7.2/10
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60 user 45 critic

Equus (1977)

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

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Peter Shaffer (play), Peter Shaffer (screenplay)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Martin Dysart
Peter Firth ... Alan Strang
Colin Blakely ... Frank Strang
Joan Plowright ... Dora Strang
Harry Andrews ... Harry Dalton
Eileen Atkins ... Hesther Saloman
Jenny Agutter ... Jill Mason
Kate Reid ... Margaret Dysart
John Wyman ... Horseman
Elva Mai Hoover ... Miss Raintree
Ken James Ken James ... Mr. Pearce
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Hospital Patient
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Storyline

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 <verax@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"I am yours and you are mine" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Equus - Blinde Pferde See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The word "Equus" is from the Latin language and means "horse". It is also the zoological name for the genus of horses. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

[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 naked 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mr. B's Lost Shorts (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Motor City
(uncredited)
Music by Nick Ingman
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unique, Underappreciated Masterpiece
6 October 2001 | by Cheetah-6See all my reviews

A rare and masterful adaptation of a piercing psychological stage drama. An emotionally unstable young man trying to come to terms with his love and erotic attraction as well as religious like worship of horses. Absolutely gripping!

I remember when I saw this on stage, reading in the program, that the writer Peter Schafer was traveling through the English countryside when he happened to come across a local news story of a young man who had blinded 6 horses at a nearby stable. Hence the basis for this story. So in a way it's a true one, with the details behind the event being Schafer's invention. Something in itself quite remarkable. It's hard to image someone taking that bit of information and fabricating anything more probing or riveting than this. This work takes full advantage of the possibilities of the screen yet retains the intimate feel of a play. Especially effective are Richard Burton's monologues directed to the viewer with enough food for thought to last through many a viewing. Also thought provoking are his conversations with a female colleague about his experience with this emotionally disturbed young man. The way nudity is handled in this film is also a rare pleasure. Unashamedly presented in all it's natural beauty, both male and female. Most films seem to act like male nudity is just too shocking for us to handle.

It's curious to me that a number of reviews that I've read by professional critic's seem to have been made too uncomfortable with the depth and intensity of this film to give it the top rating that it deserves. Few films have dared be this bold, yet simple in it's natural telling of a highly unusual act of violence by a young man emotionally out of control and all the darkness that lie beneath.

Also interesting is a story such as this where the therapy and healing taking place seems to be shared equally by patient and doctor. No other film has played that angle with the understanding of Equus.

It's a shame this film is so under appreciated. It should easily be in the top 250 and quite possibly the top 100 of all time. The fact it has only 233 votes at Imdb is evidence of it's undeserved obscurity.

Rent this when your ready for something profound and unforgettable.


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