Racing Stripes

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Racing Stripes Movie Poster Image
Live-action talking-animal movie has lots of potty humor.
  • PG
  • 2005
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's OK to be different. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence & Scariness

A zebra is surrounded and beaten up by a group of horses -- violence not shown, but the aftermath (knocked-out zebra) is. Some cartoonish violence: Flies and barnyard animals fall over, run, fly into things. A goose from New Jersey talks like he's an Italian-American mobster; he uses terms like "whacked" and "cement shoes" and vandalizes a motorcycle. Talk of how the mother of the lead teen girl died while horseracing.

Sexy Stuff

Some sexual innuendo and double entendre. 


"Ass" implied if not said. "Bitch" almost said, strongly implied. "S--t" almost said, strongly implied. The word "pecker" used as a clear double entrendre. When a female horse trots by, a male horse remarks, "Look at those flanks!" Iffy humor throughout. Flies eat, play, and talk about how much they love excrement. A fly urinates in a cup of espresso. Flatulence jokes. A goose flying overhead tries to defecate on the head of the antagonist. Childish taunting with words like "idiot," "butt," and "loser." 


Advertisements for Kodak and FedEx at the racetrack. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the animals asks another animal, "Would you care to join me for a drink?" 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Racing Stripes is a 2005 comedy in which a zebra raised on a farm in Kentucky wants to be the fastest on the racetrack against snobby thoroughbreds. There's quite a bit of humor involving defecation, urination, and flatulence. Profanity -- "s--t," "bitch," and "ass" -- is not quite said by characters in some scenes, but is strongly implied. There's some double entendre with words like "pecker," and when a female horse trots by, one of the male horses remarks, "Look at those flanks." Two flies eat horse excrement, and one of the flies urinates in a man's cup of espresso. A flying goose tries to defecate on the head of the antagonist. The movie also talks of how the mother of the lead teen girl died while horseracing. While there's an overall message of "It's OK to be different," that message is often drowned out by the potty humor on display throughout the movie. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJess F. December 28, 2016

Great movie! AWESOME

Awesome, AWESOME movie with great characters! Lots of good character development. Funny jokes for your kids and jokes you will catch yourself giggling at! The a... Continue reading
Parent of a 2, 2, 3, and 5-year-old Written bySLPandEE January 25, 2011
The idea is cute; talking animals are generally fun for little ones. Unfortunately, my husband and I agree, that it's not appropriate for the typical... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAbigail18817 October 3, 2018

Don't bother this movie!

I didn't like this movie since the beginning. The language is awful and not sutiable for young children.
Teen, 16 years old Written byTotally500 August 31, 2012

racing stripes is a well done movie

excellent movie best animal talking movie since babe

What's the story?

RACING STRIPES gets rolling when horse trainer turned farmer Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood) finds a baby zebra and brings him home. For his daughter, Channing (Hayden Panittiere), it's love at first sight. Three years later, Stripes is a cherished part of the farm family. But Stripes (voiced by Frankie Muniz), who has never seen another zebra, thinks he's a racehorse, like the thoroughbreds he sees at the racecourse next door, owned by snooty Carla (Wendie Malick). His friends include pony Tucker (Dustin Hoffman), a goat (Whoopi Goldberg), wayward seagull Goose, and horseflies Scuzz and Buzz. The racehorses jeer at him, but Stripes trains and dreams of winning a real race. A sympathetic filly named Sandy (Mandy Moore) provides encouragement. The animals find a way to let Channing know that Stripes is fast enough to race and she wants to ride him, but Nolan, whose wife died in a racing accident, doesn't want Channing to compete.

Is it any good?

If you can handle the potty humor, this is the best live-action talking-animal movie since the beloved Babe. The human performers are just fine, especially the underrated Greenwood. He is too often relegated to bad-guy roles, but he shows real warmth and screen presence here. Up-and-coming young Panittiere makes us believe in her devotion to her father and the dream of racing she shares with Stripes.

But Racing Stripes is all about the animals, and the voice talents and computer-aided "acting" make the characters very real and very appealing. The humor may overdo the doo-doo, but there are sweet and funny moments as Stripes tries to follow his dream and learns the importance of friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Stripes was so unhappy to find out he wasn't a horse in Racing Stripes. Why did Clara and Nolan have different ideas about what was important? Why do some people think "different" is scary?

  • This movie often used punchlines and catchphrases from other movies to get laughs. What were some of these references? Why would these references be in the movie? 

  • How does this movie compare to other movies in which "misfit" characters are made fun of by others but use their perceived "weirdness" as the strength that helps them attain their goal? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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