7.4/10
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33 user 6 critic
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 »

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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:

He was the long shot...heard 'round the world. 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

Phar Lap won 37 races (out of 51). His record included sequences of nine, fourteen, and eight wins. In an amazing burst as a three year-old, Phar Lap won the Rosehill Guineas, A.J.C. Derby and Craven Plate, and V.R.C. Derby before being beaten into third place in the 1929 Melbourne Cup. As the weights he was asked to carry rose, he tended to be entered in weight-for-age events where the weights are fixed depending upon the horse's age. 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

James Crofton: Can't you fire that guy?
Dave Davis: If I did, the goddamn horse would sit in the stall for the next month and cry.
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

Referenced in Emerald City (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder
(uncredited)
Music by Dave Dreyer
Lyrics by Al Jolson and Billy Rose
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Flick!
15 July 2005 | by frankscotryanSee all my reviews

For ANYone out there who is: A) an avid horse racing fan B) loves remarkable stories

or C) doesn't need an "all-star" cast to recognize a great film/story.

Phar Lap is great. Find out what happens to a sport when a freak of nature comes on the scene and creates a world-wide panic. From simple fans, horse & animal lovers, politicians and even the mafia. A story that will touch and amaze you in ways you never dreamed possible. See the lengths man would go to get "even" the playing field. Then watch as this thoroughbred smashes the measures taken. If you thought "Old Yeller" was great (and it was), this movie should knock your socks off. It's an amazing true story that MUST be seen to be believed. Forget "Black Stallion" and the rest. Phar Lap is FANtastic!!


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