About the movie
War Horse is an American war drama movie released on Christmas Day in 2011, which follows the story of a brave young man and his beloved horse before and during the events of World War I.
The screenplay of the movie is based on Michael Morpurgo’s children book – under the same name – published in 1982. The story, apart from its huge success on the big screen in 2011, has also been adapted into a winning play in 2007.
In War Horse, the viewers get a chance to go back in time and get a glimpse of life during war times. The clip here shows the movie crew talking about their horrible experience while filming in the trenches after a storm passed by and filled them with water – you can only imagine the true horrors soldiers had to live through on the field!
Even though it may look like the movie is filled only with tragic war events, the plot is actually a tale that will warm your heart: it tells about a friendship bond so strong, that it manages to miraculously survive one of the worst periods in human history.
The movie starts all the way back in 1914 – a young boy named Albert Naraccott is watching the miracle of life happening: a bay Thoroughbred horse is being born! The colt fascinates young Albert, who finds great joy in watching it grow – do best friends recognize each other from the start?
However, not everyone shares the same fascination with the colt, especially not Rose, his mother. Soon, much to Albert’s joy, his father Ted, brings that same colt to their house – his new best friend!
Rose is shocked to find out that Ted outbid their landlord Lyons and paid 30 guineas for a horse that “isn’t worth even ten!” Apparently, the horse may not be strong enough to help around with all the farm work they bought him for in the first place! What would they do with a weak horse?
However, both men refuse to take the horse back – and the horse can be seen showing clear signs of affection to both of them. They decide to give the horse a chance – but Rose is “taking it back” herself if the horse doesn’t do any good for a month!
Albert names the horse Joey, who proves to be smarter than anyone’s ever thought – Joey manages to learn more than a handful of tricks in a very short time. However, Albert and Joey’s signature trick is something so-called owl calling, a technique “used by the Indians to summon their own horses”. Albert patiently explains to Joey that he has to come whenever he whistles through his cupped hands – miraculously enough, that really does happen!
In order to understand the movie better, viewers should understand the war injury Ted has – actually, it’s more of a deep psychological trauma. Ted fought in the Second Boer War and was awarded medals for his bravery. However, he’s deeply ashamed of his days spent as a soldier – and Albert can’t seem to quite understand why. One cannot but wonder – will Albert ever be able to understand his father?
As viewers follow the story, the horse justifies the trust it’s been given, much to everyone’s surprise. But a heavy downpour destroys the crops Ted has planted – he has to sell Joey to the army to pay his rent.
But Albert is so attached to his horse, that he tries to enlist in the army together with the horse. Captain James Nicholls sees their special bond and even promises to return him back to Albert one day – if that’s even possible! Right before Joey leaves with the Captain, Albert ties his father’s pennant to Joey’s bridle.
Soon after, Joey gets trained for war and forms attachment to Topthorn, another army horse – events that unravel on the screen show the deep tragedy of the WWI. After a few unfortunate events that the two horses manage to survive, they’re found by Emilie, an orphaned girl living at her grandfather’s farm in France.
Emilie adores the two horses but due to her fragile bones, she can’t ride them – her grandfather allows her only on one special occasion: her birthday. Emilie happily gallops on Joey’s back until her joy is cut short: she runs into Germans who take her beloved horses away! However, her grandfather manages to snatch the pennant that was tied to Joey right before he’s taken away.
By then, the year 1918 has come and Albert is old enough to enlist in the army; he’s fighting in the Second Battle of the Somme. As fate would have it, he somehow survives a gas explosion that leaves him temporarily blind.
Meanwhile, Joey and Topthorn are used by the Germans to haul some heavy-duty artillery up a muddy hill – Topthorn soon dies of exhaustion. Managing to escape, Joey enters a no-man’s land, where he gets entangled in some wire barriers. A British and a German soldier spot him and make friends over the troubles of the horse; after flipping a coin, they decide that Colin, the British soldier should have him.
After being saved, the British army doctor suggests taking Joey down – at the same time, Albert hears about a horse who was miraculously saved. Right before having Sergeant Fry shoot Joey, Joey lets down the owl call he learned as a colt. Luckily enough, Albert is there to hear it as well!
At first, no one believes the story Albert tells them but after describing every marking on the horse, they are able to confirm it – the two best friends have been finally reunited!
Soon after, you get to see WWI coming to an end – the horse needs to be auctioned and sold. Albert is determined to buy out Joey but an older gentleman states that he’ll do anything it takes to get that horse back. He wants it to keep alive the loving memory of his granddaughter Emilie, who’s passed away recently.
After pleading the man unsuccessfully, the only thing that makes Emilie’s grandfather change his mind is the loyalty of the horse – Joey goes straight back to Albert! After Albert recognizes the pennant the old man has, Emilie’s grandfather is convinced that the horse truly belongs to Albert.
In the final scenes of the movie, Albert returns home and shakes hands with his father – two former soldiers who are finally able to understand each other well.