THE BLACK STALLION. Dir. Carroll Ballard. 1979, 118min. Narrative. Sardinia and Rome, Italy; Oregon, U.S.A.; Ontario, Canada. New digital restoration! Tickets
“The Black Stallion” is a wonderful experience at the movies. The possibility remains, though, that in these cynical times it may be avoided by some viewers because it has a G rating — and G movies are sometimes dismissed as being too innocuous. That’s sure not the case with this film, which is rated G simply because it has no nudity, profanity, or violence — but it does have terrific energy, beauty, and excitement. It’s not a children’s movie; it’s for adults and for kids. –Roger Ebert, 1979
Since it’s debut at the New York Film Festival in 1979, The Black Stallion has come to be known as one of the world’s most beloved family films (and greatest films, period). Director Carroll Ballard and D.P. Caleb Deschanel bring the Walter Farley novel to larger-than-life fruition with breathtaking scenes that tug at the heartstrings. The amazing tale of a boy and ‘wild’ horse, who become stranded together on a desert island after a tragic shipwreck, continues back home in the U.S., where their close friendship comes to include a retired jockey (played by Mickey Rooney) who helps train the stallion to race against the fastest horses in the world. The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s Omni Zoetrope Studios, released in the same year as Apocalypse Now, with a gorgeous score by Francis’s father, Carmine.