Running Free

  • Review Date: July 7, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 82 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Cruel treatment of horses may upset some kids.
  • Review Date: July 7, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 82 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
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.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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Kids say

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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.

Families can talk about...

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

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 14, 2000
DVD release date:November 14, 2000
Cast:Chase Moore, Jan Decleir, Lukas Haas
Director:Sergei Bodrov
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Adventures, Horses and farm animals
Run time:82 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:all audiences

This review of Running Free was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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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Teen, 13 years old Written bybig_sister April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

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


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