Horses in Cinema
May 12–17

In recognition of the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes to take place just up the road in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 19, AFI Silver presents some of the best films featuring that noblest of creatures, the horse, including heartwarming family classics and tales of thrilling equine adventure. This series is presented in collaboration with the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Horse Council and the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

Thanks to the Maryland Horse Industry Board for sponsoring the free family kick-off screening of MISTY.

Free screening!
Meet horses outside after the show, courtesy of Maryland-National Capital Park Police!

Every year the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department gathers the wild ponies of Assateague Island and auctions off the youngest members of the herd to the locals. When orphaned brother and sister Paul and Maureen fall in love with an elusive wild pony named The Phantom, they'll have to work like mad to save up enough money to buy her and her foal Misty. Shot on location in Virginia and Maryland with a cast composed mostly of locals, this family classic was adapted from Marguerite Henry's beloved children's book.

DIR James B. Clark; SCR Ted Sherdeman, based on the novel "Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry; PROD Robert B. Radnitz. US, 1961, color, 91 min. NOT RATED

Tickets are free and will be available on the day of the show; limit four per person. The box office opens at 10:30 a.m. on Sat, May 12.

Sat, May 12, 11:00 a.m.


"…Everyone should have a chance at a breathtaking piece of folly at least once in his life." So says no-nonsense mother Anne Revere, in an Oscar-winning role, to her spunky 12-year-old daughter Elizabeth Taylor, who really, really, really likes horses. Through a series of lucky events, Taylor wins a horse she names Pie. She trains him, enters him into the Grand National Steeplechase, and, as a last-minute replacement for her unreliable jockey, races him herself. One of the great classic family films, based on the beloved novel by Enid Bagnold, with Donald Crisp, Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins, Angela Lansbury and Mickey Rooney.

DIR Clarence Brown; SCR Theodore Reeves, Helen Deutsch, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold; PROD Pandro S. Berman. US, 1944, color, 123 min. NOT RATED


Sat, May 12, 1:00

In Person: Secretariat's jockey Ron Turcotte

Behind every legend lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), a Virginia housewife who risked everything to make him a champion. Inheriting her father's stables, Penny struggled to break into the male-dominated sport of horse racing, but with determination and the help of a veteran horse trainer (John Malkovich), she was able to turn Secretariat into a Triple Crown champion. This heartwarming underdog drama features a bravura performance from Diane Lane.

DIR Randall Wallace; SCR Mike Rich, suggested by the book "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" by William Nack; PROD Mark Ciardi, Pete DeStefano, Gordon Gray. US, 2010, color, 123 min. RATED PG


Sat, May 12, 7:00


John Steinbeck adapted his own coming-of-age novella about lonely farm boy Tom, who finds solace in the company of a newborn foal. Left to fend for himself by his bickering parents (Myrna Loy and Shepperd Strudwick), Tom idolizes ranch hand Robert Mitchum, who gifts him the pony, the offspring of his prized race horse. When the pony wanders out into the rain one night, Tom has to learn some tough lessons about responsibility and loss. Two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Lewis Milestone (ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT) brings Steinbeck's story to life, enhanced by Aaron Copland's famous score.

DIR/PROD Lewis Milestone; SCR John Steinbeck, based on his novel. US, 1949, color, 89 min. NOT RATED


Tue, May 15, 5:10; Wed, May 16, 7:00--just added!; Thu, May 17, 5:10


Sailing off the coast of Africa on the way back to England, young Alec (Kelly Reno) bonds with an Arabian stallion after they are shipwrecked together on a remote island. Rescued and brought to live with his mother (Teri Garr) in the US, he meets a retired horse trainer (Mickey Rooney) who helps teach him to ride his trusted stallion and train to race against some of the fastest horses in the world. A beautiful family classic about the bonds between boy and horse, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actor for Rooney.

DIR Carroll Ballard; SCR Melissa Mathison, Jeanne Rosenberg, William D. Wittliff, based on the novel by Walter Farley; PROD Fred Roos, Tom Sternberg. US, 1979, color, 118 min. RATED G


Sun, May 13, 1:00


A tragic accident leaves Jim Craig no choice but to head to the Australian lowlands and try to earn enough money to buy back his family's ranch and horses. Kirk Douglas chews scenery playing two brothers who haven't spoken in years: one a peg-legged old prospector, the other a heartless rancher whose daughter Jessica is the girl Jim wants to marry. When a feud erupts over a missing prized colt, Jim and Jessica are caught in the crossfire. A "down-under" Western, this remake of a 1920 silent film was a huge box-office hit and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 1983 Golden Globes.

DIR George Miller; SCR Cul Cullen, John Dixon, based on the poem by A. B. 'Banjo' Paterson; PROD Geoff Burrowes. Australia, 1982, color, 102 min. RATED PG


Sun, May 13, 3:30


In this inspiring, fact-based Depression-era tale, rebellious teen Gabrielle Anwar dreams of making it big in Atlantic City where "all your dreams come true." Having a natural way with horses, she runs away to join a travelling county fair and works her way up from stable hand to featured performer in a girl-and-horse high-dive act. But everything changes when a jump goes awry and Anwar is left permanently blind. With the help of master showman Doc Carver (Cliff Robertson) and his kindly son, Anwar attempts to conquer her fears and learn to jump again in this rousing heartwarmer.

DIR Steve Miner; SCR Oley Sassone; SCR/PROD Matt Williams. US, 1991, color, 88 min. RATED G


Sun, May 13, 5:45; Mon, May 14, 5:10; Wed, May 16, 5:10


Viggo Mortensen stars as American cowboy Frank Hopkins, a former stunt man in "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show, who competes with his mustang Hidalgo in the Ocean of Fire, a 3,000-mile-long race across the Arabian Desert. The race is traditionally reserved for purebred Arabian horses, and Frank and Hidalgo face daunting obstacles including grueling conditions and ruthless competitors who are bent on seeing them fail. Mortensen has a history of bonding with the equine stars of his films, purchasing both the horse that played Hidalgo and his horses from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

DIR Joe Johnston; SCR John Fusco; PROD Casey Silver. US, 2004, color, 136 min. RATED PG-13


Sun, May 13, 7:45