War Horse

2011

War Horse

Critics Consensus

Technically superb, proudly sentimental, and unabashedly old-fashioned, War Horse is an emotional drama that tugs the heartstrings with Spielberg's customary flair.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 233

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 69,612
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War Horse Photos

Movie Info

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 tames 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

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Cast

Peter Mullan
as Ted Narracott
Jeremy Irvine
as Albert Narracott
Emily Watson
as Rosie Narracott
Niels Arestrup
as Grandfather
Tom Hiddleston
as Captain Nicholls
Benedict Cumberbatch
as Major Jamie Stewart
Toby Kebbell
as Geordie Soldier
David Kross
as Gunther
Matt Milne
as Andrew Easton
Robert Emms
as David Lyons
Eddie Marsan
as Sgt. Fry
Nicolas Bro
as Friedrich
Hinnerk Schonemann
as German Soldier in No Man's Land
Gary Lydon
as Si Easton
Geoff Bell
as Sgt. Sam Perkins
Liam Cunningham
as Army Doctor
Justin Brett
as Motorbike Rider
Sebastian Hülk
as German Officer at Farm
Gerard McSorley
as Market Auctioneer
Tony Pitts
as Sgt. Martin
Ifran Hussain
as Sgt. Maj. Singh
Seamus O'Neill
as Devon Farmer #1
Philippe Nahon
as French Auctioneer
Pat Laffan
as Devon Farmer #2
Michael Ryan
as British Trench Soldier #1
Peter McNeil O'Connor
as British Trench Soldier #2
Gunnar Atli Cauthery
as German Trench Soldier #1
Julian Wadham
as Trench Captain
Anian Zollner
as Senior German Officer
Michael Kranz
as Junior German Officer
Hannes Wegener
as German Officer
David Dencik
as Base Camp Officer
Edward Bennett
as Cavalry Recuiting Officer
Johnny Harris
as Infantry Recruiting Officer
Philip Hill-Pearson
as Wounded Soldier
Tam Dean Burn
as Medic in Trench
Thomas Arnold
as Shouting German Soldier
Maximiilian Brueckner
as German Artillery Officer
Markus Tomczyk
as German Artillery Soldier
Peter Benedict
as German Officer on Bridge
Roy Holder
as Fred Goddard
Paul Alexander
as Dave Hill
Maggie Ollerenshaw
as Narracott's Neighbour
Beth Ogden
as David Lyons's Girlfriend
Martin D. Dew
as Lyons' Cronie
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News & Interviews for War Horse

Critic Reviews for War Horse

All Critics (233) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (175) | Rotten (58)

  • War Horse is a pre-packaged brand, rather than a movie.

    Jan 12, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Heavy-handed melodrama with flashes of brilliance.

    Jan 12, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Spielberg still manages to surprise and impress.

    Jan 10, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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 impression.

    Jan 6, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The material sometimes feels oversugared, though it's also guaranteed to raise a lump in your throat.

    Jan 5, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Newsday
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Dec 31, 2011 | Full Review…

    Dana Stevens

    Slate
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for War Horse

  • Feb 06, 2017
    I absolutely understand why War Horse got the highbrow attention that it did, but I did not find it satisfying on a personal level.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 27, 2016
    War Horse is both emotionally gripping and surprisingly heartfelt - and it never feels manipulative thanks to Spielberg's confident and impressive direction that he always brings to the table, regardless of the film.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2014
    There is no need to exaggerate over Spielberg's typical overtly sentimental stunts in his "drama" stories. Sure, he is a decaying director that, after more than four decades in the business, has emptied all of his talent in the feature films that he has directed and produced, but in no way this is the worst thing he has done. Even if the film fails to impact and fills the story with underdeveloped characters and subplots, his now clichéd trademarks of "passion", "adventure" and "courage" are still present and by no means he is a filmmaker without a heart. In a movie where Williams' now beloved musical work surpasses the film itself, <i>War Horse</i> comes as a technically well done film that audiences love to hate because they were offered anything new, even if they were not offered something absolutely terrible either. The nod that I question, though, is the unnecessary orange-colored nod to <i>Gone with the Wind</i> (1939). I just wished that audiences did not fall so easily into the famous and now scientifically proven <i>comparison bias</i>, putting <i>War Horse</i> against Spielberg's great early filmography and rate this like if this was one of the worst films ever made, like if there wasn't a single redeemable quality in 146 minutes. The problem with people is that they have a poor standardized judgment and use their one-star and half-star scores in the unwisest of ways just to show how disappointed and "insulted" they were by an experience that, at best, can be described as average recycled sentimental material. 56/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2013
    Let's start at the beginning with "War Horse," as a colt is born on a farm in Devonshire. Eventually colt and mother are separated, as the colt is sold at auction. Ted Narracott(Peter Mullan) wins the battle of the auction versus Lyons(David Thewlis), his landlord, but it looks like he loses the war when it turns out he has no money left for rent. The only hope for retaining the family farm is for Ted's son Albert(Jeremy Irvine) to somehow get the colt, now named Joey, to plow the land, which of course he does. And then somebody shoots Archduke Franz Ferdinand which ruins everybody's decade. "War Horse" is an uplifting and sentimental story about a boy and his horse with multiple points of view. Granted, it is set amidst the horrors of war which contradicts some of the intended high spirits. Throughout, Steven Spielberg cares less about the human beings involved than his sweeping vistas, although there is one great scene amongst all of the carnage. Casting Peter Mullan might have been a mistake as this movie was not built to contain his volatility but Tom Hiddleston is a perfect fit for this old fashioned production. And Liam Cunningham and Niels Arestrup are welcome sights anywhere. In the end, I think Spielberg, got it back asswards. He should have made "The Adventures of Tintin" as a retro live action movie and "War Horse" as an animated film, considering the overriding temptation to anthropomorphize the horses who are the real stars of the movie.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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