Critic Reviews

84

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
This touching and beautifully photographed, if slightly overlong, tale of a boy and his horse follows the escapades of young Alec Ramsey (Reno), who is traveling across the ocean with his father.
100
Variety
The Black Stallion is a perfect gem.
100
Boston Globe
Generations from now, when people talk about horse movies, they won't be talking about "National Velvet" or "My Friend Flicka," they'll be talking about the majestic beauty of Carroll Ballard's The Black Stallion. [07 Feb 1980]
100
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
The relationship between man and beast develops slowly and mystically - the island interlude, utterly without dialogue, lasts 50 minutes, and is one of the most sustained, lyrical, rapturous sequences in the history of motion pictures, a visual symphony whose beauty cannot be oversold. [15 Mar 1980]
100
The first hour of this movie belongs among the great filmgoing experiences. It is described as an epic, and earns the description.
100
Washington Post
The Black Stallion is one of the few movies that justifies the word "sublime." It casts an immediate pictorial spell of wonder and discovery and sustains it until a fadeout that leaves you in a euphoric mood, lingering over images whose beauty and emotional intensity you want to prolong and savor. [9 Dec 1979, p.G1]
90
Chicago Reader
The film represents a studied, sophisticated approach to instinctual emotions: it's carefully, calculatingly naive, and amazingly it works.
90
Newsweek
Shot in stunning color by a gifted cinematographer named Caleb Deschanel, beautifully scored by Carmine Coppola in moods ranging from Arabian Nights impressionism to Wagnerian exaltation, the first hour of The Black Stallion is a state-of-the-art demonstration of film as a purely visual medium, a formal exercise that is nonetheless suffused with feeling. [29 Oct 1979, p.105]
50
For all its pretty glimpses of the desert island, the film never offers a clear, overall sense of what the place looks like; neither the camera nor the boy really goes exploring.
30
Though the freckle-faced Reno and Mickey Rooney (as the horse's crafty old trainer) are well cast, their scenes together are perfunctory and impersonal. Emotions are provided in stead by a busy and overbearing musical score. The film's story begins to move in fits and starts.

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