The Black Stallion

  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1979
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Breathtakingly beautiful, truly magical movie.
  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1979
  • Running Time: 118 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages


Violence & scariness

Although the movie is rated G, the shipwreck is very scary and Alec's father (Hoyt Axton) is killed

Sexy stuff




Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pauline Kael said this "may be the greatest children's movie ever made." Although the movie is rated G, the shipwreck is very scary and Alec's father is killed.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

As BLACK STALLION begins, a young boy named Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno) is on a ship with his father. Everything seems mysterious to him, the exotic passengers, the high-stakes poker game his father is playing, the wild and beautiful black horse he comforts with sugar cubes. Then the ship is destroyed in a storm, and only Alec and the horse survive. Alec patiently and persistently tames the horse. They are rescued and return to Alec's home. When the horse runs to a farm, Alec meets Henry (Mickey Rooney), a former trainer. They enter the horse in a race against two champions, and he and Alec triumph.

Is it any good?


Walter Farley's novel was adapted by director Ballard and Francis Ford Coppola's studio into one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and genuinely magical movies ever made. Part of the magic is that the movie has the courage to be quiet. There is very little dialogue, and long stretches without a single word. It allows its images to do the work, and the cinematography, by Caleb Deschanel is a joy for the eye and for the spirit, creating exactly the right atmosphere for what Pauline Kael said "may be the greatest children's movie ever made."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of the story Alec's father tells about Alexander the Great and his horse. Why does the horse trust Alec? Why is it important for Alec to win the race? What is the most important lesson Alec learns from Henry?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 17, 1979
DVD release date:May 1, 2001
Cast:Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr
Director:Carroll Ballard
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Horses and farm animals
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Black Stallion 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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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 20, 2010

Worth The Watch!!

Pretty Cool Horse Movie, in fact, I wish I could ride like that!!!!!! Story about a gorgeous Arab and a fantastic story about how an enthusiastic boy tries to tame it.
Kid, 11 years old September 12, 2011

Great Movie!

the ship sinking scene is really intense it even freaked me out about that but everything else is fine if you have someone who is 9 and under you should have parent guidance my opinion: PG for some scenes may upset young children
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bysarah_from_yale April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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