7.3/10
1,489
33 user 6 critic

Phar Lap (1983)

The true story of an Australian racehorse that became a champion, with the help of a local stableboy.

Director:

Simon Wincer
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Burlinson ... Tommy Woodcock
Richard Morgan Richard Morgan ... 'Cashy' Martin
Robert Grubb ... William Nielsen
Simon Wells Simon Wells ... Newsboy
Kelvyn Worth Kelvyn Worth ... Newsboy
Justin Ridley Justin Ridley ... Newsboy
Martin Vaughan ... Harry Telford
Brian Granrott Brian Granrott ... Reporter
Celia De Burgh Celia De Burgh ... Vi Telford
Steven Bannister Steven Bannister ... Cappy Telford (Younger)
Richard Terrill Richard Terrill ... Cappy Telford (Older)
Ron Leibman ... Dave Davis
Ross O'Donovan Ross O'Donovan ... Strapper
Ashley Grenville Ashley Grenville ... Strapper
Les Foxcroft 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:

Hero To A Nation See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Horse Called Phar Lap See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Phar Lap's death, his stuffed hide was donated to the Melbourne Museum (where it is one of the main attractions), his skeleton to Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and his heart to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. His heart was remarkable for its size, weighing 6.2 kg, compared with an average horse's heart weight of 3.2 kg. 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 »

Quotes

Tommy Woodcock: Mr. Telford used to train that horse too hard. If I can get him 90% fit, his heart'll get him to the line.
Dave Davis: The amount of faith you put in that heart of his, kid, it must be one hell of an organ.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original release opens with Phar Lap's death, with the rest of the film told in flashback. For it's American release where the story of Phar Lap is less known, the opening was removed, making Phar Lap's unexpected death more dramatic. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Lyrics by Al Jolson and Buddy G. DeSylva
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I stumbled on this movie having never heard of it...I'm glad I did!
16 July 2003 | by techspecSee all my reviews

This movie is the "Rocky" of animal pictures. Based on a true story, it made me want to go and do a little research on the real Phar Lap. Your emotions will span the scale while you watch this movie. It doesn't have an all star cast...or even a recognizable one, but this movie is worth a rental fee or purchase.


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