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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2004
You guys aren't the only one's you feel so divided over this film, I've met a whole bunch of people who hate it, and just as many who love it too. It's a feel good movie, and I suppose that's out of fashion these days. Shame because this is one of the best I've seen in a long time. The quality of the film making is up there with the likes of The Shawshank Redemption, not a single shot is wasted. The script takes its time fully developing the characters, which can be dull for those people who have short attention spans, but they stay with you long after the film is over because they are fully developed. For me this was the best film of 2003. And I don't even like horses.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 November 2011
As the depression era kicks in, Americans were grasping for any sort of inspiration they could get, enter equine supreme, Seabiscuit. Considered broken down, too small and untrainable, Seabiscuit went on to become a bastion of great racehorse's, and in the process bringing solace to those closest to it.

Back in 2003 upon its initial release, critics were very divided as to the merits of Seabiscuit as a picture. Some were concerned that this adaptation from Laura Hillenbrand's highly thought of novel missed too many crucial elements, others were merely touting the tired old charge of the film purely baiting Oscar {something that is levelled at every film in history about hope and second chances}, the more astute critics of the time however lauded it as the delightful and inspiring piece it is.

It would be churlish of me to not agree that Seabiscuit is laced with sentiment, rookie director Gary Ross barely wastes a chance to tug the heart strings and paint an evocative sequence, but if you have got it in you to accept this true story for its base emotional point, then it is one hell of a wonderful experience. Seabiscuit is not just about the equine beauty of the picture, it's also a fusion of three mens personal wavering, who for one reason or another need the horse for far more important crutches than those provided by financial gain, make no bones about it, Seabiscuit is a very human drama. Knowing how the picture will end never once becomes a problem, because the historical accuracy in the story makes one yearn for that grandiose ending, one to gladden the heart in the way it must have done to thousands upon thousands of Americans back in the day.

Ross wisely chooses to filter in as much realism as he possibly can, archive stills and narration serve as exceptional points of worth to the narrative structure. Then there is the first rate cast to fully form the emotional complexities that Seabiscuit provides. Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire {waif like}, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, top American jockey Gary Stevens and a splendidly jaunty William H Macy, all can rightly feel proud of their respective work on this picture. But it's with the thundering race sequences that Seabiscuit really triumphs best, magnificent beasts hurtling around the race track is excellently handled by Ross and his cinematographer, John Schwartzman, whilst a nod of approval must go to the sound departments efforts, it's definitely one to give your sub-woofer a work out.

Seabiscuit was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning none, perhaps the Academy also felt like those critics who thought it was trying too hard for a Golden Statue? But now after the dust has settled some years later, it pays to revisit Seabiscuit and judge it on its own emotional terms, for it's a tremendously well crafted picture that is of course as inspirational as it most assuredly is tender, a fine fine picture indeed. 9/10
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on 2 January 2007
I thought this film was brilliant! I have been riding horses all my life and think this portrays a jockey lifestyle very well. I also think that the way the film describes the great depression was fantastic. this is a weepy film for someone like me who has been working with horses all their life and has owned their own. people who have no intrest in horses would have no understanding when us pony - lovers scream out "NOOOOOOOO!" as the vet is willing to put the horse down!

A truly excellant film that deserves every reccomendation it gets i thought this film was brilliantly portrayed and that the "mushy music" helped with the atmosphere and made it even more real.

A fantastic film that i would reccomend to anyone and everyone!
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on 12 February 2004
I am 14 and telling the truth when I say that my mum and dad had to drag me into the cinema by my hair to see this movie. I am into action movies and was too desperate to get to the room that was showing The Matrix Revolutions and see gorge Neo (shhh) than watch a load of soppy rubbish about a horse. Weird, because I came out from seeing Seabiscuit with a smile on my face! It was a really lovely film and funny too. I never cry at movies but it pulled my cold heart strings more than once! One point thought, Tobey Maguire, brilliant as he was, did not suit that hair style and colour. I have red hair myself and was really offensive. Just kidding! I someone told you this film was like The Horse Whisperer, the are wrong. This film isn't as intense and heavy as that. Sorry Matrix-fans, no action here but enjoy it for what Seabiscuit is.
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on 7 January 2004
This film has to be the best I have ever watched, it is sure to bring a tear to your eye. The racehorse that is too small, the jockey that is too big, the trainer that is too old and the owner who is too dumb, will put your emotions into over drive. This is a moving film for anyone not just hrse lovers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 May 2013
This is a wonderful film, based on the true story of the race horse Seabiscuit. I am not ashamed to say that I have watched this film at least 3 times and every time it has brought tears to my eyes - tears of joy for the determination of people, and horses, to overcome adversity and to recover from terrible sedbacks, and to go on to achieve the remarkable.

Set around the period of the depression in the 1920's the movie relates the story of how 3 people- Seabiscuit's owner, trainer and jockey, overcame their personal losses and tragedies in pursuit of their dreams.

Superbly recreated scenes which almost exactly match the original newsreel footage, and totally convincing acting from all the main players make this an entirely convincing and satisfying movie - one of my favourite films ever. You don't need to know anything much about horse racing to enjoy this film - try it - you'll love it!
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on 2 March 2016
Even for the non-horsey people of the world, this film is a great experience. Maguire's naturally gentle, loving demeanor makes him perfect as our main guy, and you simply feel inclined to route for him. The stunt horses in this movie are all incredibly well trained, and to see them buckling their way passionately around that circuit, fighting for the winning title, is just intoxicating cinema. The drama present in this film is - on the whole - as powerful and gritty as any film-goer could ask for, (in fact, the potency of the drama is the main reason why I heartily agree with the BBFC for rating this film as a top-end PG. This said, I do think that the IFCO went a bit over the top to pass it as an average 12, but I digress). I say that the drama is top notch on the whole, but there are wavering moments where things get a tad cheesy, melodramatic and unbelievable. However, these moments are infrequent, and that's just me knit-picking there. The ending is perhaps a tad unsatisfying, as the movie ends rather abruptly, leaving you craving some sort of a final summary of what the film's really been about. You want at least a few final minutes devoted to tying up every loose end neatly and professionally. But at the end, all you get is a very short overlapping monologue and that's your lot! Probably the best aspect of this film is its pacing. It is just PERFECT! There are absolutely no scenes that drag on unduly, and more plot points are constantly being tossed your way. I was just glued. I know that this is a long film, but I think that that's a good thing, as this makes it very satisfying and "full", shall we say. It's a proper epic. Frankly, if you watch this film and tell me that you find it boring, I'm willing to bet that A LOT of movies bore you.
Very well acted, perfectly paced, and with a storyline that just has you clinging thoroughly to every scene, this spectacle makes for essential viewing. There are minor points of fault, but they are hugely outweighed by the quality exhibited in the main. Whether you're a horsey person or not, don't miss this one!
Reviewed by Arron S. Munro.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 January 2004
This is a heart warming movie about a harshly treated thoroughbred Seabiscuit who meets the underprivileged man (Red Pollard - Toby Maguire). They both struggle against all odds and finally rise to fame on the racetrack.
This is a classic movie about the hardship and trials of the underdog and what's more it's gripping. I first saw this movie on a flight and initially was reading a book. I very quickly found myself wanting to know what was going on in the movie and was soon glued to the screen. It is a very emotional film as you follow the hardships of Red and the sorry looking Seabiscuit, but then follow the joy of their success, and fear as they race the famous race winner War Admiral. I really enjoyed this film, which is a bit surprising for me as my usual flick is something like Terminator 3. Despite this, I still found this movie exciting. It's a movie that I would appeal to those who like the 'underdog rise to fame' type movie. It's been nominated for oscars and I can see why. All in all, very enjoyable.
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"Seabiscuit" is the kind of movie you weep through. You already know how it's going to end (the horse beats all the odds and wins the big race), and yet the journey is so touching and dramatic, you can't help yourself. It is a lovely film.
Jeff Bridges has his best acting role to date, as Seabiscuit's millionaire owner, Charles Howard, who devoted his life to his horse's career. Chris Cooper is the real star of the film. He plays Bill Smith, the out-of-work horse whisperer who discovers Seabiscuit's heart and trains him to win. Tobey Maguire plays Red, Seabiscuit's half-blind jockey, who overcomes a rough childhood and a shattered leg to bring the horse to his greatest victory.
The photography is absolutely breathtaking and Randy Newman's musical score is a winner. The direction was excellent; the Depression-era was faithfully reproduced in the costumes, sets, and especially the wonderful cars. If you like horses, people, or underdog-makes-good movies, I'm sure you'll enjoy "Seabiscuit."
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I have a pet theory that says we all fall in love with one horse in our lifetimes. Maybe it is a horse you actually own, if you are fortunate enough, or maybe you just read "Black Beauty" or "My Friend Flicka," grew up on stories about Silver or Trigger, or maybe have seen "National Velvet" of "The Black Stallion." For me that one horse was Secretariat, thundering down the home stretch at the Belmont to be the first horse in decades to win the Triple Crown, the jockey looking over his shoulder to see how far behind Big Red was leaving the rest of the pack. Not only was Secretariat the fastest racehorse of all time, still holding the track record for the Kentucky Derby, but he was also to my mind the most beautiful horse I have ever seen. I watch the Triple Crown races each year, but no horse will capture my heart the way Secretariat did.
For those too young to remember that particular horse, it is rather ironic that a whole generation might adopt Seabiscuit as the horse dearest to their heart because of this movie about the plucky little stallion who raced into the headlines during the Great Depression. The horse surprised everyone by becoming Horse of the Year and the biggest money earner of all time and the book by Laura Hillenbrand became a best seller to the surprise of almost as many people. Now we shall see if the movie version can pull off the trifecta this summer.
"Seabiscuit" is not just about the horse that is too small, because as everybody who has seen the trailer knows there is also Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), the jockey who is too big, Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), the trainer who is too old, and Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), the owner who is too dumb to know the difference. But Howard is smart enough to know how to market his horse, although when he spouts aphorisms like "See, sometimes when the little guy doesn't know he's the little guy, he can do big things," we believe he believes what he is saying. Even if he is a businessman he is one who believes in his product, whether we are talking bicycles or Buicks, horses or human beings. Charles Howard proves himself when at a crucial moment in the narrative he asks Red Pollard the question that forces the young man to finally grow up.
Howard, and writer-director Gary Ross, both see Seabiscuit as a metaphor for the nation during the Depression, declaring at one point "Everybody loses a couple, and you either pack-up and you go home, or you keep fighting." This is not the wisdom of "Rocky," of finding victory in defeat, but something more akin to the Puritan work ethnic that is the backbone of this nation. This is reinforced by Smith's dictum, "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up," which underscores both the idea of finding value in the life of each individual, whether they are a person or a horse, and the importance of every single chance that comes down the road.
However, despite the onslaught of platitudes, this movie is lyrical. The best moments of this film are conveyed by a look in the eye of Seabiscuit or by how many peas Red puts on this plate. There are lots of scenes without dialogue, or where what is being said are just sounds, akin to the pounding hooves of Seabiscuit. This movie may remind some of "The Natural," and not because Randy Newman did the score, but because it has these lyrical moments, all of which involve watching this horse run. Surprisingly, when Seabiscuit runs, while it is his heart that matters most, it also involves the head of his jockey as well. Even neophytes will appreciate the strategy involved in winning a horse race and if the quality that we most love about this horse is that he looks his opponents in the eye and then runs them down.
The attraction here will be the horse races and while it takes about an hour to start getting around to them there are several as thrilling as anything you have ever seen in a film. Every time Seabiscuit goes after another rival the platitudes and morals fade into the background as we enjoy a horse running as fast as it can. I would lay odds that lots of moviegoers are going to lose their hearts to this horse in this Oscar nominated film, which is fine, because both the horse and the film deserve that affection.
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