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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

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A wild stallion is captured by humans and slowly loses the will to resist training, yet, throughout his struggles for freedom, the stallion refuses to let go of the hope of one day returning home to his herd.


Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook


John Fusco (screenplay by), Michael Lucker (co-writer)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Matt Damon ... Spirit (voice)
James Cromwell ... The Colonel (voice)
Daniel Studi ... Little Creek (voice)
Chopper Bernet ... Sgt. Adams (voice)
Jeff LeBeau ... Murphy / Railroad Foreman (voice)
John Rubano John Rubano ... Soldier (voice)
Richard McGonagle ... Bill (voice)
Matt Levin ... Joe (voice) (as Matthew Levin)
Adam Paul ... Pete (voice)
Robert Cait ... Jake (voice)
Charles Napier ... Roy (voice)
Meredith Wells Meredith Wells ... Little Indian Girl (voice)
Zahn McClarnon ... Little Creek's Friend (voice)
Michael Horse ... Little Creek's Friend (voice)
Donald Fullilove ... Train Pull Foreman (voice) (as Don Fullilove)


A wild stallion is captured by humans and slowly loses the will to resist training, yet, throughout his struggles for freedom, the stallion refuses to let go of the hope of one day returning home to his herd.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Motion Picture Experience For Everyone See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Dreamworks [United States]





Release Date:

24 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spirit See more »


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,213,736, 27 May 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | Dolby


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The clouds at the opening scene are shaped as a bunch of running (/flying) horses. See more »


After Spirit has fought the cougar and the herd runs over to meet him, there are trees in the background. There is then a close up of Spirit and Esperanza (his mother) and a shot of the foal. Yet when the camera zooms out to show the whole group, the trees are gone. See more »


Little Creek: Take care of her... Spirit... who could not be broken.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No opening credits (for music composer, producers, screenplay and directors, etc.) are shown, which is story are about western horses is beginning well after the title of the film, "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron", although for the 2010s it conscious not quietly for commonplace and major films to not have opening credits. It was stuck of considered involving in 2002. See more »


Referenced in Pyrocynical: Shrek: The Best Movie Ever Made (2018) See more »


I Will Always Return
Written by Bryan Adams, R.J. Lange & Hans Zimmer
Performed by Bryan Adams
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent fare for younger viewers
2 January 2003 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

It's said that when Disney first contemplated Dinosaur (2000), the idea was to have the giant lizards play out non-speaking roles and that this was eventually abandoned, principally through a fear of alienating a junior audience. Asbury and Cook's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron reverses that decision, takes the braver choice and leaves the equine main characters mute - though still subject to some restrained first person narration by Matt Damon. `They say that the history of the west was written from the saddle of a horse - but it's never been told from the heart of one' he says and, right from the start, it is clear that this will be a Western with a different perspective. Animated Westerns are rare enough (the last one I can easily recall is Fievel Goes West (1991)) and those told from an animal's viewpoint even scarcer. Spirit is refreshing in that it carries off a combination of these two challenges effectively, if inevitably somewhat simplistically.

The stallion Spirit's indomitable nature is what shapes the narrative, and is his most defining characteristic. His craving for freedom and independence remain uppermost, even when eventually tempered by the relationships eventually established with the mare Rain and the Indian Little Creek. Strictly speaking, one might argue that Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is less of a Western than a nature film, in which pastoral ideals loom more important than the rigours of life at the frontier. As such, it plays more like a cross between the pony paean of Champion the Wonder Horse, and the pantheism of The Indian Fighter, than as a regular film of the genre. The traditional Western often centres around the establishment of civilisation, the drive West, the homestead movement, and so on. The scene in which Spirit wrecks the locomotive, checking the advance of the railroad, is at odds with a genre world view which, typically, has seen the iron way's coming as a tremendous advance.

Spirit seeks to keep the wilderness pristine, a place apart from the footfall of white men, where foals can be brought up in peace and security. Of course, his halt of railroad expansion can only be a temporary one, but it is good enough in the meantime. It is as well that he acts when and how he does too, for his friends the Indians are blissfully unaware of events, and seem unable to act with similar determination. A far cry from the marauding savages frequently presented by the Western in its heyday, the tribe here are a peaceful people, somewhat enervated by the need to have a strong animal lead and presumably the claims of political correctness. Little Creek is the exception (although still open-mouthed at the stallion's continued rebelliousness at the fort), even if his amazingly timely and successful trudge to find Spirit down the tracks strains belief.

First time co directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook have had some involvement with successful animated projects in the past, such as Prince of Egypt, Toy Story, and Little Mermaid. They've clearly learned from their experience. Hans Zimmer's stirring score (which echoes his triumphant Gladiator music at times) and Byan Adam's throaty warbling helps them along, and the story of Spirit runs like clockwork, displaying none of the cutesy parochialism which mars some of Disney's work. With no horse dialogue to slow matters down, much is conveyed through meaningful neighs and equine expressions, surprisingly effective in communication.

Some viewers have praised the quality of the animation, and while it is done effectively enough much of the figure drawing has a stripped-down quality which leads to a certain TV blandness (more noticeable in the pan-and-scan video version). The most effective animation occurs during the dramatic destruction of the railroad, but even here there's a suspicion that, had a little more care been spent on light and shade (for instance), the results would have been even more impressive. Least effective of all is the scene on the train, when the despondent Spirit sees his family and friends imagined in falling snowflakes, as the graphic visualisation is disappointingly unsubtle. It's at times like this that the soundtrack proves its worth, carrying the reader over such less effective patches with some emotional charge.

When all is said and done of course, it's the target audience which matters the most. The two junior ladies in my household have watched Spirit repeatedly since it arrived at Christmas and would give the film a big four thumbs up. No doubt the successful reception of the feature on the big screen may encourage a sequel (the antipathy between Spirit and The Colonel has been left unresolved, for instance) and in my home, at least, the result of Spirit and Rain beginning a family would be eagerly awaited.

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