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Black Beauty [DVD] [1994]

4.5 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sean Bean, David Thewlis, Docs Keepin Time, Alan Cumming, Jim Carter
  • Directors: Caroline Thompson
  • Writers: Caroline Thompson, Anna Sewell
  • Producers: Peter Macgregor-Scott, Robert Shapiro
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: Dutch, Italian, English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian
  • Dubbed: Dutch, Italian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Aug. 2000
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U8NB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,357 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Directed by Caroline Thompson (the writer of 'Edward Scissorhands', 'The Secret Garden' and 'The Addams Family'), this is another reworking of the Anna Sewell classic about a horse which has been badly treated. Set during the late 19th Century, where poverty was high in London's East End, the tale follows the ups and downs of the life of the horse Black Beauty.

From Amazon.co.uk

Don't waste this one on your children: buy it for yourself. A spectacular adaptation of the Anna Sewell novel, this is faithful to the source material but creates a life of its own on the screen. Told from the point of view of the horse, it recalls a time and a place that could be both beautiful and cruel. Black Beauty faced both hardship and kindness as he passed through the hands of many owners throughout his life. Some are generous, but the agonies endured by the title character may be too harsh for small children. Unfortunately, director Caroline Thompson did not resurrect her magical touch a few years later with another animal tale, Buddy. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 25 April 2005
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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