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War Horse (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, War | 25 December 2011 (USA)
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Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Lee Hall (screenplay), Richard Curtis (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,798 ( 204)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irvine ... Albert Narracott
Peter Mullan ... Ted Narracott
Emily Watson ... Rose Narracott
Niels Arestrup ... Grandfather
David Thewlis ... Lyons
Tom Hiddleston ... Capt. Nicholls
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Maj. Jamie Stewart
Celine Buckens ... Emilie
Toby Kebbell ... Geordie Soldier
Patrick Kennedy ... Lt. Charlie Waverly
Leonard Carow ... Michael
David Kross ... Gunther
Matt Milne ... Andrew Easton
Robert Emms ... David Lyons
Eddie Marsan ... Sgt. Fry
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Storyline

On the outbreak of the First World War, Albert's beloved horse 'Joey' is sold to the Cavalry by his Father. After being sent to France, in a bid to survive, Joey has an unexpected journey across war torn Europe. Albert enlists in the British Army, and is wounded during the Battle of the Somme. Whilst recovering in Hospital, he learns of a Horse, found in no mans land.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | India

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

25 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caballo de guerra See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$66,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,512,000, 23 December 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$79,884,879, 3 May 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$177,584,879, 3 May 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Fourteen horses played Joey during the movie. The main acting horse in the film, Finder's Key, also portrayed Seabiscuit (2003) in the eponymous movie about the famous racehorse. See more »

Goofs

The motorcycle the German soldiers are shown riding is a Triumph SD, an English model introduced in 1920. See more »

Quotes

Rose Narracott: [stopping her husband from taking a drink] Some days are best forgotten. Today ain't one of them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
Written by Frederick Edward Weatherly (as Frederick E. Weatherly) and Haydn Wood
Performed by John McCormack
Courtesy of RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
My Lovely Horse
25 January 2012 | by freemantle_ukSee all my reviews

World War II has been put to film a number of times in many different countries, but there are not nearly enough World War I films. Steven Spielberg set out to redress the balance giving us War Horse, an adaptation of a children's book and the play of the same name.

Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) is a young man living in Dartmoor in 1914. His father (Peter Mullan) buys a thoroughbred horse when he should have plough because of his rift with his landlord (David Thewlis). Albert is able to break in the horse who he names Joey and he shows to be a very special horse, strong, determined, loyal and intelligence. But when World War I breaks out, Joey is sold to a British office, Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) and during the course of the conflict the horse see all aspects, from a Calvary horse, in rural civilian life for a French girl suffering Hollywood's disease (i.e. they say she is dying but seems perfectly healthy), as a German work horse and in no man's land.

Spielberg has a good track record making historical films with Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Empire of the Sun. War Horse is a solid film rather then being a great film. It is a film that is rich in period detail, showing the brutal nature of World War I, from the effects of chemical warfare and you feel the muddy, dirty environment as horses pull a giant artillery battery up a hill and Spielberg knows how to make a mundane scene of a horse ploughing a field exciting and emotional (it must be the most boring village in the world for watching a horse ploughing to be considered entertainment). But at the same time there are also some problems, particularly Spielberg's reliance on cutesy humour, from a goose who chases people to a scene in the trenches. I would not be surprise if Richard Curtis was partially responsible. The film is too long and many scenes could have been shorten or cut, particularly in the beginning. I think the relationship and love between Albert and Joey could have easily have been done in half the time.

It was a great idea of using a horse to show the horrors of war and the different perspectives of war. It is a great opportunity to show that they are good guys and bad guys on both sides of the war. There is some success in that in the German army privates are show to be decent caring people to the horse, but the officer core and sergeants were very harsh and cruel. Compare it to the British officers who are noble, if a little arrogant or cocky, but there are hints in one of the officers that behind his eagerness that in reality he was scared of the prospect of going to war for the first time. I would have wanted to see more of a mixed picture within all sides of the war and try to give more depth to the characters.

There is a great cast in War Horse, we have emerging talent like Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch who in their small roles show they are going to be big actors (well more so), new talent like Irvine who was excellent, playing his character like Sam and Frodo from Lord of the Rings and Celine Buckens where the humour works best. Emily Watson was also brilliant as Albert's mother and it great to see in a big film. And of course Joey the horse shows a lot of promise as an animal performer.

John Williams also supplies Mr. Spielberg with another great score, fitting for the film and Janusz Kaminski continues with great camera work, from the bright work of Devon in the summer to more grey and dull view of the front line of the war.

War Horse is a solid piece of filmmaking. It is typical Oscar bait but it still works as a film and Spielberg is able to make us care for Joey.

7.5/10.


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