7.2/10
7,285
61 user 49 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)
Reviews
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

Psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Richard Burton) 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 (Peter Firth), 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:

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

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roger Ebert wrote, "In a sort of psychological triple play, he uses his personal identification with horses as a focus for (a) his own and his mother's fascination with the passion of Christ; (b) his deeply seated masochism, and (c) his latent homosexuality. The play suggested the homosexuality; the film makes it all too obvious in a flashback to the childhood encounter with the horse and its rider, who is seen in specifically sexual terms." 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 The Simpsons: Springfield Up (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Unique, impressive, dark, intelligent.
18 January 2005 | by nikmaackSee all my reviews

I loved this movie so much, I found a copy of the play online, bought it, and read it with glee. It's a beautiful, complicated film -- definitely a must see. What I especially liked was the way the movie handled religion and insanity. Is curing someone of their mental illness taking away their religion? Is psychiatry a "cult of the normal"?

Richard Burton delivers hypnotic sermons, staring straight into the camera, as we slowly zoom in on his face. He confesses that he's jealous of his patient. The boy is in pain, but passion is pain. The boy is worshiping a pagan god -- something Burton wishes he could do as well. Instead, he settles for flipping through books, looking at photographs of old artifacts. The therapist wonders if he's taking the boy's god away by curing him.

If you like Carl Jung, you'll love this film! Equus, archetypal God, we love you!

Some complain that the psychology in this film is "campy" at best. Others say the film can't possibly compare to the stage play. Well, fine. Maybe it shouldn't be used as a model for treating patients, and maybe plays are different than movies. But the film as a piece of art, on its own, is powerful, moving, and fascinating.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Equus 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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