Running Free

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Running Free Movie Poster Image
Cruel treatment of horses may upset some kids.
  • G
  • 2000
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

A fair bit of animal fighting. Caesar voices that he will "kick (Lucky's) teeth in" and kills Lucky's mother with his hooves. Young Richard is whipped with a belt (offscreen). The little horse nearly drowns, gets separated from his mother, and then almos

Sexy Stuff

We see the bare bottoms of African bush children.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that sensitive children may be upset by the cruel treatment of horses. Many 5- and 6-year-old kids will love the horse's tale, but parents may have to read the occasional subtitles. Parents should be aware that the little horse nearly drowns, gets separated from his mother, and then almost dies of loneliness and neglect on the cross-continental journey. Also, thirst, snakes, and Caesar, an evil black stallion, almost do Lucky in when he is left to fend for himself in the desert. When the town is bombed, the horses are threatened by fire.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bybig_sister April 9, 2008

very cute horse movie....

i saw this movie when i was about was so good!! i fell in love with this movie!! okay for just about anyone

What's the story?

Set in 1914, RUNNING FREE is the story of Lucky, a colt born on a German supply ship bound for Africa. Lucky isn't so fortunate when he's separated from his mom, but things look up for the little guy when he meets an orphan stable boy named Richard. But when World War I begins, Lucky must learn to fend for himself. Out in the wilds of Africa, the horse befriends an antelope and an African girl.

Is it any good?

Beautifully shot by Russian director Sergei Bodrov, the Namibian landscape of South Western Africa unfolds in all its splendor. A-five-year-old boy sat rapt throughout, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the African scenery and totally caught up in Lucky's many traumas. He gripped his seat and rocked back and forth as the horse faced certain death on numerous occasions.

The young viewer could not read and needed to have the subtitles whispered to him. For example, "twelve years later" is essential information if audience members are to figure out that young Richard has grown up and returned to the desert to find his horse. The same little fellow laughed out loud at the little bare bums of the African bush children. Older children and adults will be put off by the redundant narration, which steps all over the hard work of the director. The endless and often inane commentary, voiced without passion by Lukas Haas, detracts from splendid visuals that tell a lucid story on their own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history of Africa, and the role it played in World War I.

Movie details

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