Box art for War Horse

War Horse

  • Rated PG13
  • HD and SD formats available

drama


From legendary director Steven Spielberg comes the epic adventure War Horse, a tale of incredible loyalty, hope and tenacity. This deeply heartfelt story begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and his young trainer Albert.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    77%
  • Audience Score
    74%

common sense

ON for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Language
2 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Spielberg's sweeping horse drama is beautiful but intense.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the English children's book and hit Broadway show depicts war in a realistic manner that's too intense for younger kids. Despite being an earnest, sentimental horse drama, the war sequences show soldiers being killed in action (and for desertion) as well as a field of dead cavalry horses. Three subplots focusing on families depict their own wartime tragedies, including a drunk father; a sick, orphaned granddaughter; and a soldier trying to save his underage brother from going to the front line. But the heart of this story is the touching bond between Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who might be the bravest horse ever portrayed on film.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. What is its impact? Do you think it should have been toned down to make the movie even more family friendly?
  • Talk about the techniques Spielberg uses to "humanize" Joey. Do the extreme close-ups and swelling score make it easy to relate to the horse? Were you expecting the focus to shift to Joey's adventures instead of Albert's?
  • Why are horse movies so popular with audiences? Compare War Horse to other famous horse-centered films.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    77%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all War Horse reviews
  • Audience

    74%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: With the exception of a few lovely scenes, it's a hollow and bombastic piece of work, clobbering you over the head with its epic-ness when it's not cinematically yanking at your nosehairs in the hopes that you'll cry.

- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fresh: It's almost a great war movie in one direction, and almost a piece of irredeemable cheese in the other, and there you have it.

- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, Monday, December 26, 2011

Fresh: The incredible emotive power of this horse and the way in which the filmmakers were able to translate it on-screen are what stay with you.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Friday, December 23, 2011

Audience Reviews

2 stars

I'm a big fan of the book, have been for years but I'm probably a bigger fan of the theatre production of War Horse, I love the story and the theatre version using puppetry (for want of a better word as it is a little more advanced than puppetry). I'm not completely surprised by what Spielberg has done with his adaptation, if I'm being honest I thought it would be worse. The assembled cast is impressive, a who's who of contemporary British talent, apart from Jeremy Irvine who can't act, and everyone does a fine job. It's pretty predictable that Spielberg went to Richard Curtis for the screenplay, seeing as he is the only British screen writer even (*Groans*). The story is there, it's just that it's needlessly sugarcoated to the point of sickly, it's so heavy handed it's hard to take seriously. The CGI and blue-screen are also overused, it's funny really that he seems to be taking advantage of the recent success of the theatre production but is also showing why it is superior. The bearded one is getting old and tired and really needs to come up with a good idea of his own instead of pillaging other people's.

- SirPant, Monday, October 22, 2012

2 stars

I'm a big fan of the book, have been for years but I'm probably a bigger fan of the theatre production of War Horse, I love the story and the theatre version using puppetry (for want of a better word as it is a little more advanced than puppetry). I'm not completely surprised by what Spielberg has done with his adaptation, if I'm being honest I thought it would be worse. The assembled cast is impressive, a who's who of contemporary British talent, apart from Jeremy Irvine who can't act, and everyone does a fine job. It's pretty predictable that Spielberg went to Richard Curtis for the screenplay, seeing as he is the only British screen writer even (*Groans*). The story is there, it's just that it's needlessly sugarcoated to the point of sickly, it's so heavy handed it's hard to take seriously. The CGI and blue-screen are also overused, it's funny really that he seems to be taking advantage of the recent success of the theatre production but is also showing why it is superior. The bearded one is getting old and tired and really needs to come up with a good idea of his own instead of pillaging other people's.

- SirPant, Monday, October 22, 2012

4 stars

Wonderful movie. Reminiscent of "Family Classics" type of movies from my childhood. Tugs at your heartstrings. Cinematically beautiful. Just an all round well done film...

- itsjustme2004, Thursday, August 23, 2012