TRAGIC And Magical True Story Horse Movies to Binge On!

Every movie genre has its fans, from drama to comedy. But true story horse movies combine the essences of most of them, giving their fans something to cry and laugh about. 

True story horse movies are perfect for watching alone or with family or friends and always have good morale. Everyone needs a piece of advice sometimes, so box check on the educational aspect.

So, if one craves to follow the herd of horses on Saturday evening, here is the list of movies to consider.   

Movie concept

The Emotion That Only True Horse Movies Can Evoke

Horses bear great significance for people. When one thinks of horses, the images that come up one’s head are power, freedom, and wisdom一something people wish to acquire.

But what is truly valuable in the true story racehorse movies is that it actually happened. And the love that exudes from these movies can’t help but make anyone hopeful. So, anytime one feels depressed, horse movie therapy is the cure. 

A List of Our Favorite True Story Horse Movies 

  1. Champions
Original titleChampions
DirectorJohn Irvin
Leading actorJohn Hurt
Year 1984
Why to watchA real-life story of strength and dedication
PlatformVudu, Prime Video, or Apple TV

The story follows Bob Champion (played by John Hurt), a real-life British steeplechase jockey. In 1979, his road to success abruptly stopped after he received a testicular cancer diagnosis.

However, he refuses to end his career. Instead, he commits to recovery and directs all his energy to winning the 1981 Grand National on his lucky horse Aldaniti 一 its prototype actually played in the movie. 

The film is inspiring in retrospect but maybe a little dull for those not used to old movies.

Final Point: 6.5/10

  1. A Sunday Horse
Original titleA Sunday Horse
DirectorVic Armstrong
Leading actorNikki Reed, Ryan Merriman, Cassi Thomson, Linda Hamilton
Year 2016
Why to watchA cheerful movie for when a fatality robs of confidence and support
PlatformPrime Video

Debi (Nikki Reed) goes through a near-fatal accident and ends up on the side road from horse riding. A former junior horse jumper champion, Debi now takes care of horses and other chores on a ranch.

However, when the opportunity came to rehabilitate herself, she took a chance to fulfill her lifelong dream of winning a national jumping championship. 

Debi receives criticism for even trying to go back on track, in all meanings. However, she is determined to win and prove everyone wrong. 

Unfortunately, the fall from a horse puts her in a coma and paralyzes her left side. The story must go on.

The film originates from the story of a real horse rider Debi Connor. He heroically persevered to achieve her dream through disbelief and pain.  

Final Point: 7/10

  1. Hidalgo
Original titleHidalgo
Leading actorViggo Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinston, Omar Sharif
Year 2004
Why to watchA wholesome film for fans of Westerns
PlatformHulu, Prime Video, Apple TV, Redbox, or Vudu

An epic biographical western tells the story of the legendary American distance rider Frank Hopkins and his loyal horse Hidalgo. 

Amid the plot, Frank has to enter an annual 3,000-mile (4,828 kilometers) race through a desert with Hidalgo. The challenge is life-threatening with purebred Arabian horses as opponents. 

But as the race sets off, the hero goes through a profound personal transformation and makes life-long friends. He also lets go of the dearest one. But whether the film is sad is up to the audience. 

Critics mentioned “too much cheese,” but the audience is the judge. 

Final Point: 7/10

  1. Miracle on the White Stallions
Original titleMiracle on the White Stallions
DirectorRon Miller, Walt Disney
Leading actorRon Miller, Walt Disney
Year 1963
Why to watchA Disney drama set during the World War II
PlatformRetro Reels

Miracle on the White Stallions follows the evacuation of the Lipizzaner horses from Vienna, Austria. In 1945, Col. Alois Podhajsky, the director of the Spanish Riding School there, was anxious to save the herd from refugees and the impending Soviet Army. He is afraid these purebred horses will become food for both. 

Former and future Olympics champion Alois Podhajsky and his fight melt into a moving story for a cozy Saturday evening.   

Final Point: 7.5/10

  1. Ride like a Girl
Original titleRide like a Girl
DirectorRichard Keddie, Rachel Griffiths
Leading actorTeresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton
Year 2019
Why to watchThe first female jockey winning the Melbourne Cup
PlatformPrime Video, Vudu, Apple TV

The movie conveys the story of real-life female jockey Michelle Payne 一 the first female jockey who won the 2015 Melbourne Cup. The awe comes from knowing it’s the toughest two-mile (3.22 kilometers) horse race in the world.  

The film shows Payne from her childhood years and into adulthood. The movie’s end follows her when she snatches the victory in front of the nation. 

The movie is a great dose of inspiration for those who feel down or seek something to put a smile on their face.

Final Point: 7.5/10

Popcorns at the cinema
  1. Ruffian
Original titleRuffian
DirectorYves Simoneau
Leading actorSam Shepard
Year 2007
Why to watchFor fans of sports docudrama

The film tells the story of the thoroughbred horse race champion Ruffian. Undefeated till her last breath, Ruffian breaks down in her final match race at Belmont Park in 1975 in front of the whole nation. 

The film is a depiction of a real-life story that all fans of horse racing must know. 

Final Point: 7.5/10

  1. 50 to 1
Original title50 to 1
DirectorJim Ulson
Leading actorChristian Kane, Skeet Ulrich
Year 2014
Why to watchMovie based on the real story of a Mine That Bird group, who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby
PlatformApple TV

The film comes from the real story of Mine That Bird, a group of reckless cowboys from New Mexico that sets on a journey to take the prize for winning the 2009 Kentucky Derby. 

The story had put the whole world on its ears when Mind That Bird’s thoroughbred horse, which had 50 to 1 odds of victory, made it first in the race.

But between starting the engine and winning the Kentucky Derby, the journey takes the horse’s owner Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane), and its trainer Chip Wooley (portrayed by Skeet Ulrich), through numerous hardships, challenging the relationship between the three. 

The film sends a green light to all the underdogs who are either fond of horses or anything else that makes one’s eyes spark.

Final Point: 8/10

  1. Dark Horse
Original titleDark Horse
DirectorLouise Osmond
Leading actorsJan Vokes, Howard Davies, Brian Vokes
Year 2015
Why to watchFor the drama and documentary in one film lovers
PlatformApple iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube

Dark Horse is a true story of how care and team enthusiasm can win people’s hearts. A group of friends from South Wales decides to breed a racehorse and compete in the “sport of kings.”

Together, Howard Davies, Jand Vokes, and her husband Biran Vokes 一 all played by real-life prototypes一raise a beautiful Dream Alliance to make him a future champion of the 2009 Welsh Grand National. 

A great movie that goes hand-in-hand with real events for every fan to follow.

Final Point: 8/10

  1. Walk. Ride. Rodeo
Original titleWalk. Ride. Rodeo
DirectorConor Allyn
Leading actorSpencer Locke
Year 2019
Why to watchInteresting for all age groups, especially teenagers

The story follows the life of a real rodeo barrel racer Amberley Snyder. Having survived a near-fatal car accident, she is paralyzed from the waist down. 

However, the trauma doesn’t stop her from achieving her dreams. Not only does she find herself able to continue horse riding, but she also enrolls in the Utah South college. 

In less than a year since the accident, Amberley successfully participates in rodeo. Not only that, but she also finds love and more passion than she could ever ask for.

Final Point: 8/10

  1. Phar Lap
Original titlePhar Lap: Heart of a Nation
DirectorSimon Wincer
Leading actorTom Burlinson, Martin Vaughan
Year 1983
Why to watchA moving flashback story about a friendship between a horse and a human

An incredibly touching story of Phar Lap, a thoroughbred racehorse, who becomes the Agua Caliente Handicap champion at the expense of all its efforts. 

Despite coming exhausted and ill to his trainer, Phar Lap soon shows his true talent, not without the help of his beloved strapper Tommy Woodcock, played by Tom Burlinson. 

The film is not easy to watch, so one has to be prepared. However, it’s a story we all occasionally need to feel humane.

Final Point: 8.5/10

  1. Dreamer
Original titleDreamer: Inspired by a True Story
DirectorJohn Gatins
Leading actorDakota Fanning, Kurt Russel
Year 2005
Why to watchA pleasant family film with horses
PlatformNetflix, Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV

Dreamer follows a real story of a thoroughbred racehorse, Mariah’s Storm (Sonya in the movie), who injures herself badly. 

Upon former frustration after failing to breed Sonya, her caretaker Ben Crance (played by Kurt Russell) finds her to still be fast enough despite the trauma.

Throughout the journey, he makes Sonya a champion. He builds a bond with his little daughter Cale (played by Dakota Fanning). 

The movie generally gives a great time for family bonding with beloved actors. 

Final Point: 9/10

  1. Seabiscuit
Original titleSeabiscuit
DirectorGary Ross
Leading actorTobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks
Year 2003
Why to watchAn Academy nominated racehorse movie
PlatformPrime Video, Paramount Plus, The Ruko Channel, Apple TV, Vudu

The movie is a screen adaptation of the 1999 nonfiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillebrand. The director Gary Ross loosely based his vision on the life and career of a thoroughly bred yet unexpectedly skillful horse named Seabiscuit.

Seabiscuit became a national sensation during the Great Depression. The movie shows how a broken-down horse can get a second chance with love and innovation. 

The film is the only one on the list that received attention at the Academy Awards, with seven nominations, including Best Picture.  

Final Point: 9/10

Family watching a movie

Wrapping Things Up

Horse movies can seem dull and all the same for someone outside. But the secret is those horse movies are rarely just about horses, competitions, or bets. What they are about is the power of friendship, spirit, and unstoppable faith in yourself and your neighing friend—truly eternal philosophies.