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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are all the best films the ones that aren't marketed or publicised?
The only reason I found out about Hidalgo was because my family rented it from a small corner shop quite a while ago. It was supposed to be just be a popcorn flick that would entertain us one dull Friday evening in winter. So my expectations were not high, so I was totally amazed by this film. Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings) and Omar Sheriff (Lawrence of Arabia) gave...
Published on 11 Oct 2007 by J. Smith

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trial by Fire
Traumatised by the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, Frank Hopkins becomes a show-rider, drowning his pain in alcohol. He is roused from his torpor by a challenge: to ride in the 'Oceans of Fire' race in Arabia. Surviving the desert is not his only trial: he is also tested by brigands, rivals and temptation. Will he regain his honour?

This film surprised and...
Published on 13 Jan 2005 by R. J. FORDER


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are all the best films the ones that aren't marketed or publicised?, 11 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
The only reason I found out about Hidalgo was because my family rented it from a small corner shop quite a while ago. It was supposed to be just be a popcorn flick that would entertain us one dull Friday evening in winter. So my expectations were not high, so I was totally amazed by this film. Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings) and Omar Sheriff (Lawrence of Arabia) gave tremendous performances and really carried the film well. The action scenes were fun, exciting and graphic enough to keep us teenagers entertained. The storyline was simple yet clever at the same time, and the film was basically fantastic.

More than just a good popcorn flick, an excellent film that managed to become hugely successful without the help of all the marketing etc. that Hollywood feels is necessary for every one of their disappointing turn-outs. 'A splendid romp'...as Jonathan Ross put it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good fun movie, 12 Sep 2004
By 
D. Reynolds (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This film is rather good. The storyline is easy to follow and the plot is in the same place but you can't really change it in this movie.
Based on a true story, Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings) is a wild cowboy type of man who races in long distance horse races though the country. His horse, called Hidalgo, who is a mustang has great endurance and has led Frank to never loose a race in his life.
Frank is invited to race in The Ocean of Fire, a 3000 mile race across the Arabian Desert along with the Arabians best horse racers. They are vicious racers and are not afraid to cheat. Can Hidalgo and Frank outrun the other competitors? Or will they die of thirst by sizzling in the baking hot sun?
This is a good adventure with some great action scenes. You're into it after the first 5 minutes. An outstanding performance by Viggo Mortensen and a great performance by 2 time Golden Globe award winner, Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia). Also starring Said Taghmaoui (Three Kings).
It's something different to what you usually see. Overall a good film which will give you a fun two hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking story with minimal violence, one for the family., 1 Dec 2014
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
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Leaving aside the issue of whether the plot is factually based, which is irrelevant to the quality of the film, it is a terrific portrait of the encounter between a quiet, self-reliant American and Arab culture. Self-taught rather than "book-learned," Frank Hopkins is free of cultural prejudices and willing to meet the Arabs on their own terms. He reminds me of rural great-uncles and aunts long dead now, products of the 19th century, whose unpretentious outlook, practical energy, and egalitarian respect for the perspective and dignity of others (including animals) made them universally liked and respected. I've never seen another film character that so fully embodies this 19th century American mentality. Read Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance and you'll get the general idea.

It's also a horse-lovers' film in a big way, from the mutually supportive working relationship between Frank and his paint horse, Hidalgo, to his use of the prize money from the race to save the Dakota mustangs from U.S. government extermination. As a mixed breed himself, Frank has a personal perspective on the issue of "breeding," whether in horses or humans, and the film demonstrates in many ways, without ever making an issue of it, how irrelevant race, parentage or culture are to the value of an individual. There are "goodies" and "baddies" on every side. Frank and Hidalgo overcome the initial hostility of Arabs to his cultural "strangeness" with integrity, fortitude, and a love of horses that transcends cultural barriers and touches their human commonality.

A thought provoking story with minimal violence and an excellent, overall non-sentimental respect for the natural world as well as the humans and animals that inhabit it.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trial by Fire, 13 Jan 2005
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Traumatised by the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, Frank Hopkins becomes a show-rider, drowning his pain in alcohol. He is roused from his torpor by a challenge: to ride in the 'Oceans of Fire' race in Arabia. Surviving the desert is not his only trial: he is also tested by brigands, rivals and temptation. Will he regain his honour?

This film surprised and encouraged me. Contemporary heroes generally don't know the meaning of restraint: Mr Hopkins has that power. Hidalgo bucks the trend.

The story is reasonable, the action engaging, the casting excellent and the photography great.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A race movie, 1 Feb 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
As with “Chariots of Fire” this is a race film and a race film. It is the old west and Frank Hopkins hides the fact that he is half Native American. His horse, a mustang must live with his not so thoroughbred ancestry exposed. Both have something to prove. They chose an endurance race to prove it.
This follows the formula stories, with challenges, unscrupulous competitors, and a baptism by fire that would make Joseph Campbell proud. We know what will happen including the outcome but it is the journey that we played to watch and it is delivered.
Omar Sharif is at the top of his form and added greatly to the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Total BS, but a tearjerker, even for men, 23 Nov 2009
By 
JCV "runblader" (Adventure, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
A classic "Hollywood" style to it, a style forgotten until Spielberg reminded us of what had been forgotten. Furthermore, a reconciliation of Euro-Americans with Native Americans. Even the respectful exchange at the finale between Hopkins and his antagonist reflects that enduring Yankee article of faith that, as you may have heard in "Full Metal Jacket," in every foreigner is an American fighting to get out. It may not be a rational belief, but rationality exists in a seperate time zone from faith, and that works so long as you keep an eye eye on the clocks of Greenwich.

Now, the reason I am babbling about this is mythology. You think about a country or peoples and immediately a mythology comes to mind. You think about Britains and you hear in your mind lilting accents lambent with determination ("We shall never surrender," "Cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war!"), fearless pilots in the Battle of Britain, intrepid sailors at the end of the world, ruddy-clad, campaign-helmeted soldiers of an empire that knows no nightfall ("The Man Who Would be King," a cult film among Yank Freemasons) and of course Bond, James Bond.

What struck me here was an American mythology, when Hopkins is asked by the sheik's daughter if he will "ride into the sunset." It makes sense that a mythology would arise of cowboys "riding into the sunset," because the sun sets in the west and the history of the United States is the history of westward expansion. It even makes the finale of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

It is, however, a myth. No one rides into the sunset, it's going to get dark soon! Sunset is when you set up camp for the night in the twilight hours when you have just about enough sunlight left to get a fire going and set camp!

Cowboys never rode off into the sunset, they woke up and rode off away from the sunrise. Oh, well. Myth can be and usually is more powerful than fact.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, old fashioned adventure in a faraway place, 1 Aug 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Last year, we had MASTER AND COMMANDER: FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, old-time adventure epics produced just for pure fun (and box office receipts, of course) and lacking any overt social or political correctness agendas. Now, we have HIDALGO.
Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) is one of the acts in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show on the basis of his reputation as the world's greatest cross-country horse racer. But Frank, the son of a U.S. Army scout and an Indian woman, is drinking himself out of a job, tortured by self-guilt over a tangential and relatively innocent association with the Army's massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee. Hopkins is challenged by an Arab sheik to participate in a grueling, 1000-year old horse race across the deserts of the Middle East. To redeem his self-esteem, Frank signs-on with his horse, Hidalgo, a mixed-breed Spanish mustang. Arriving in Arabia, Hopkins is despised by the locals for his infidel status, while Hidalgo's small size and lineage are held in contempt relative to the purebreds he's running against.
Omar Sharif appears as Sheik Riyadh, the Sheik of Sheiks whose own stallion is the favored entry in the race. (I guess Omar has been wandering the desert these past 42 years since appearing in a similar role in the sandblown epic LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. He looks weathered.) Zuleika Robinson plays the sheik's daughter, Jazira, unnecessary to the plot except that she provides Frank with a Damsel in Distress to rescue, but little else.
HIDALGO is perhaps 15-20 minutes over-extended. The Jazira In Peril bit could've been left in the digital-editing trashcan quite handily without sacrificing too much of a story that's otherwise everything anybody could want in escapist entertainment for the whole family.
The real darling of the film is, of course, Hidalgo, who pluckily braves a host of perils to win the prize purse: sandstorm, concealed pit with sharpened stakes, attack leopards, sniper, horde of locusts, broiling sun, blistering heat, and human treachery. (Hmm. Sounds like my hometown on a daily basis.) By the movie's conclusion, you just want to take Hidalgo home with you and to hell with zoning ordinances.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a fun film!, 4 July 2004
By 
This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This movie is fun, and entertaining. There is no dull moment throughout, and although the movie has a straightforward plot and result, it flows well, and it certainly has its funny moments! Its great for adults AND children, and you don't HAVE to be a horse fan to enjoy it.
It certainly has an Indiana Jones quality about it, regarding action and comedy, but instead of archaeology, you have a man trying to find his place, and his bond with his horse, as well as this race across the desert.
Definately one to rent or buy, this is fun and worth watching!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Lost The Race...But Won A Friend...", 24 Jan 2012
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hidalgo [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 'BLU RAY' VERSION ***

For such a huge production piece - Joe Johnston's expertly directed "Hidalgo" seems to have eluded everybody. A sort of "Little Big Man" meets "Lawrence Of Arabia" hybrid - it garnished favourable reviews on release in early 2004 and a cult following on DVD later that year. It was even name-checked in the back pages of Leonard Maltin's Annual Movie Guide as a 'favorite'.

Well - I'd argue that it's time to mount your saddlebags once again folks and get some serious hot sand on your laser beams - because "Hidalgo" has very definitely been given a whole new lease of life on this beautifully transferred 2008 BLU RAY reissue...

Loosely based on the life of Frank Thomas Hopkins (played by Viggo Mortensen) and his fast-and-strong horse - the Spanish Mustang "Hidalgo" - John Fusco's screenplay spruces up his tale of daring-do a great deal (to some controversy it has to be said). Frank is initially presented to us as a repeated long-distance race winner as well as a dispatch rider for the less-than-chivalrous US Cavalry. Born of a Native Indian mother and European-American father, they named their 'half caste' son "Blue Child". But at the beginning of the movie (and although he speaks their tongue and loves their way of life) - we find Frank rather shamefully hiding what's in his blood and heart.

Then after witnessing the appalling aftermath of Wounded Knee (a massacre of defenceless Lakota Sioux Indians in South Dakota) - we move forward in time to find Frank pasty-faced and broken. Riding around on his famous steed, he's acting out Cowboys and Indians games for boorish patrons in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Drunk most of the time - Frank is little more than a circus clown - and kept in check by the generosity of the famous marksman (the ever wonderful J.K. Simmons plays Bill Cody). But like Chief Eagle Horn who walks into the centre of the big top every afternoon and is pelted with rotten food and boos - Frank feels old before his time and permanently humiliated.

But an olive branch comes in the shape of a visiting Arab and Chinaman. Lured by a hefty purse and a need to redeem himself - Frank agrees to journey into "The Ocean Of Fire" - an endurance horserace in the Middle East which dates back it's history a full 1000 years. Crossing scorched desert and jagged limestone for nearly 70 days - the race covers a staggering 3000-miles between Aden and Syria - eventually arriving at the Arabian Sea. With casualties lost to sandstorms, quicksand and plagues of locusts - only the strongest riders and the purest of steeds will survive. So little is expected of the Western 'Cowboy' and his Halfbreed.

Along the way Frank acquires a goat-herder and water-fetching boy as his "Hidalgo" team, fascinates a feisty daughter who longs to ride alongside the men as their equal (Zuleikha Robinson), dodges a scheming English lady who wants the win the race to acquire the sacred Al-Hattal horse bloodline (Louise Lombard), swaps swords and bullets with a villainous nephew (Said Taghmaouri) and hobnobs with an all-powerful Sheikh (a superb turn by Omar Sharif) who is sceptical at first of the 'far rider' but grows to admire and even revere the gritty and tenacious American. And of course the film has two major pluses - Mortensen and his craggy features filling the whole screen with an everyman quality that is very smart casting indeed. And the horses themselves - beautiful and majestic creatures - and almost telepathic in their symbiosis with their riders. And on the story goes...through all manner of mental and physical trials...to end up back again in Frontierland USA where wild horses run the plains...like a free-spirit should...

PICTURE - the film's default aspect is 2.40:1 - so there are bars at the top and bottom of the picture - but even when stretched to Smart or Full Aspect mode - the print is rarely anything less than a desert swoon. So many great images - the CGI of the "City Of Paris" ship arriving in Arabia is beautifully rendered - the dawn and dusk over the desert - the up-close shots of Bedouin tents and Arabic clothing - sand-blasted faces and parched lips - all of it - GORGEOUS.

SOUND - audio is equally impressive. When the thundering hooves and the sandstorm comes at you - your viewing room will beg for mercy and be shown none.

The two extras "Sand & Celluloid" and "America's First Horse" are very informative and enjoyable. The first is a behind-the-scenes 'making of' featuring short interviews with Mortensen, the Writer, the Director, Executive Producers, Animal Trainers and Production Design people. Particularly impressive is the entire mud-walled town constructed on site for a fight sequence - and the edible locusts - each of which took 4 hours to create (utterly convincing). 800 horses were brought in to create the charge and race sequences - and wind and dust battered everyone and everything daily. The second feature goes into the Mustang Breed itself and how they were brought to America in 1519 by Cortez and then adopted by the natives as their own 'sacred' partners. Very good indeed...

To sum up - dialogue between Omar Sharif and Viggo Mortensen title this review...and in some ways mark out the history of this criminally ignored nugget.

"Hidalgo" is an excellent 'story' movie and well worth seeking out - especially now that it's been given a format which brings out all that hard work and finally makes it shine.

I may feel the urge to spit on a camel every now and then, but I'm so glad I bought this film...

BLU RAY Specifications:
VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition / 2.40:1
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French and Spanish
ENHANCED AUDIO: DTS 5.1 French and Spanish, PCM 5.1 English
SUBTITLES: English, English For Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish

BONUS FEATURES:
"Sand & Celluloid" - A Making of Featurette, Behind The Scenes etc (10 minutes)
"America's First Horse - Hidalgo And The Spanish Mustang" - The Story of Hildago's Ancestors (21 minutes)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, 31 Dec 2012
By 
B. Lethbridge - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
If you love horses you will definitely enjoy this film. Plenty of action and very good plot lines. I would recommend.
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Hidalgo [DVD] [2004]
Hidalgo [DVD] [2004] by Joe Johnston (DVD - 2004)
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