The Black Stallion is a lovely, almost mythical tale about a boy and his horse, this begins with young Alec (Reno, an experienced rider and son of cattle ranchers) surviving a shipwreck – along with a horse that was being transported on the boat.
Alone together on a deserted island, the graceful stallion and the boy bond, and when they are rescued and returned to civilisation, they become jockey and racehorse thanks to the determination of them both and the coaching of trainer Henry Dailey (Rooney, in a role that garnered him an Oscar nomination).
An absolutely cracking family adventure – how many movies boast a shipwreck and edge-of-the-seat racing scenes? – this features one of the most beautiful horses you’re likely to see on film, as played by Arabian stallion Cass Ole (who had to have mane extensions as his was usually cropped, while white marks on his legs were dyed with black hair dye).
An enjoyable sequel, The Black Stallion Returns (1983) followed Alec as he tried to track down his horse when it is kidnapped by Arabs and taken to Morocco.
Is The Black Stallion suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Small children may be scared by the shipwreck scenes.