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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.


Martin Ritt


Carol Sobieski (screenplay), John McPhee (short story "Ruidoso")




Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Lloyd Bourdelle
Alexis Smith ... Sarah Blue
Robert Webber ... Mike Marsh
Murray Hamilton ... Tom Patterson
Andrew Rubin ... Buddy Bourdelle (as Andrew A. Rubin)
Steve Burns Steve Burns ... Randy Bourdelle (as Stephan Burns)
Susan Myers Susan Myers ... Kelly Marsh
Michael Hershewe Michael Hershewe ... Casey Bourdelle
Harry Caesar ... Calvin Lebec
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Jimmy Judson
Whit Bissell ... Dr. Williamson
James M. Halty James M. Halty ... Donovan (as Jimmy Halty)
William Pitt William Pitt ... Dr. Pitt (as William Pitt D.V.M.)
Dean Turpitt Dean Turpitt ... Dean
Sanders Delhomme 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 of winning a million bucks. Wanna bet? See more »


Drama | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The number of equines that ran in "The All-American Quarter Horse Futurity Stakes" horse race were ten quarter-horses. See more »


The audio of the horse hooves hitting the dirt frequently does not match what the actual hooves are doing while galloping. See more »


Lloyd Bourdelle: You're too big to be so stupid.
See more »


Featured in The Making of 'Casey's Shadow' (1978) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Dr. John
Performed by Dr. John
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User Reviews

Bourdelle Family Values
11 March 2016 | by bkoganbingSee 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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Release Date:

1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Coon-Ass Colt See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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