War Horse (film)

2011 film directed by Steven Spielberg

War Horse is a 2011 war drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on both War Horse (1982), a children's novel set before and during World War I, by British author Michael Morpurgo, and the 2007 stage adaptation of the same name. In the film a bay thoroughbred stallion named Joey who fought at war.

It's a horse they found wandering about in No Man's Land.

Captain Nicholls edit

  • I promise that I'll look after him, and if possible, I'll return him to your care.
    • To Albert

Senior German Officer edit

  • Did you really think that a German garrison on open ground would go undefended? Look at yourself! Who do you think you are?!
    • On capturing Major Stewart

German Officer at Farm edit

  • [Taking Joey and Topthorn] They will pull artillery until they die. Or the war is over. [Grandfather protests the war will never end] You have your answer, then.
  • The war is taking everything, from everyone.

Friedrich edit

  • [Freeing Joey after Topthorn dies of exhaustion] Run! Run! [An officer tries to stop him] GO TO HELL!

Dialogue edit

[Just before Gunther and Michael Schröder are shot for desertion]

German NCO: Schröder... a mistake?
Gunther Schröder: A promise.

Albert: What is it?
Soldier: It's a horse they found wandering about in No Man's Land.
Albert: What kind of a horse?
Soldier: A miraculous kind of a horse, be my guess.

[Grandfather decides to return Joey to Albert after buying the horse at an auction]

Grandfather: Here... he belongs to you. It's what she would want.
Albert: Your granddaughter — what was her name?
Grandfather: Emilie. Her name was Emilie. She was the boss!

Quotes about War Horse edit

  • It’s the restraint that makes War Horse remarkable. Spielberg shows you enough to understand that what you’re watching — machine guns, mustard gas, bodies stretching into the distance — was unprecedented. And amid the incomprehensible slaughter, it’s a horse that reminds these warriors of their humanity. … Spielberg has been ridiculed for shooting his actors from below against impossibly Spielbergian skies and a denouement that lays the love on copiously. But there’s nothing simpleminded about how he uses movie magic, as a spell to dispel nihilism, to save us from the worst of ourselves by summoning up the best.
  • Though based partly on a children's novel, Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" is not entirely a children's movie. It does star a boy and a horse, and it has many moments of warmth, humor and reassuring corn. But "War Horse" is also a film about the human animal and its capacity for violence and cruelty. You can always depend on Spielberg to land on the side of optimism, of course, just as you know he'll put you through the wringer to get there. … The material sometimes feels oversugared, though it's also guaranteed to raise a lump in your throat.
  • The closing shots of Steven Spielberg's War Horse will stir emotions in every serious movie lover. The sky is painted with a deeply red-orange sunset. A lone rider is seen far away on the horizon. The rider approaches and dismounts. He embraces a woman and a man. They all embrace the horse's head. Music swells. This footage, with the rich colors and dramatic framing on what is either a soundstage or intended to look like one, could come directly from a John Ford Western.
    It is Spielberg's homage, I believe, to Ford and to a Hollywood tradition of broad, uplifting movies intended for all audiences. The performances and production values throughout the film honor that tradition. War Horse is bold, not afraid of sentiment and lets out all the stops in magnificently staged action sequences. Its characters are clearly defined and strongly played by charismatic actors. Its message is a universal one, about the horror of war in which men and animals suffer and die, but for the animals there is no reason: They have cast their lot with men who have betrayed them.
  • Joey meets a series of masters, most of them on both sides men who respected horses. Yet war is no place for sentiment, and as an officer explains with brutal realism, a horse is a weapon and must either be used or destroyed.
    • Roger Ebert, in a review of War Horse (21 December 2011)
  • Spielberg ennobles Joey and provides an ending for the film that is joyous, uplifting, and depends on a surely unbelievable set of coincidences. I suppose it must be that way for us to even bear watching such a story. I am reminded of Schindler's List. Six million Jews were exterminated in the World War II, but in focusing on a few hundred who miraculously survived, Spielberg made his story bearable. Among the horses of World War I, it can only be said that Joey's good luck was extraordinary.
    The film is made with superb artistry. Spielberg is the master of an awesome canvas.
    Most people will enjoy it, as I did. But not included in the picture is the level of sheer hopeless tragedy that is everywhere just out frame. It is the same with life, and if you consider the big picture, all of us, men and beasts, have extraordinary good luck.
    • Roger Ebert, in a review of War Horse (21 December 2011)

External links edit

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