A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes include courage and perseverance. The movie explores the deep bond that can develop between people and animals.
Positive Role Models
Alec is a brave boy who manages to survive after a shipwreck. He learns the importance of responsibility and patience when training the horse who helped save his life.
Violence & Scariness
The shipwreck scene is intense and may be upsetting to kids. A ship catches fire and takes on water. Passengers are shown panicking, and a man even takes a knife to a young boy and cuts off his life jacket. The boy's father shoves the man into fire. A boy is shown alone and scared in the shipwreck's aftermath, surviving alone on an island.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes, cigars, and pipes (accurate for the era) and drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Black Stallion, based on the novel by Walter Farley, is about a young boy named Alec (Kelly Reno) who develops a deep bond with the horse who saved his life in the aftermath of the shipwreck that took his father's life. There's some violence and peril -- the shipwreck is shown in detail as passengers panic amid rising waters and out-of-control fires, and Alec's father shoves a man into a fire after he's caught trying to steal the boy's life jacket. Given how upsetting the shipwreck scene is, parents may want to skip that part and start when Alec lands safely on the beach. Characters smoke cigarettes, pipes, and cigars (accurate for the era the movie takes place in). Alec is a brave boy who manages to survive in harsh conditions and learns the importance of responsibility and patience. This is a beautiful movie for the whole family and one of the best horse-themed movies ever made. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Walter Farley's novel was adapted by director Carroll Ballard and Francis Ford Coppola's studio into one of the most breathtakingly beautiful, genuinely magical movies ever made. Part of the magic is that the movie has the courage to be quiet. There's very little dialogue, and there are long stretches without a single word. This allows The Black Stallion's images to do the work, and the cinematography by Caleb Deschanel is a joy for the eye and the spirit, creating exactly the right atmosphere for what Pauline Kael said "may be the greatest children's movie ever made."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.