We’re doing something a little different this summer for #WayBackWednesday! I asked the Fangirlish staff to tell me their favorite summer flicks–films they associate with summer, be that a film set in the summer, a film that was released in the summer, or a movie they spent a summer watching. Each writer will tell you why they chose their movie and I’ll be reviewing their film recommendations during June, July, and August. This is our Summer Vacation series! Pour yourself a glass of Kool-Aid, make some ramen, and find out how we spent our summer vacations each #WayBackWednesday.
This is my first rodeo with today’s #WayBackWednesday movie, The Black Stallion. I’m not a true horse girl, but that doesn’t mean I am completely unfamiliar with horses. My mom showed horses in her youth and the last horse she showed was the horse I grew up with. He was a beautiful white Egyptian Arabian horse named Pharoah. I learned to ride bareback, and though I never felt the draw of horse girl culture, I loved Pharoah. He was a gentle, sweet old man horse. He passed when I was 12, having lived a very long and happy life.
While I was never a horse girl, one of our editors here at Fangirlish lived the horse girl life. Fangirlish associate editor Beata picked today’s #WayBackWednesday film. Check out the trailer for The Black Stallion and we’ll get started with #WayBackWednesday.
Here’s why Beata thinks The Black Stallion should make your summer watchlist.
As a young horse girl, I used to spend a big chunk of my summers riding horses, and when I wasn’t riding, I was reading books and watching movies, most of which were about horses. The Black Stallion was one of a handful of movies that I would watch over and over and over again. The main appeal was definitely the horses for me, but I think what makes this movie so good is that it’s a classic underdog story. It’s about a kid seeing potential in a horse that was written off as being too dangerous to handle. You can’t help but root for them as they first try to survive on an island, and then take on some of the fastest racehorses in the world. Plus, all the riding scenes are absolutely exhilarating.
The Black Stallion tells the story of a young boy, Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno), who is shipwrecked alone on an island, save for a wild, black stallion, too fierce to be tamed. The two bond during their time on the island, before being rescued. Alec and the stallion have difficulty adjusting to life back home. A chance encounter with former horse trainer, Henry Dailey (Mickey Rooney), will prove to be the adjustment needed for Alec and the stallion. This heartwarming underdog story is directed by Carroll Ballard and is produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The Black Stallion is based on a book of the same name by Walter Farley and is adapted for the screen by Melissa Mathison (E. T. the Extraterrestrial), Jeanne Rosenberg, William Wittliff, and Walter Murch.
Here are a couple of things I enjoy about The Black Stallion.
This is a perfect film for cinematography nerds. Watching The Black Stallion is a visual treat. There is little dialogue in the film. This makes sense, as the majority of the movie focuses on Alec and the stallion, and stallions frankly, don’t have a lot to say. This is a gorgeously shot film. The sweeping landscapes, interesting perspective shots on the stallion and Alec playing together, and of course, long shots of them running down the beach are breathtaking. Interestingly, the cinematography director for this film is Caleb Deschanel, the father of Emily and Zooey Deschanel. If you are a fan of gorgeous visuals, you will love The Black Stallion.
Accompanying the gorgeous visuals is an equally gorgeous score by Carmine Coppola, father of Francis Ford Coppola. The music tells as much of the story as the visuals do. Coppola masterfully matches the music to the screen. For me, the best example of this is the shot of the stallion’s and Alec’s feet underwater. Both of them are dancing and playing together. The music is light, bouncy, and playful. It makes the scene such fun to watch and really captures the mood and emotion of the scene with no words at all. If you enjoy an animated score, you will have a lot of fun with The Black Stallion.
Into the Sunset
Do you love spending your summers on horseback? If so, The Black Stallion is the movie for your summer watchlist.
Thanks very much to Beata for recommending The Black Stallion. Beata shares her love of horses here on Fangirlish, writing about Equestrian sports in the Olympics and advocating for horse girls. She also writes about Young Royals, Shadowhunters, and does book reviews too!
The Black Stallion is streaming now on Amazon Prime.