it haunts you psychologically in a way I have and probably most people have not seen in a movie. It makes you fearful of the truth. It makes you fearful of yourself and what your mind could do to you. How you could so easily get attached to something that it becomes obsessive and the only way to let go of that attachment is by hurting or destroying it or the idea of it. It is just so hard to describe what the message is in here because of how shocking and frightening it is. That is at least my interpretation of one of the most deep and meaningful movies I have seen. You know the movie is telling you something but you can't quite figure it out. Maybe you don't want to figure it out.

What helped bring this film to such a level was the:

The acting by Richard Burton and Peter Firth. Richard Burton gives one the top five performances of his career playing an experienced psychologist who has a new patient. That new patient is Peter Firth who plays a horse loving teenager who suddenly blinds six horses. Peter Firth and Richard Burton combined to give one of the most haunting and disturbing duo performances ever getting deep inside the mind of and thinking of the human being. Burton was so haunting with that look in his eyes when he plays crazy. He is one of the most underrated actors in terms of playing chilling and frightening performances. He could probably play Hannibal Lechter. Peter Firth to me was robbed of the Oscar losing to Jason Robards who played barely 10 minutes in Julia. Lets not make this into a an Oscar snub rant though. The truly haunting part about the acting is the effect that Firth's character has on the Burton's character who starts to envy him. At that point of the film I got more freaked out than ever have before but trust me there is plenty more that Firth and Burton do that will shock like you have never before.

The directing was superb. Sidney Lumet really shows here that he can do more than courtroom dramas. This is one of the best directed movies ever. In order for a movie to be so deep and so frightening the directing has to be great. Here Sidney Lumet proves once again why he is such a creative and great director. This is one of Lumet's best movies. This comes together with the cinematography and writing that really makes you feel the schizophrenic/craziness come over you.

This movie seems like it could be shown in many college classes or something of a high academic level. It really can be dissected in so many ways. The relationships of people and how they develop. The type of effect they can have on people and when can you truly say you have had a meaningful life or have really experienced life. For example lines like this: "That's what his stare has been saying to me all this time: 'At least I galloped - when did you?'" With lines like this you will question yourself and your experiences. Even worse, maybe the people defined as crazy are not crazy but instead maybe you are, In short what is truly normal or sane? Tough questions and statements that have been brought about by this movies that really brings this movie such a level that most movies and books can't reach in terms of maturity and meaning.

My advice would be too watch this film but you need to be at a mature level going into watch it. This is not your ordinary film, it is horrific at a deep level which does not come about too often in movies. Some scenes maybe freaky and psychologically frightening but if you watch this you will certain wonder about yourself and what goes on in your mind. Trust me you will definitely get something out of this.

One line that can describe one of the many themes in this movie is: "In my mouth lies this sharp chain, and it never comes out"

39 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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