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Hidalgo (2004)



Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 157
Fresh: 73 | Rotten: 84

The scenery looks great, but this overstuffed horse story contains too much cheese.


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 22

The scenery looks great, but this overstuffed horse story contains too much cheese.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 129,823

My Rating

Movie Info

Actor Viggo Mortensen made his first starring appearance in a film after his breakthrough performance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with this period adventure. Frank T. Hopkins (Mortensen) is a U.S. Cavalry officer who earned a reputation as one of the fastest and most daring riders in the West; however, after taking part in the bloody massacre at Wounded Knee, Hopkins becomes disenchanted with the Cavalry, and once his hitch is up, he takes a job as a rider with a seedy touring Wild West


Action & Adventure

John Fusco

Aug 3, 2004


Buena Vista Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (166) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (73) | Rotten (84) | DVD (34)

An adventure that never met a cliche it couldn't saddle, mount and ride for a butt-numbing two hours and sixteen minutes.

April 9, 2004
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An exciting, colorful and very appealing movie.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
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It's a manqué of a rousing adventure tale and not the real thing. You're constantly aware of the gulf between how the movie wants to excite you and the halfhearted execution.

March 16, 2004 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Popcorn for us and oats for the horses, delivered by the tall drink of water that is Mortensen.

March 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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A hybrid of both traditional and revisionist contradictions.

March 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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... filled with cliches.

March 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper | Comments (2)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Formulaic, overly simple, too violent for tweens.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The event around which the movie revolves is a desert mirage, since there is no record of any such race ever being staged. Nonetheless, those able to ignore this outrageous historical distortion might enjoy this triumph of an underdog aganst the odds.

April 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

Even if the story were true, the film's events have been fictionalized beyond belief.

September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

[It's] so careful about being inoffensive that it never has the guts to suggest much of anything except 'Be Nice to Others and Especially to Horses.'

December 31, 2004
Looking Closer

Will Hidalgo survive the brutal desert to demand more creative control over his next film?

September 16, 2004 | Comment (1)
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Fitfully entertaining hokum as long as it isn't taken too seriously… Remarkably, Disney doesn't whitewash the more politically incorrect elements of Hopkins' tale.

September 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

This is grand cowboy fun, a wild adventure with a glorious sense of excitement and wonder.

August 4, 2004 Full Review Source:

...why weren't the Disney folks content simply to tell a good story? Could it have been because they knew they didn't have a very good story?

July 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film's most harrowing scenes are predictable and utterly unoriginal.

June 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

The picture plays out with the robust character of the old Flash Gordon movies.

June 3, 2004

The stereotypes and blatant propaganda wouldn't irritate so much if the action itself wasn't so relentlessly dreary -- a desert of imagination, parched of original ideas.

April 20, 2004 Full Review Source: BBC

Completely lacks the nobility, statue, and credibility due such an amazing story, even if it is an old man's folly.

April 9, 2004
San Francisco Examiner

Slow, plodding and arduous, though spiked with occasional hiccups of excitement.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

It is pure popcorn fun, whether there is a grain of truth in the story, or if it is merely an entertaining western tall tale.

April 8, 2004 Full Review
Atlantic City Weekly

An entertaining western adventure that radiates simplicity.

April 5, 2004 Full Review Source:

It's a widescreen Saturday matinee movie gloriously resurrected.

March 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

A big, beautiful film that's thoroughly enjoyable even if it never tries to be meaningful.

March 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

The screen language of Hidalgo invites nostalgia for adventure films without satisfying it.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: F5 (Wichita, KS)

Audience Reviews for Hidalgo

This is a period piece centering around a rugged western hero who decides to prove himself by being the first westerner to enter into a gruelling desert horse race in the Middle East, hoping ot prove that his American horse Hidalgo is just as good if not better than any of the Arabian horses he's up against.

The film is very schmaltzy, sappy, and emotionally manipulative, and some of it does work, but a lot of it fell flat for me. Viggo Mortensen's presence helps things out a lot, and there;s some wonderful cinematography, but some of this was just really too cheesy for me. That, and I really don't care for the opening stuff involving the Native Americans. It jsut comes off as forced, unnecessary, pandering, and really mishandled. It shouldn't even be in here, really. Also, Omar Sharif is a great guy, but give him some better material to work with, especially a character who we're supposed to like (in the end), but can't buy how it gets to that point.

Yeah, I'm ripping on this movie, and some of it is just nitpicking and personal issues, but really, this film just isn't that special or all that memorable even. Go with Seabiscuit instead, or, now that it's out, War Horse.
January 12, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Hidalgo is a terrific action adventure following the legend of Frank T. Hopkins and his Mustang horse, Hidalgo. The film is about a race known as the Ocean of fire a long distance race across the Arabian desert. Hidalgo is a fairly entertaining adventure and is a film that deserves a lot more credit than it deserves. Sure the film is at times uneven, but it manages to be an entertaining and thrilling adventure that is simply loads of fun. Viggo Mortensen is good in his portrayal of Frank Hopkins. Hidalgo is basically a story of attempting the impossible. The film has Western elements, but it doesn't evoke a sense of nostalgia found in viewing such epic Spaghetti Westerns of old. The film is pretty well crafted and the pacing of the story is well thought out meaning the film is never too dull or boring, it's always exciting and thrilling. October Sky director Joe Johnson helms this film and does yet another terrific job and making a film that doesn't have a specific demographic in mind. Johnson is a splendid filmmaker and Hidalgo is yet another solid picture that proves his talents further. A surprising casting choice is Omar Shariff (I thought he was dead long ago) He plays a decent role in Hidalgo also was more famous for playing Ali in the epic masterpiece Lawrence Of Arabia. Hidalgo is an action packed film that the whole family will surely enjoy. The film is never boring, or dull and theres always something going on to keep the pace of the film going.
April 28, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Different from most any western this crossbred tale of a crossbred cowboy horseracing in arabia is itself a crossbreed, has interesting legs and succeeds in entertaining.
March 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

It's a little over the top in places, a little over-long and descends into just a mere 'Desert themed' action movie in places but I did enjoy it. I like the history behind it, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. It did exceed my expectations but they were pretty low to be honest. Hidalgo is classic Sunday afternoon viewing.
December 6, 2010

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Oceanos de fuego (ES)
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