One needn’t be Dr. Doolittle to communicate their animal counterparts. Given an equal dose of time, patience and trust, the ability to speak words are unnecessary to form bonds, to form meaningful friendships. Such was the case with young Alec and “the black” in the beloved 1979 film, The Black Stallion, a touching story of boy and horse who discover each other under the most trying of circumstances and form a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Based on the 1941 novel by Walter Farley, The Black Stallion tells the story of an American boy named Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno) who befriends a wild stallion while (of all places) traveling aboard an ocean liner with his father (Hoyt Axton). When a ruthless storm manages to sink the ship, Alec and the horse end up stranded upon an island where they must learn to trust and depend on each other if they hope to survive.
When rescuers finally discover the boy, he insists that his hoofed counterpart be rescued as well. Back in America, assimilating back into civilization is a trying experience for both boy and beast until a former jockey by the name of Henry Dailey takes them both under his wing. Thanks to his expertise, the black stallion is trained to compete and boy and horse get a chance to prove themselves in the big climactic racing finale.
Visually unique and narrated beautifully, The Black Stallion proved itself a thoroughbred in the time-honored tradition of “boy meets animal” companionship movies. Audiences were enthralled by the lush cinematography and the captivating storyline (which featured Mickey Rooney in the role of horse trainer Dailey) and had audiences of all ages cheering for “the Black.”
Producer Francis Ford Coppola brought the original cast back for a sequel in 1983, The Black Stallion Returns, and Mickey Rooney would reprise his role yet again in 1990 for a television series loosely based on the original story called The Adventures of the Black Stallion. Meanwhile, the original remains one of those beloved films of childhood to many a former kid.
If you are one of those who fondly remembers The Black Stallion, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts in our comments section.