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Casey's Shadow (1978)

PG | | Drama, Family, Sport | 1978 (UK)
Casey is a young boy in a family that trains racehorses. His best friend, a foal they call "Casey's Shadow", looks to be a loser, but comes out a champion.



(screenplay), (short story "Ruidoso")

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



Cast overview, first billed only:
Lloyd Bourdelle
Sarah Blue
Mike Marsh
Tom Patterson
Andrew Rubin ...
Buddy Bourdelle (as Andrew A. Rubin)
Steve Burns ...
Randy Bourdelle (as Stephan Burns)
Susan Myers ...
Kelly Marsh
Michael Hershewe ...
Casey Bourdelle
Calvin Lebec
Joel Fluellen ...
Jimmy Judson
Dr. Williamson
James M. Halty ...
Donovan (as Jimmy Halty)
William Pitt ...
Dr. Pitt (as William Pitt D.V.M.)
Dean Turpitt ...
Sanders Delhomme ...
Old Cajun


Casey is a young boy in a family that trains racehorses. His best friend, a foal they call "Casey's Shadow", looks to be a loser, but comes out a champion. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This crazy mixed-up family doesn't stand a chance to win a Million Bucks except with a little hope and luck. See more »


Drama | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Horse of a Different Color  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film's closing credits declare: "Our special thanks for the assistance of the following: Governor Jerry Apodaca and his staff of the state of New Mexico, Governor Edwin Edwards and his staff of the state of Louisiana, Fortuna Corporation, General Manager Al Rosa and his staff at Ruidoso Downs, the staff of the Lincoln National Forest." See more »


(at around 8 mins) Lloyd closes a book that he is trying to get Casey to read, but shortly after that it is open again. See more »


Lloyd Bourdelle: You're too big to be so stupid.
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Featured in The Making of 'Casey's Shadow' (1978) See more »


Music by Patrick Williams
Lyrics by Will Jennings
Performed by Dobie Gray
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User Reviews

Bourdelle Family Values
11 March 2016 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Casey's Shadow takes the movie viewer into the world of quarter horse racing. So named because the total distance one travels is a quarter of a mile. Two furlongs for those of us who follow thoroughbred racing. The horses are just bred for speed, no rating these animals. Just fly out of the starting gate faster than the rest.

Walter Matthau stars as a trainer who is a widower named Lloyd Bourdelle with three sons, Steve Burns, Andrew Rubin, and Michael Hershawe. The oldest who is Burns buys a quarter horse mare in foal at a steal. The mare dies, but her colt has great potential and is named for the youngest son Casey's Shadow.

This is a racing family these kids are as involved as their father is in the world of the track, like they'd have any choice if they didn't want the life. They also could badly use a woman's touch around the place, possibly to smooth out the rough edges. A wife might very well have stopped Matthau from making some critical mistakes that affect all around him, not just the family. There's a beautiful shot of the dirty dishes at the family trailer showing how badly these men have let themselves go to seed.

Sporting a walrus mustache like you would have seen a century earlier, Matthau does fine in mastering a Louisiana French Cajun accent as the book the film is based on makes it clear what the family origins are and how proud of them. The kids love the old man, but also see how flawed a character he is and the mistakes he's headed for. But Matthau wants to win Futurity at the famous Ruidoso Downs Quarter Horse track at any cost.

Others in the cast that stand out are Alexis Smith as an owner of quarter horses and Robert Webber a very different and cruel owner of the breed.

This is a nice boy and horse story especially with Hershawe and how he takes to the new colt. But it eschews a lot of the clichés with starring animal pictures and is refreshingly different.

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