Critics Consensus

A life-affirming, if saccharine, epic treatment of a spirit-lifting figure in sports history.



Total Count: 203


Audience Score

User Ratings: 118,367
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Movie Info

For his sophomore effort, director Gary Ross re-teams with Tobey Maguire and William H. Macy, stars of his directorial debut Pleasantville, for this depression-era sports drama about the legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit. Unlike 1949's fictionalized The Story of Seabiscuit starring Shirley Temple, this version attempts to present a factual account of the story, which centers around the three men who saw the famed horse to victory. Jeff Bridges stars as Charles Howard, an entrepreneur who owns the unlikely racehorse. Howard teams with partially blind boxer-turned-jockey Red Pollard (Maguire in his first performance since annihilating the 2002 box-office in Spider-Man) and horse trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper fresh off his best-supporting actor Oscar for Adaptation). Together, the three work to help the famed horse to several symbolic victories that helped to inspire a downtrodden 1930s America. The supporting cast, headed by Macy, includes Elizabeth Banks (Spider-Man) and real-life jockeys Gary Stevens and Chris McCarron. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi


Tobey Maguire
as Red Pollard
Jeff Bridges
as Charles Howard
Chris Cooper
as Tom Smith
Elizabeth Banks
as Marcela Howard
William H. Macy
as `Tick-Tock' McGlaughlin
Gary Stevens
as George Woolf
Eddie Jones
as Samuel Riddle
Michael Angarano
as Young Red Pollard
Valerie Mahaffey
as Annie Howard
Ed Lauter
as Charles Strub
Michael O'Neill
as Mr. Pollard
Annie Corley
as Mrs. Pollard
Alberto Gianini
as Gianni Russo
Royce D. Applegate
as Dutch Doogan
Dyllan Christopher
as Frankie Howard
Shay Duffin
as Sunny Fitzsimmons
Peter Jason
as Reporter Max
John Walcutt
as Reporter Roy
James DuMont
as Reporter Lewis
Chris McCarron
as Charley Kurtsinger
Gary Ross
as Pimlico Track Announcer
Sam Bottoms
as Mr. Blodget
Paul Vincent O'Connor
as Bicycle Supervisor
Michael Ensign
as Steamer Owner
James Keane
as Car Customer
David Doty
as Land Broker
Cameron Bowen
as Pollard Child
Noah Luke
as Pollard Child
Mariah Bess
as Pollard Child
Jamie Lee Redmon
as Pollard Child
William Hollick
as Bug Boy Jockey
Joe Roccp Jr.
as Bug Boy Jockey
Anthony Klingman
as Boxing Match Referee
Michelle Arthur
as Marcela's Friend
Danny Strong
as Young Jockey
Hans Howes
as White Horse Trainer
Camillia Sanes
as Molina Rojo Woman
Clif Alvey
as Angry Trainer
Dan Daily
as Saratoga Trainer
Borden Flanagan
as Farm Manager
Kevin Mangold
as Saratoga Jockey
Jay Cohen
as Bugle Player
Frank Mirahmadi
as Santa Anita Track Announcer
J. Michael Hunter
as Speed Dual Jockey
Tony Volu
as Racing Tout
Robin Bissell
as Horace Halsteder
Paige King
as Tick Tock's Squeeze
Roger E. Fanter
as Pimlico Night Watchman
Gary McGurk
as Tractor Worker
Michael B. Silver
as Baltimore Doctor
Richard Reeves
as Radio Reporter Joe
Matt Miller
as Pimlico Starter
Pat Skipper
as Seabiscuit's Vet
Ben Campisi
as Clocker Man
Ken Magee
as California Doctor
Gary A. Hecker
as Horse Vocal
José García Hernández
as Male Mariachi Band Leader
Jesse Hernandez
as Man Mariachi Band
Julio Hernández Cordón
as Man Mariachi Band
Jose Ramirez
as Man Mariachi Band
Férnando Moreno
as Man Mariachi Band
Pedro Hernández
as Man Mariachi Band
Dennis Meade
as Man Mariachi Band
Javier Juarequi
as Man Mariachi Band
Aerial Delarosa
as Man Mariachi Band
Eric Hernandez
as Man Mariachi Band
Raul Cuellar
as Man Mariachi Band
Catherine M. Baeza
as Female Mariachi Band
Gina A. Duran
as Female Mariachi Band
Cynthia Reifler Flores
as Female Mariachi Band
Joe Rocco Jr.
as Bug Boy Jockey
Monica Fogelquist
as Female Mariachi Band
Maria Luisa Fregosa
as Female Mariachi Band
Gianni Russo
as Alberto Gianini
Camilia Sanes
as Molina Rojo Woman
Ruby Guiterrez
as Female Mariachi Band
Sylvia N. Hinojosa
as Female Mariachi Band
Mariana Nanez
as Female Mariachi Band
Leticia Olmos
as Female Mariachi Band
Laura Pena
as Female Mariachi Band
Karla Tovar
as Female Mariachi Band
George Baker
as Salvation Army Band
Matthew Gillies
as Salvation Army Band
Jacqui Larsson
as Salvation Army Band
Daniel Martinez XI
as Salvation Army Band
Joshua Stanley
as Salvation Army Band
Michael White (I)
as Salvation Army Band
Ivan Wild
as Salvation Army Band
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News & Interviews for Seabiscuit

Critic Reviews for Seabiscuit

All Critics (203) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (157) | Rotten (46)

  • Respectable when it should be thrilling, honorable when it should be rough and ready.

    Jul 31, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • [It] may be too airbrushed for its own good, but in the end nothing can stop this story from putting a lump in your throat.

    Nov 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • I found this film stultifyingly self-important and, despite the regularity with which it cuts to the chase, weirdly static.

    Mar 26, 2007 | Full Review…
  • For a film about an unfancied underdog, Seabiscuit is just far too pleased with itself.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Watching this movie, you get the feeling that the Depression existed so that Seabiscuit could be memorialized.

    Aug 7, 2004
  • It tells such a good story in such a cleverly old-fashioned way that you go along with practically everything.

    Jan 15, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Derek Malcolm

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Seabiscuit

  • Mar 12, 2014
    Tobey Maguire tries his best to shrink down to the size of a jockey in this story of a legendary horse from the Depression. It's good but could have been a wee bit more compelling.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2012
    This is a well made film but there were some very small elements that bothered me. Although, if I may, Chris Cooper's performance is the best in the entire film. I wish the film was mainly about him. As for Seabiscuit, he is clearly just a race horse with a bit of a temper and with holding low esteem (until the three race men break the horse out of that zone) rather then a humane being just as that guy who walks Seabiscuit in the paddock is only a grooom and nothing more. Why couldn't the filmmakers give that actor at least one noteable performance? When he does talk you can hardly hear him. That's just wrong. Another scene I had a problem with is when families eat at a dinner table together you say GRACE! I was sort of offended when Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, and Elizabeth Banks just started eating without giving any thanks or praise. Believe me if you were living during The Great Depression, i'm sure non-believers must have done a little bit of prayer in the shadows hoping to for next evening's dinner meal. Gary Ross is a skilled filmmaker and I loved his Pleasantville then this. I haven't seen his film The Hunger Games where he would work again with Liz Banks, the trailer doesn't make me want to check out the picture.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2012
    This was one of those films where you just get wrapped up in it and you truly care for the characters. I enjoyed!
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2012
    Before there was "The Hunger Games", Gary Ross was running with "Seabiscuit". Sounds like he really is hungry, what with all of the food-related titles. Well, maybe I'm looking too far into it, because a biscuit is anything but sweet, and as this film taught us, good ol' Gary Ross loves him some sweetness, almost as much as Tobey Maguire evidently wants to break away from the cutesy pretty boy image by running to films that he thinks are going to be manly, but only worsen his situation of being not so cool. First, he's hanging out with Hunter Thompson in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", only to turn out to be a dorky wimp of a hitchhiker, then he gets a shot at being a superhero, only to come back as nerdy little Peter Parker, and now, he's involved in sports, only to come back a horse rider, which is pretty cheesy enough when it's not riddled with the kind of sweetness in this film. Yeah, I bet that you're thinking that this film couldn't possibly be that terribly cheesy, but come on, it's a late Depression-era sports drama that's centered around a horse, whose biographical book had the subtitle "An American Legend", so there's no way this film is going to get out without trying to manipulate you. Oh man, does that taint this film to no end; but hey, it still triumphs by the end. Still, no matter how much this film manages to reasonably work past some of its missteps, there's no way around the fact it makes too many trips along the track. Running a mere 141 minutes, this film isn't too much of the epic that it claims to be, and I emphasize that, not because the subject matter isn't sweeping, for it does have some degree of scope to it, but because this film is too tight for its own good. Even though it is a lot of style, "the" key aspect of an epic is substance, and while this film does have just enough to be considered a small epic, whether it be too much meditation on artistry or nothing more than just overly tight sequences, this film glosses over much exposition, while occasionally tacking on borderline manipulative resonance to unsubtley make up for a lack of development of investment. With all of this simplification and over meditation on pieces of underwritten and slightly stylized substance, the film has points where its storytelling is close-to that of a meditative film, and pulls that same trick, in the same fashion, over and over again during a fair deal of points in the film, making the film not only underdeveloped and sappy in certain regards, but kind of repetitive. Really, with all of the cheese and repetition, what might hurt this film the most is the fact that it just does not deliver as thoroughly as it should, in the way of story subtlety or exposition, being held back by the aforementioned missteps, as well as those blasted, montage-like, David McCullough-narrated timeline summary segments, which I don't simply not like, but just plain hate, as they're never not agonizingly forced, always add such inconsistency to the film's flow and, for a moment, strips the story of "all" subtlety, substance and humanity, momentarily rendering it more of an dull, unengaging documentary than a docu-drama. There's just so little to such a massive, layered story, with countless sweeping aspects going glossed over, understandably so, seeing as there's too much time spent on too many layers to this story as it is - to where the titular horse that this film should be centered around is a plot device for everyone else's subplots -, though you still walk away feeling some degree of dissatisfaction. The film genuinely tries, and that much is palpable, yet it ultimately fails on most every one of its ambitions, lacking sweep, uniqueness, consistency, subtlety and humanity, and substituting it all with repetition, a shortage of substance and plenty of manipulation, leaving it, at best, a medicore bore of failed potential. However, while the film can never restore that squandered potential, it, amazingly, transcends much of its mediocrity; maybe not to where the film really satisfies, as a whole, but still to where the film does, in fact, deliver in enough aspects for it to hold your attention. Randy Newman's score is among the most prominent tools of manipulation used by the film, yet it remains respectable, nevertheless. Sure, it has the cheese factor working against it, but this Newman score is still so very inspired, with soul, depth and sweep that draws your attention, even during the moments where it's being used to further dilute subtlety. Actually, as much as I complain about the film being so manipulative, unsubtle and flawed, I have to honestly say that, well, I have nowhere to go with this statement, because the manipulation, lack of subtlety and flaws are that intense; I just can't help but bring them up again. However, although they are there and ever so glaring, they never destroy the picture or even bring it down to a level of mediocrity, because what saves the film, all but by itself, is its charm, not just in its being so ambitious, but also in its having certain moments of snap in both its dialogue and sharp editing tricks that bubble off the script and really light up the screen, not simply keeping the film from getting too dull, but keeping the film rather engaging, because for every major misstep in the script, there's always some big punch of charm to win you back. For that, we not only have to give credit to Gary Ross' couple of directorial and writing successes, but also his performers, with the only discernable difference appearing to be the fact that Ross, unlike his performers, is still quite flawed in his contributions. Now, granted, although I'm deeming the performers flawless, I'm not at all deeming them masterful, because they don't have enough material to play up or mess up, and are mostly asked to simply be charming, but in that regard, they really deliver. However, when the deeper stuff does come into play, our performers - especially Tobey Maguire - play it straight, with emotion and power in their presence so strong and assured that it almost cuts through the manipulation of those emotional moments and, doesn't necessarily summon huge amounts of emotion, but still touch enough for you to feel the resonance, even with the faults in atmosphere, and find even the emotionally manipulative parts rather winning, which isn't to say that the rest of the film, while still just as faulty, doesn't still keep you going with its charm and talents. At the end of the race, the film's legs go hit pretty hard by the absurd lack of subtlety and human substance that could have presented more sweep and exposition, while manipulative emotion and genericism render it hardly unique, from a story standpoint, and borderline mediocre, yet it still manages to regain its footing and charge on, carried by Randy Newman's spirited score, as well a deeply charming atmosphere and performances, ultimately leaving "Seabiscuit" to stand as a generally entertaining portrait on the legend on the track, even if it does squander potential. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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