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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pretty indeed
A nicely shot film where the horses are undoubtedly the stars even with the presence of the likes of Sean Bean and David Thewlis. Alan Cumming's narration might irritate adults but I couldn't think of anyone who'd do better but it does pigeonhole it as a kids film. From my very vague memories of the book when I was young, I think it was probably reasonably true to the...
Published on 25 April 2005

versus
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to look at
I suppose you might be looking at this film if you like childrens films, horsey films or are a fan of some of the actors involved. Sceenplay by the woman that did the Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands , Nightmare before Christmas but more in line with her other, Homeward Bound, It's not a bad attempt, it's the main modern screen version, but it's by no means a stellar...
Published on 30 Dec 2006 by duirsgrove


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pretty indeed, 25 April 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
A nicely shot film where the horses are undoubtedly the stars even with the presence of the likes of Sean Bean and David Thewlis. Alan Cumming's narration might irritate adults but I couldn't think of anyone who'd do better but it does pigeonhole it as a kids film. From my very vague memories of the book when I was young, I think it was probably reasonably true to the feel of the book. An enjoyable couple of hours and the horses and English countryside look gorgeous.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film for horse and black beauty lovers, 9 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Beauty [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A lovely film and a must for horse lovers, the film is so faithfull to the book, and so enchanting. I'v seen it about 6 times and every time I'v seen it I'v sobbed, its so real. Its one of the best films ever!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be careful who watches..., 28 July 2010
By 
Mme CE Goubin (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
My six-year old daughter, who loves horses, was devastated by this film, sobbing her heart out from the first time Beauty is injured right to the end (and for some time after). The film was way too violent for her, but she needed to see the end to make sure Beauty was alright. I would say it is not a kids' film - and of course the novel was not intended for children.
For adults, the images are beautiful and it is moving and gripping throughout, but just be careful who watches...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Sunday Afternoon Viewing - and M.G.Hatfields Reviews are hilarious!!, 3 Jun 2007
By 
I. Kelly "Ian" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
First of all, the film itself.

I've seen several Black Beauty films over the years (and the television series). I am pleased to say that it's possibly one of the best adaptations I have seen. Beautifully staged, it will not dissapoint any horse mad daughters (or sons) in your household. As an equine neutral adult, I can appreciate the care taken in the production of this film, and as a previous reviewer commented, it indroduces fairly adult themes to younger viewers (in a gentle way), which is no bad thing.

And onto M.G.Hatfield - an earlier reviewer of this film. What a star!! If you like reviews devoid of punctuation and any clear train of thought, then have a look at other films this person has reviewed. A copy of 'Eats Shoots & Leaves' should be sent to this guy/women without delay.

I'm still laughing...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We don't get to choose the people in our lives. For us, it's all chance.", 26 July 2013
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
Anna Sewell's novel was originally intended to increase awareness of the appalling working conditions of horses and the indignities forced upon them by the demands of 'fashion' and insensitive owners (the book was widely distributed by animal rights campaigners), so it is perhaps little surprise that the first faithful film version proved a box-office disaster in the US. Despite reuniting many of those responsible for The Secret Garden [DVD] [1993] in the hope of repeating its surprise success, it lacks the feelgood factor of either that or a Free Willy, being bittersweet at best, after an unsteady first half-hour assuming a steadily darker hue as it becomes harsher and more genuinely affecting.

There are problems, mostly to do with the script and Caroline Thompson's direction, both of which seem to lack confidence and ambition in the early stages (production values, it has to be said, are top-notch throughout). That the film is narrated by the horse (and voiced by Alan Cumming) is not so much of a problem as the fact that at times it just won't shut up - by comparison, Mr Ed is a Trappist. Unfortunately, take away the narration and the visuals in the first half of the film would not be sufficient to tell the story alone. Worse, the film is shot too impartially, only rarely assuming the horse's point of view (although a brief dream sequence is beautifully realised) and Thompson initially has difficulty integrating the animals and the humans - top-billed Sean Bean's walk-on part consists entirely of a handful of uninspired and poorly staged reaction shots. Indeed, only Jim Carter and David Thewlis stand out in the familiar cast as the most sympathetic of Beauty's handlers.

Yet for all its faults, emotionally the film works, particularly in its often extremely powerful last half-hour. In particular, Beauty's reunion with Ginger, his life-long love from happier days, her body emaciated, her spirit broken, barely able to recognise him before her carcass is unceremoniously disposed of, is an emotionally shattering and genuinely heartbreaking sequence whose impact lasts far beyond the film's happy ending. Simply filmed and all the more affecting for its understatement, it is one of those rare moments that shows the power of cinema to transcend words and thought and directly address the senses.

The film missed out at the box-office and doesn't seem to have fared any better on video or the small screen. Warners' letterboxed DVD pressing offers good picture quality that highlights production designer John Box's marvellous recreation of London in the cab-horse section while the soundtrack does full justice to Danny Elfman expressive classical score. A minor classic. The only extra is a brief trailer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving adaptation, 7 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
This movie perfectly captures the essence of the book and is probably the most faithful adaptation so far.

Beautiful visuals, good pacing, and a the heartfelt story of a beautiful black horse who is passed through circumstance and choice from home to home, and experiences both the best and worst of human nature.

Personally I love this film and the message it conveys, however, although Black Beauty is often seen as a story for children the author originally intended for it to be read by adults as a plea for people be more compassionate and thoughtful in how they treated their horses, and it did lead to a reform of animal welfare laws at the time including as mentioned in other reviews the abolishment of the bearing rein.

As such this is a touching and thought provoking film, but due to its nature in addressing the issues of the cruelty and neglect some horses suffer at the hands of uncaring owners, it is also very sad and harrowing in some parts and younger or more sensitive children may be upset by it. Even I found it sad in places, but I agree with the reviewer Anne, the messages of compassion and consideration of others, human or animal, are important ones, and this film conveys them very well. Also the film really isn't as "depressing" as a lot of people are making out..... there is actually a good deal of gentle humour mixed in to balance out the sad.

I'd personally recommend this film highly for any fan of the book, adult or not, but for younger children perhaps rent the film and watch it alone first, that way you can see and judge for yourself before showing the film to them (and easily return it if you feel its not suitable).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna's legacy, 9 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
This is a beautiful film and true to the book.
Anna Sewell said that her book was written for people who work with horses "... to induce kindness, sympathy and an understanding treatment of horses". This piece of work led directly to the abolishment of bearing reins and to other animal welfare reforms. Whilst I understand parental concern if their children find it upsetting, the compassion for others both human & animal that it engenders is an invaluable life lesson and one which they will be take with them into adult life.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant adaptation!!!, 16 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
I first saw this film when i was 4 and i still love it!!! Unlike several other adaptations this film remains very true to the book. It really takes you inside the mind of black beauty and can be very emotional in places.
Overall this is a truely classic film all the family can enjoy again and again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good alround family entertainment, 21 Mar 2002
This review is from: Black Beauty [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story of Black Beauty and his adventured are brought to live beautifully in this new adaption of the classic tale.
The only slight irratation is beauties voice but this does not stop you enjoying what is a perfect view into the world of this magnificent horse!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realy nice film, 11 Mar 2009
By 
This review is from: Black Beauty [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
Black Beauty [DVD] [1995]This is a realy lovely film.My Grandaughter loves it & watches it over & over again. The story is told as if by the horse, going from his birth upwards.If you love horses you will love this film.
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Black Beauty [Blu-ray] [1994] [US Import]
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