A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Danny is a 1977 movie about a girl who bonds with and trains an injured horse to health and, eventually, to participation in a county-wide horse riding contest. The wide lapels, feathered hair, hip-hugging pants, corny background music, and disco dancing firmly place this film in the 1970s, and the overall datedness of the movie make this best for only the most ardent of horse lovers. For parents and kids who love horses, the scenes in which Danny is being trained will keep them engaged.
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What's the story?
12-year-old Janie (Rebecca Page) is given the opportunity to take care of an injured horse named Danny while working in the stable of the Cummings, a rich family with a bratty teen daughter named Andrea. With the help of the kindly stable manager Pat (Janet Zarish), Janie develops a bond with Danny, even as Danny seems to actively dislike Andrea, causing the Cummings family to consider getting rid of Danny, who the winner-take-all father considers to be "a lemon." But through a deal arranged by a "secret benefactor," Janie is given the chance to assume full responsibility for Danny, as long as she also continues her work taking care of Andrea's new horse, and as Danny's health improves, Janie and Pat decide they would like to enter Danny into their county's annual horse riding contest, with Janie on the saddle.
Is it any good?
While no doubt a sweet movie about a young girl's love for an injured horse, DANNY, over three decades later, feels more than a bit dated. So much so, in fact, that it's best watched by those who grew up watching it as kids, and those who love movies about horses, horse training, and stable life. For others, the corny background music, the loud fashions, and the overall feel of 1970s style and culture makes this movie feel as dusty as the pair of velvet crushed bellbottoms your aunt keeps in her attic.
However, those interested in horses and horse training should be able to look past that, as there are many scenes in which the responsibility and dedication required to care for a horse are shown. While there are some holes in the story, and a clear attempt at the end of making a sequel, for those who can look past these quibbles and the datedness of the film, this is a competently made and acted movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horse movies. What similarities and differences do you see between this and other movies where horses feature prominently?
How is the culture of stable life and horse training conveyed in the film? Does it strike you as accurate?
What elements of the movie firmly date it in the 1970s? If the movie were to be remade for today, what would be different about it?
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