Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

All the Pretty Horses

By Betsy Wallace, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Adequate but disappointing book adaptation.

Movie PG-13 2000 135 minutes
All the Pretty Horses Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+
Read the book, then see the movie. You'll see that although there are some very handsome men in this movie, the book tells the story much, much better.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Only young Lucas Black (Sling Blade, Flash) seems to belong in this story about young boys devoted to horses, guns, and friendship. Henry Thomas and Matt Damon are solidly fine as the central buddy figures. They handle their horses well, but don't seem to understand the poetry beneath the frank, drawling dialogue, much of which screenwriter Ted Tally took directly from the Cormac McCarthy novel the film is based on. And so little attention is paid to developing the story's romance that viewers might wonder why the love story is even included. It's love at first site for Alejandra and Cole, a few brief scenes of flirtation, and then the "falling in love montage." Since so much of the subsequent events in the story follow from the tragic fact of their love, director Thorton would have been smart to spend more time making sure viewers would feel its power.

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES was shot to show as much Texan and Mexican landscape as possible. The screen fills up with one gorgeous view after another, but, as we start to feel the need to know the characters more intimately, the vistas become overwhelming. The movie should attract adults familiar with the book, and older teens familiar with the actors; both groups will most likely end up with an entertaining, but uneventful viewing experience. The stunning book is adequately adapted, but the big-screen heartthrobs don't do anything extraordinary onscreen.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 25, 2000
  • On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2002
  • Cast: Matt Damon , Penelope Cruz , Sam Shepard
  • Director: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Inclusion Information: Indigenous directors, Female actors
  • Studio: Miramax
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 135 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: violence and some sexuality.
  • Last updated: December 2, 2022

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate