A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this version of Black Beauty veers far from the classic book by the same name. The plot revolves entirely around Anne. Black Beauty is seen only as her pet, in the context of how owning and caring for him shapes her character and provides a framework for her romance with Mr. Dixon. That being said, the importance of being kind to animals remains a theme, though not a prominent one. There's some violence when Black Beauty is shown being whipped, and there's a scary barn fire that's safely resolved. The version available for streaming is colorized.
What's the story?
Anne (Mona Freeman) is given the newborn Black Beauty as a birthday present, along with all the responsibility for his care and training. She learns how to handle him with patience and self discipline, but it's not until the dashing Mr. Dixon (Richard Denning) literally leaps into her life that she learns how to apply those traits to herself and to humans. While she's away at finishing school, Black Beauty is sold for a work horse. When she returns to find him gone, she's determined to track him down no matter what.
Is it any good?
As a cute, horsey romance, this version of BLACK BEAUTY is mildly entertaining. Mona Freeman is lively and engaging as a tomboy who learns to give people, and herself, the same patience and understanding she gives her favorite horse. Richard Denning is a handsome, dashing, winning love interest. Although the content is appropriate for younger viewers, it's probably better suited to older kids and tweens, especially horse lovers, who'll appreciate watching Anne discover her romantic feelings for Mr. Dixon and learn how to handle them as well as she handles Black Beauty. Note that the version available for streaming has been colorized, and not particularly well, though it will probably make it more engaging and relatable for kids who aren't used to black and white.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their favorite pets. Do you have one? Do you love it as much as Anne loves Black Beauty?
Why are movies and books about horses so popular? What can they teach us about ourselves and how we treat others?
What were horses used for in the in 1880s, when the movie takes place? Do we use them for any of the same things nowadays?
- In theaters: August 29, 1946
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 1991
- Cast: Mona Freeman, Richard Denning, Charles Evans
- Director: Max Nosseck
- Studio: Edward L. Alperson Productions
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 74 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 19, 2019
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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.
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