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Secretariat (2010)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 144
Fresh: 92 | Rotten: 52

Rousing, heartwarming, and squarely traditional, Secretariat offers exactly what you'd expect from an inspirational Disney drama -- no more, and no less.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 10

Rousing, heartwarming, and squarely traditional, Secretariat offers exactly what you'd expect from an inspirational Disney drama -- no more, and no less.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 49,419

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the Novel "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" By William Nack, Secretariat chronicles the spectacular journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father's Virginia-based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery-with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich)-manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple


Sports & Fitness, Drama

Mike Rich

Jan 25, 2011


Walt Disney Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (147) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (92) | Rotten (52) | DVD (11)

This horsey, 1970s-set Disney film doesn't boast the most imaginative script and is too long and businesslike for youngsters -- yet it still produces a lump in the throat.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

My advice: If you're looking for a nostalgic, inspirational horse-race biopic that doesn't isolate itself completely from economic, historical, and racial reality, go rent Seabiscuit.

October 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Slate | Comments (4)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just how much you enjoy Secretariat, Disney's glossy-coated biopic of the celebrated racehorse, depends in large part on how much you know of his career. If you know zilch, you'll be thrilled.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Comments (2)
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Secretariat is a winner, but only by a few lengths.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Secretariat earns its best accolades for asking even larger questions as it highlights the story not just of a terrific horse but of his greatest champion, owner Penny Chenery, portrayed with grace, edge and a growing sense of self by Diane Lane.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comment (1)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The racing scenes, easily the best thing in this otherwise uninspired piece of inspirationalism, come as a distinct relief.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (5)
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

a safe, enjoyable movie that can be watched by yourself, on a date or at your mother's house after Sunday dinner

October 14, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

It teeters between pleasantly generic film biography and rank manipulation.

January 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

You could go see this just to enjoy the production design.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Diane Lane delivers one of the finest performances of her career.

February 6, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Secretariat is cliched, unrealistic and predictable, but it will make you feel good

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture | Comments (4)
What Culture

This horse-sports-opera boasts all the ingredients for a successful run.

January 27, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Celebrates greatness on four legs with a decent--if not record-breaking--amount of light entertainment. What're the odds?

January 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Comment (1)
Cinema Signals

Easily as good of a film as "Seabiscuit," and family-friendly.

January 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

Let down by a shallow, bland treatment and characters that feign depth and go nowhere. In this category, it is still 'Seabiscuit' by a mile.

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah) | Comments (2)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

A heavily contrived and overlong account of the greatest US horse in racing history, Disney's Secretariat still has a lot going for it as an old-fashioned family drama.

December 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post | Comment (1)
Birmingham Post

Secretariat is a good-natured but thunderingly clichéd triumph-against-the-odds tale, almost every line a cornball aphorism about following your heart.

December 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express | Comment (1)
Daily Express

Like Secretariat himself, the film is a glossy, big-hearted slow- starter, but lacks his ability to power home ahead of the competition.

December 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film | Comments (2)
Total Film

I'm sick of the simpering American morons who lap up this rubbish.

December 5, 2010 Full Review Source: News of the World | Comments (15)
News of the World

With its linear structure, nostalgic glow and distinct lack of surprises, Secretariat seems to have wandered into cinemas after leaving its TV movie hitching post.

December 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Comments (2)
Daily Mirror [UK]

Just when we thought John Malkovich didn't have another semi-intentionally deranged performance left in him, he has come storming back with another uproarious turn...

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian | Comment (1)

I think this is one of the year's most enjoyable family films.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Comment (1)
Daily Mail [UK]

Despite a decent performance from Lane as the homespun trainer, Secretariat is more blind alley than Blind Side.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

This tale of wealth, horse-breeding and good old Christian faith is just about as hammy as a study of commodified horse sex can be.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Little White Lies | Comment (1)
Little White Lies

Secretariat's story still feels untold.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times | Comment (1)
Radio Times

Don't put money on it.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Comment (1)
Sky Movies

Audience Reviews for Secretariat

Secretariat is a well crafted family film in the vein of Seabiscuit. With a great cast headed by Diane Lane and John Malkovich, Secretariat is an entertaining picture directed by Randall Wallace who previously directed We Were Soldiers, The Man in the Iron Mask and wrote the script to Braveheart. This is quite a different project for him to take on, but he crafts a great film here yet again, and Wallace is a fine director who is able to tell a great story. The cast here are great, and each brings something memorable to the screen. I personally preferred this film over Seabiscuit, and it is a highly engaging film from start to finish. If you love these films, then definitely give this one a shot. The racing scenes are well done and quite thrilling and are of course the highlight of the film. Horse themed movies tend to be bland nowadays and not too interesting, but this one has heart and charm, and is based by an incredible true story that is just worth seeing due to the fact that odds were against Secretariat to win the Triple Crown, and he astounded everyone and became the most famous racehorse who won the crown and became an icon of the sport. Although it is marred by predictability, this is worth seeing due to a strong cast, a great story and great direction. This is a must see for anyone looking for a great drama to watch, and although it follows the same formula as the traditional "horse race movies", it is also a bit different as well. Secretariat was unique, and this film is a fine tribute to that racing career. If you enjoyed Seabiscuit, then you'll most likely enjoy this one too.
June 20, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

True story about the best race horse who won the triple crown due to the determination of its owner, trainer and jockey. Great cast. If you like Seabiscuit you will like this movie.
September 23, 2012
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

An Extremely well produced film - glossy, shiny and well paced, this Disney production manages to get past some heavy handed Disneyesque sentimentality and deliver the goods in a ripping yarn about the greatest racehorse to ever run a race, and the woman who believed in him.

Diane Lane is near oscar worthy in her presentation of Penny Chenery, mother of four, and a housewife to an attorney. They reside in Colorado, and as the story begins, Penny has to rush back to the familial homestead in Virginia upon the death of her mother. When she arrives she finds the farm in decline and disrepair due mainly from her father being in the throes of Altzheimers. Fortunately, in a lucid moment, Dad bred two of his mares to a famous stallion (Bold Ruler). The story is not only of how Penny saves the farm, risking quite a lot (including the ire of her brother for not selling), but her belief in the horse she calls Big Red.

There's plenty scenes of bonding and horse sense, letting you know how noble these beasts are, and how smart and intuitive Big Red is. This is a bit over the top, as is the perhaps too constant reminders of a woman standing up to the status quo in what was at the time a man's sport and a man's world. Regardless, it makes for a good story, playing up the "us against them" aspect as well as the perhaps silent bond between horse and those closest to it. In fact, by showing us some "human" aspects of the legendary horse - his love for the limelight, etc. - the film draws you in and makes you seriously root for Secretariat.

There's plenty of drama in the well shot racing scenes and, even if you know the ending of the races, somehow there's still drama and you're on the edge of your seat yelling "go Big Red". Perhaps it's because I'm old enough to remember those races and being totally in awe of what has to be the greatest performance by a horse ever (the Belmont Stakes). I still get chills recalling the Sport's Illustrated cover of that magnificent, sturdy beast pounding the track into submission with the simple title "super".

But the film is not just about those iconic races and all the drama surrounding them. There's the human tale of how Penny chose her trainer and jockey. In yet another quirky, yet oddly effective performance, John Malkovich shines as the French Canadian trainer, frequently muttering in French. Then there is the joy of seeing the always wonderful Margo Martindale - just so natural in every role she plays. I found it interesting to see both Margo and ex congressman Fred Thompson in the same film; recalling the wonderful romance they portrayed over several episodes of the Sidney Lumet TV show 100 Centre St which aired several years ago. Both actors so fully able to just "be".

There's a wonderfully filmed sequence that aptly sums up the allure of this film. As the Belmont is being run and fans and critics alike utter that there's no way any horse can sustain such a torrid pace, the film backs off and shows the empty far turn with the white shiny rail on the right hand side. A voice over narration repeats a bit of poetry from the film's beginning; talking about how a warrior will always answer the call of the bugle - and then here comes Big Red around the turn, all by himself, thundering down the straight away and into history.
May 14, 2012
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Just a typical "feel good" movie.
January 20, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Penny Chenery: This is not about going back. This is about life being ahead of you and you run at it! Because you never know how far you can run unless you run.
    – Submitted by Katey M (3 years ago)
    1. Lucien Laurin: He's slower than a fat man encased in concrete being drug backwards.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Penny Chenery: This is not about going back. This is about life being ahead of you and you running at it! You never know where is will take you!
    – Submitted by Tiffany W (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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