Formulaic, overly simple, too violent for tweens.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: August 2, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Western
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know


Killing, battle violence, knife, gun, sword fights, Indian massacre.


Brief crude humor, reference to castration.


Mild profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking, character with drinking problem, hookah.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of violence, including swords, knives, and guns. We see the result of the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee, with dead bodies everywhere. Characters and horses are shot, impaled, stabbed, and beheaded and one is threatened with castration. There are many tense scenes of peril, including quicksand. Characters drink, and Hopkins develops a drinking problem. A character smokes a hookah. There is some strong language and some crude humor. A woman offers Hopkins money and sex to get him to throw the race. The problem of prejudice against women and against those of other races, particularly mixed races, is a theme of the movie.

What's the story?

In 1890, courier Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortenson) and his dappled mustang Hidalgo were the undefeated champions of endurance riding competitions, races of hundreds, even thousands of miles. After Hopkins delivers a dispatch that leads to the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee, he starts drinking, stops racing, and gets a job re-enacting cowboy and Indian battles in the Buffalo Bill show. Then he is challenged to compete in the world's oldest endurance race, a 3000 mile race across the Arabian desert. Also entering the competition is a horse owned by a powerful Shiekh (Omar Sharif), for whom winning is a matter of pride, and one owned by a titled Englishwoman (Louise Lombard), for whom it is a matter of money. A win would give her access to the finest thoroughbred Arabians for breeding. Hopkins and Hidalgo face treacherous conditions and even more treacherous competitors. A sandstorm, locusts, quicksand, and a detour to rescue a kidnapped princess provide many opportunities for swashbuckling action and spectacular cinematography.

Is it any good?


The action and scenery of HIDALGO are entertaining. But the script is overly simple and formulaic. It's too violent for a PG audience, but not thoughtful or original enough for a PG-13 audience. There is a lot for the eyes, but not enough for the heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Hopkins was so conflicted about his heritage and how his experience in the race made him understand it differently. They might want to look this tribute to "the legend of Frank Hopkins" and comments like these from historians who say that he fabricated his stories.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 5, 2004
DVD release date:August 3, 2004
Cast:Omar Sharif, Viggo Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinson
Director:Joe Johnston
Studio:Buena Vista
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:adventure violence and some mild innuendo

This review of Hidalgo was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bySteve890 April 9, 2008

5 Stars

Excellent movie for young and old.
Teen, 16 years old Written bysurfrgirl April 9, 2008

Great action

Hidalgo is a great action movie. There is violance with knives, swords, and guns but i thought it was great. there are 2 parts that will make all horse lovers cry. there is reference to castration but it is funny. (if you see it you'll know what i mean)
Adult Written bysbdreamin April 9, 2008

If you like horses, you will like Hidalgo!

Hidalgo is about a guy and his horse who are invited to the hardest cross-country race in the world. It is based on a real man and his real horse, but then the story gets a little far-fetched. I guess Hollywood doesn't think we are interested in real-life stories unless there is fighting, a damsel in distress, and intrigue. In adding all that, they didn't really help to keep this from being a bit of a sleep-inducer. Unless your kids are absolutely NUTS about horses, I doubt it will hold their interest. The cinematography is pretty good, and Hidalgo, the painted pony is really an American icon. I heard that Viggo Mortenson and the horse got along so well that he kept the horse after the movie...not sure if that is true or not.


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