A ranked list of 15 of the best horse racing movies of all time

A ranked list of 15 of the best horse racing movies of all time

Horse racing is popular in many parts of the world, and is watched by millions of people. As a result, several filmmakers have tapped into the opportunity to produce movies about the sport. Some of the greatest horse racing movies were released in the early 20th century and are watched but many to date.

True story horse racing movies
Rachel Griffiths attends a screening of 'Ride Like a Girl' at Event Cinemas Innaloo on 12 September 2019 in Perth, Australia. It is one of the popular racing films. Photo: Faith Moran
Source: Getty Images

Horses are wonderful creatures known for their intelligence and loyalty. People also use them in red-carpet events. Their films are equally thrilling and enjoyable to watch with family and friends. Therefore, we have compiled a list of horse racing movies worth your time.

Best horse racing movies

Over the years, the animal has been featured in Old Westerns, war films, family dramas, and animations. Most movies are based on real‐life triumphs, while others are fictional thrillers and comedies. You can watch horse racing movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ platforms.

Elements of a good horse racing movie

Oldest horse racing movies
Willis Rowan of Australia, riding Blue Movie during Credit Suisse Challenge CSI5 Rolex CHI di Geneva in Geneva, in 2019. Photo: Davide Mombelli
Source: Getty Images

The most-watched horse racing films have unique themes and entertainment that make them interesting. Some of the best themes include:

  • Inspirational
  • Depicting real-life events
  • Featuring iconic horse racers
  • Focusing on actual internationally acclaimed races
  • A general film that can be watched and enjoyed by everyone in the family

Our list contains movies that captured some or all of the above themes, which make them stand out among the rest. Scroll down to enjoy the collection.

15. Barbaro: A Nation's Horse (2007)

The film details the life and death of Barbaro, a Kentucky derby-winning racehorse. Barbaro's life inspired many people but unfortunately broke a leg before dying. It is an emotional film that will likely level you in tears.

14. Ruffian (2007)

Best horse racing movies
Ruffian is one of the most entertaining racing films released in 2007. Photo: @horseracing100
Source: Instagram

Talk of the most exciting true story horse racing movies in history. The film is about Ruffian, a talented horse racer who dominated several racing competitions in the early 1970s. However, she died in 1975 without losing any race. Ruffian stars Sam Shepard as Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley.

13. Broadway Bill (1934)

If you are looking for the best horse racing comedy movies to watch, then Broadway Bill should be on your bucket list. The film, directed by Frank Capra and stars Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy, was also remade in 1950 as Riding High. It is also among the oldest horse racing movies in the cinema.

12. Hidalgo (2004)

Horse racing comedy movies
Viggo Mortensen atop his American Painted Horse Hidalgo during the film's promotion. Photo: Albert L. Ortega
Source: Getty Images

Hidalgo is one of the most exciting horse racing movies based on true stories that attracted global attention. The film features riders competing in a cross-desert race covering 3,000 miles. It follows the real-life characters of a jockey, Frank Hopkins and Hidalgo.

11. Champions (1983)

The 1983 film is based on the true story of jockey Bob Champion, starring John Hurt, Edward Woodward, and Jan Francis. Champion overcame many ordeals, including battling testicular cancer, to win the 1981 Grand National. It is an inspirational piece that has motivated many people who watch it.

10. A Day At The Races (1937)

Horse racing movies based on true stories
A poster of 'A Day at the Races' film featuring the main actors in 1937. Photo: FilmPublicity
Source: Getty Images

Starring the three Marx Brothers, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico, A Day At The Races is more of a themed skit set at a racecourse. In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked it as the 59th funniest film of all time.

9. The Winner's Circle (1949)

The film depicts the thrills, drama, and glamour of the sport of kings! It follows the long journey of the main character, from training and workout to ultimate triumph.

8. Dreamer (2005)

List of horse racing movies
Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell during the "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story" Premier at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California, United States, in October 2005. Photo: E. Charbonneau
Source: Getty Images

Dreamer is an inspiring tale featuring Ben Crane and his daughter Cale who adopts an injured horse. Ben and his daughter helped it recover and race again. It is one of the best stories on a second chance.

7. Black Stallion (1979)

The 1979 thriller is an adaptation of the 1941 children's novel by Walter Farley. It is one of the most exciting and emotional racing films. It focuses on the relationship between a horse and a boy.

6. The Cup (2011)

What happens when two brothers compete for the highest honour in a racing event? The Cup is a fantastic film that follows the plot. It features two brothers competing for the prestigious Melbourne Cup as drama and excitement build up.

5. National Velvet (1944)

Best horse racing movies
The 'National Velvet' was a hit film in 1944, watched by many people, including kids. Photo: FilmPublicityArchive
Source: Getty Images

National Velvet is an interesting movie about a 12-year-old girl named Velvet (Elizabeth Taylor) who saves a horse from the glue factory. She then trains it for the Grand National steeplechase. Interestingly, Velvet disguises herself as a man and rides it to victory.

4. Kentucky (1938)

Directed by David Butler, the film depicts young lovers Jack and Sally, who come from horse-loving families. However, the Civil War interferes with their affair, with their families supporting different sides during the war.

3. Phar Lap (1983)

Horse racing movies based on true stories
Phar Lap (Towering Inferno) at Randwick with Tommy Woodcock (r) and Heath Harris (l) on August 7 1983. (Photo by Steven Holland)
Source: Getty Images

Phar Lap is a talented horse whose life touched the heart of many Australians. The horse developed an extra-large heart that led to its untimely death. Phar was a New Zealand champion and was adopted by Australia.

2. Secretariat (2010)

The film follows the amazing true life of a unique horse and its owner Penny Chenery. Penny's love and determination made her dominate the historically male-dominated sport.

1. Seabiscuit (2003)

Greatest horse racing movies
Tobey Maguire during a "Seabiscuit" Los Angeles Premiere at Mann's Bruin in Los Angeles, California, United States. Photo: Jeff Kravitz
Source: Getty Images

Seabiscuit follows the life of an underdog horse and an outsider who team up to overcome challenges and become champions. Tobey Maguire stars as jockey Red Pollard in the inspirational film, which got nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture.

Although horse racing movies are entertaining, filming takes a lot of preparation and caution. Sometimes, the animals become wild and attack the crew on set. Therefore, adequate training is recommended to ensure everything runs smoothly.

If you have not watched at least one of the best horse racing movies in this article, you should consider creating time to enjoy the films. The movies prove that animals can also be used to make entertaining films.

READ ALSO: Oldest football stadiums: Which was the first football stadium ever built?

Sportsbrief has in the past listed the oldest football stadiums, with some built over 100 years ago. Sheffield's Sandygate is considered the oldest, having been constructed in 1804. The Guinness Book of Records officially recognized the stadium as the world's oldest football ground.

Sandygate is widely believed to host the world's first football match between Hallam FC and Sheffield United in 1862. Click on the above link to discover other old football grounds.

Subscribe to watch new videos

Source: Sports Brief News