close [×]

Dear Flixster Community,

After seven fabulous years with you all, we are sorry to let you know that we're going to be retiring the Flixster Community site on September 30, 2014. Please note that you can still access your ratings, reviews, and quizzes on Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes using your same login. We have had so much fun building this community with you.

Thanks for all the memories,

Get movie widget Recommend it Add to Favorites

Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis ... see more see more... , Tom Hiddleston , Benedict Cumberbatch , Celine Buckens , Toby Kebbell , Patrick Kennedy , David Kross , Matt Milne , Robert Emms , Eddie Marsan , Nicolas Bro , Rainer Bock , Hinnerk Schonemann , Gary Lydon , Geoff Bell , Liam Cunningham , Sebastian Hülk , Gerard McSorley , Tony Pitts , Ifran Hussain , Philippe Nahon , Jean-Claude Lecas , Justin Brett , Seamus O'Neill , Pat Laffan , Michael Ryan , Peter McNeil O'Connor , Gunnar Atli Cauthery , Julian Wadham , Anian Zollner , Michael Kranz , Hannes Wegener , David Dencik , Edward Bennett , Johnny Harris , Philip Hill-Pearson , Tam Dean Burn , Alan Williams , Thomas Arnold , Maximiilian Brueckner , Markus Tomczyk , Peter Benedict , Callum Armstrong , Roy Holder , Paul Alexander , Maggie Ollerenshaw , Beth Ogden , Martin D. Dew , Stephen Graham

Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, War Horse begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tame... read more read more...s and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets-British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter-before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse-an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. --(C) Dreamworks

Flixster Users

74% liked it

67,894 ratings


77% liked it

213 critics

DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012

Stats: 6,389 reviews

Your Rating

clear rating

Flixster Reviews (6,389)

  • fb100001050230219
    July 28, 2014
  • March 10, 2013
    You can basically look at this as both Spielberg's epic salute to John Ford, as well as his Barry Lyndon.

    Like the aforementioned Kubrick film, this is an absolutely gorgeous piece of work, with each shot looking like something straight out of a painting. This is easily some of ... read morethe best cinematography from any of Spielberg's films. However, like BL, it's very long, slow, and sometimes rather tedious to get through...but unlike that on e, this is not a masterpiece.

    Nope, this is basically just Spielberg doing more of what he does best: serving up some very far from subtle sentimental story that is designed to really tug at your heart and shake you up emotionally as much as possible. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but he does do it so often that yeah, it gets quite tiring. He needs to make another film like Munich, which is easily his most serious, least sappy film.

    I do think it's interesting that we get a sprawling story that goes all over rural England and various parts of Europe at large during World War I, and that it's all told primarily from the perspective of a horse named Joey (and sometimes his young trainer Albert), but then again, there's no real surprises about this either with how it plays out because of who is directing.

    It is a good story, and I'd being lying if I said that the manipulative tactics didn't work on me as planned, but I won't let my respect for what Spielberg has done for the film industry keep me from saying that the film really isn't all that remarkable.

    It is kinda boring, even underwhelming at times. Had it not been so beautiful, and had John Williams providing the music (even if this is just so-so Williams), and had we not had some serviceable performances from the cast (including the animals) then I'd have no problem giving this a lower rating. Plus, it doesn't help that this is, admittedly a rather watered down and fairy tale take on events.

    In the end, this does get enough right that I'll be kind and give it a passing grade, because let's be honest, who else does this sort of thing better than Spielberg?
  • February 17, 2013
    No thanks, Steve.
  • December 24, 2012
    In War Horse, Spielberg uses his considerable talents to give us a film that feels like it could have been presented in the 40's or 50's - that type of "big" film where an all encompassing tale is told by what happens around the title character. Unfortunately its sentiments (exc... read moreept for the underlying "war sucks" theme) are equally stuck in that aw shucks kind of smaltz.

    However, there is no denying that the craft at work here is noteworthy - intentionally using a low camera angle, everything looks bigger than life; and the color saturation and use of shading and light are indeed expert - if only the script were equal to what Spielberg put into it.

    I'm not saying that the story sucks - but that it certainly requires you to suspend not only your logic, but your belief in so many instances, but once again, this happened so frequently in those aforementioned 40?s type films.

    In following the story line, there are coincidence heaped atop coincidence - and really , much of it I give a pass to - but the film should have ended with the young man being reunited with his horse - that would have been just perfect; but no, the script just couldn't leave well enough alone - having to tie up just about everything that had gone on before in one nice big package - unnecessary, and overly sappy; and truly unfortunate.

    So why the more than just passing grade? Well, because I got swept up in the wonder of it all - and was truly vested in what was to become of Joey the War Horse - and it only bugged me in a kind of subliminal way that the horses' actions often defied any kind of - dare I say it - horse sense. That Joey bonded with another stallion is not very likely , for in horsey world, said horse would be nothing more than a competitor for breeding rights , though it did make for some heart rendering scenes.

    I also have to comment that Spielberg's portrayal of the horror of war was magnificent : from scenes of carnage to the horrors of mustard gas and the barbed wire filled no-man's land; wow, the horror, the horror (to quote some colonel from a much later war). I really felt the message here - what is it all for? Why, throughout the history of our species, do we insist on nation building and taking sides ? Spielberg makes this abundantly clear in the poignant scene in no-man's land where a Brit and a German soldier meet to try to extricate Joey from a barbed wire entanglement (a metaphor perhaps). Here were two young men, on opposite sides, yet finding common ground in their mutual goal ; to the point where both had to have been wondering what they were fighting for - this so much reminded me of David Crosby's song "Wooden Ships" and the final line "we are leaving, you don?t need us".

    There is also a nice little subplot that deals with the industrial age and the end of an era. The charge of cavalry and close in fighting becoming taken over by rapid fire guns, heavy artillery and mechanized warfare and war becomes even more impersonal.

    So in closing, a very worthwhile film view for the craft and some of its sentiments, but held back from greatness by being overly sappy at times: like watching My Friend Flicka or Black Beauty; films from a simpler time.
  • October 22, 2012
    I'm a big fan of the book, have been for years but I'm probably a bigger fan of the theatre production of War Horse, I love the story and the theatre version using puppetry (for want of a better word as it is a little more advanced than puppetry). I'm not completely surprised by ... read morewhat Spielberg has done with his adaptation, if I'm being honest I thought it would be worse. The assembled cast is impressive, a who's who of contemporary British talent, apart from Jeremy Irvine who can't act, and everyone does a fine job. It's pretty predictable that Spielberg went to Richard Curtis for the screenplay, seeing as he is the only British screen writer even (*Groans*). The story is there, it's just that it's needlessly sugarcoated to the point of sickly, it's so heavy handed it's hard to take seriously. The CGI and blue-screen are also overused, it's funny really that he seems to be taking advantage of the recent success of the theatre production but is also showing why it is superior. The bearded one is getting old and tired and really needs to come up with a good idea of his own instead of pillaging other people's.
  • August 23, 2012
    Wonderful movie. Reminiscent of "Family Classics" type of movies from my childhood. Tugs at your heartstrings. Cinematically beautiful. Just an all round well done film...
  • fb619846742
    August 20, 2012
    A solid, old-fashioned story of a horse and his boy, taking place during the days of WWI and how the horse and boy are separated due to the war, and how they seem destined to get back together. While occasionally corny, predictable, and just flat-out flawed, Spielberg's soaring, ... read moremasterful scope of his settings keeps this thing utterly hypnotizing. It gets off to a rough start but it becomes incredibly interesting mid-way through, including a tear-jerking finale that is wonderfully executed, although admittedly in a very Hollywood style. Not Spielberg's best film by a long shot, but still a solid entry into his decorated resume that features some of the most gorgeous settings in a movie I have seen in quite some time.
  • May 27, 2012
    What I really loved about 'War Horse' was the entire different angle on warfare. For once, we didn't focus on a single being or a single 'side' but yet we seen the horrors of war from both perspectives and not only from the different soldiers perspective but from the civilian per... read morespectives. Furthermore, the movie showed a ton of different angles within the war (not stuck on a single foot soldier, air unit, etc).

    I was totally skeptical about a 2 and a half hour movie that done nothing but follow a horse around the war but the insight in which it gave us to the war and numerous viewpoints while also keeping us intrigued from the perspective of an animal's role in the war, it presented its piece well, and I truly enjoyed it. It was a beautiful film that I would without a doubt recommend to anyone interested in this historical period or just in horses in general.

    The only way I'd recommend not seeing this movie is if you cannot stomach the ill treatment of animals (not a fault of the movie however; simply reality) or you just don't like long movies. As I said, I felt it did a pretty great job at holding someone's attention, all the same it was quite long and I don't know if it's a movie I could sit through numerous times at that length but it without a doubt is worth a watch.
  • April 26, 2012
    An extroadinary masterpiece of a film. Director, Steven Spielberg has crafted another film classic. A spectacular and breathtaking adventure of friendship and loyalty. It`s brilliant, heart-pounding, deeply moving and flat-out exhilerating. A heart-warming and gripping movie that... read more just takes hold of you and wont let go. One of the most inspiring and uplifting films i`ve seen in a long time. The all-star cast is amazing. From newcomer, Jeremy Irvine in his heart-wrenching role, to Peter Mullen and Emily Watson, to Tom Hiddleston, and to Toby Kebbell and Liam Cunningham, all theses performances are magnificent. This movie is a real gem
  • April 13, 2012
    Spielberg does a great job in skillfully executing scenes, both in the battles and the verbal drama. I liked the episodic nature of the film as the the story follows the horse's journeys across the landscape of World War 1 in order to get home. All the while the horse encounter... read mores multiple sides of the war and the effects it has on the lives of the people experiencing it. There are plenty of great scenes in the film that I won't spoil because they have to be seen to fully be appreciated. Yeah, I will admit it can get heavy-handedly sentimental at times, but the film presents itself in such a proud and confident manner that it becomes hard to not be effected by it. During the film I found myself caring for the horse and hoping he would get home, which is an achievement within itself. I cannot forget the wonderful score by John Williams, which lends a good hand in bringing out the raw emotion of the film's drama. Despite the film's slightly contrived feel-good ending, "War Horse" still comes out strong as one of the better "2000's" Spielberg productions.

Critic Reviews

Dave Calhoun
January 10, 2012
Dave Calhoun, Time Out

Spielberg still manages to surprise and impress. Full Review

Liam Lacey
January 6, 2012
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

The trouble here is not so much that Spielberg's film staunchly insists on finding a happy ending even in the calamity of the First World War, but that he slathers it on so thick and leaves so soft an... Full Review

Rafer Guzman
January 5, 2012
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

The material sometimes feels oversugared, though it's also guaranteed to raise a lump in your throat. Full Review

Dana Stevens
December 31, 2011
Dana Stevens, Slate

Tthe images have what I can only describe as a wonderful texture. They also have intense color: deep gemlike greens and reds, with black shadows out of an old master painting. Full Review

David Denby
December 30, 2011
David Denby, New Yorker

We never ask why the production is devoted to an animal while ten million men are dying, but when Spielberg does the story realistically, it seems trivial, even a little daft. Full Review

David Edelstein
December 30, 2011
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture

Amid the incomprehensible slaughter, it's a horse that reminds these warriors of their humanity. Full Review

Joe Morgenstern
December 30, 2011
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

A film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart. Full Review

Rene Rodriguez
December 28, 2011
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

There isn't a moment in the movie where you don't feel Spielberg's passion, and this time, the film is worthy of his enthusiasm. It's a knockout. Full Review

Kathleen Murphy
December 26, 2011
Kathleen Murphy, MSN Movies

Tonally jarring and structurally disjointed, it's a punishingly long and bumpy ride. Full Review

Andrew O'Hehir
December 26, 2011
Andrew O'Hehir,

It's almost a great war movie in one direction, and almost a piece of irredeemable cheese in the other, and there you have it. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by

Fresh (60% or more critics rated the movie positively)

Rotten (59% or fewer critics rated the movie positively)

More Like This

Click a thumb to vote on that suggestion, or add your own suggestions.

  • Saving Private Ryan
    Saving Private Ryan (62%)
  • Gods and Generals
    Gods and Generals (100%)
  • Far and Away
    Far and Away (80%)
  • Zulu
    Zulu (0%)


    • Rosie Narracott: I might hate you more, but I'll never love you less.
    • Rosie Narracott: I might hate you more, but I'll never love you less.
    • British Trench Soldier #1: Woah, look at those legs he's got, those muscles! And look at those long legs, made for running away from danger.
    • German Soldier in No Man's Land: Running away is all the have.
    • British Trench Soldier #1: And yet we've tell 'em different.
    • British Trench Soldier #2: How about boxing?
    • German Trench Soldier #1: Not thanks, pet. Don't want to start a war.
    • British Trench Soldier #1: Gas! Gas! Gas!
    • Andrew Easton: ...Albie...
    • Major Jamie Stewart: Be brave! Be brave!

War Horse : Watch Free on TV

War Horse Trivia

  • Seabiscuit, in the movie of the same name, competes in a match race against a horse that's widely regarded as the greatest race horse to ever live. Name the horse Seabiscuit races against in that famous match race.  Answer »
  • Which horse beat War Admiral?  Answer »
  • What famous Race Horse almost beat Seabiscuit in the move 'Seabiscuit?'  Answer »
  • What do the following movies all have in common? *John Ford's 'The Horse Soldiers' *John Huston's 'The Red Badge of Courage' *Sergio Leone's 'The Good the Bad the Ugly' *Buster Keaton's & Clyde Bruckman's 'The General' *D.W. Griffith's 'The Birth of a Nation'  Answer »

Movie Quizzes

No quizzes for War Horse. Want to create one?

Most Popular Skin

No skins yet. Interested in creating one?