The true story of a Australian racehorse that becomes a champion with the help of a local stableboy.

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4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard Morgan ...
...
Simon Wells ...
Newsboy
Kelvyn Worth ...
Newsboy
Justin Ridley ...
Newsboy
Martin Vaughan ...
Harry Telford
Brian Granrott ...
Reporter
Celia De Burgh ...
Vi Telford
Steven Bannister ...
Cappy Telford (Younger)
Richard Terrill ...
Cappy Telford (Older)
...
Dave Davis
Ross O'Donovan ...
Strapper
Ashley Grenville ...
Strapper
Les Foxcroft ...
Brazier Man
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Storyline

Phar Lap, the legendary Australian racing horse, is as well-known today for his mysterious death as for his fabulous accomplishments in life. Beginning at the end, the film flashes back to the day that Phar Lap, despite his lack of pedigree, is purchased on impulse by trainer Harry Telford. Phar Lap loses his first races, but Telford's faith in the animal is unshakable. Suddenly the horse becomes a winner, thanks to the love and diligence of stableboy Tommy Woodcock. American-promoter Dave Davis arranges for Phar Lap to be entered in several top races, where his "long shot" status results in heavy losses for the professional gamblers. Just after winning an important race in Mexico, Phar Lap collapses and dies; though the film never comes out and says as much, it is assumed that the horse was "murdered" by the gambling interests. Written by Hal Erickson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When he beat the odds, they changed the rules. When he broke the records, they weighed him down. But he had one thing on his side...the faith of a boy. Together they lived a legend that inspired a nation and won the heart of the world. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 April 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Horse Called Phar Lap  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy Woodcock went on to become a horse trainer. One of his greatest success was Reckless, a horse which won the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane Cups and finished second in the Melbourne Cup in 1977. Tommy was respected for his training methods and his great love for horses. Tommy and his wife, Emma, had no children but their home was always open to the apprentices that Tommy trained. Tommy Woodcock trained horses until he was 78. He donated several of his personal mementoes of Phar Lap to the Museum of Victoria to go with the Museum's exhibit of Phar Lap's hide. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, in early 1928, Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford (Martin Vaughan) insists that the horse's name must contain seven letters, because the names of the last four Melbourne Cup winners had contained seven letters. In fact, only one of the previous four Melbourne Cup winners in the period in question, 1924-27, had seven letters in its name - Windbag, in 1925. The other winners in that period were Backwood (1924), Spearfelt (1926) and Trivalve (1927). Nor did the subsequent 1928 winner, Statesman, nor the 1929 winner, Nightmarch (to whom Phar Lap ran third), have seven letters in their names. See more »

Connections

Featured in 20 to 1: Greatest Sports Movies of All Time (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Little White Lies
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Donaldson
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User Reviews

 
TRULY REMARKABLE FILM...WILL MAKE YOU A HORSE LOVER OUT OF YOU!!!
12 April 2000 | by (HOUSTON, TEXAS) – See all my reviews

This is a fantastic movie! The best part about it is that it's based on the true story of a horse named Phar Lap, which means lightning in Chinese. This story tells you about the life of this horse, who was laughed at as a yearling, because of his skinny and scraggly appearance and ugly head and his inability to really "move". He was purchased to be a racehorse, and he was from good bloodlines, but he was bought for a mere pittance compared to what a typically good horse would cost. His trainer Harry Telford was about to give up on him and sell him at the owners request, an American named Dave Davis . Harry's assistant and strapper, Tommy Woodcock, begged for them to give HIM a chance with the horse. He had developed a strong bond with Phar Lap and really was attached to him. Given a chance with the horse, Tommy would show them all, as he took over the training. He worked the horse gently and steadfastly. The horse soon grew into a massive, muscular and handsome horse, worthy of anyone's attention. Phar Lap loved Tommy so much that he would do anything Tommy put forward for him to do. He started training and running at lighting speed and before long and was taken to the tracks to race against the two top horses in Australia.....where he won by a landslide! He raced and won the Melbourne Cup as well as many other famous races. He lived only 3 short years but won 30 races in that period. He ran against the best, and had many fans but many foes as well, since he was the fastest horse around. There were threats placed on his life if he were to continue racing. This is how awesome this horse was. He had intimidated the world of racing with his ability to out race all others, even with the heavy handicaps they tried to bring him down with. He proved to be unbeatable, even with the record breaking weight the Australian Horse Racing Association made him run with. He was so good that he was interfering with the odds at the races as no one could beat him. This did not make the bookmakers happy. He mysteriously died after a Huge race in America called the "Agua Caliente". He became one of the worlds most famous horses of all time. If you love horses, or you even like them a little, then see this movie and it will change your perspective on horses forever! TWO THUMBS UP, AAA+, and 5 STARS!


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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!!!!!!! THE CHEEKY SODS STOLE PHAR LAP!!! the_mad_oboist
Phar Lap purely the greatest horse to grace the racetrack? PharLap4Eva
Phar Lap on DVD?? ppremo
My first movie starcheeze
Real horse--ugly?? No way! waseom
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