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My very favorite horse movie about more then horses has finally resurfaced. MUST SEE!

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  • My very favorite horse movie about more then horses has finally resurfaced. MUST SEE!

    I always name this one on assorted threads despite lack of availability and, suddenly last week? There it was on TCM grouped with various race movies meaning TCM has it and Netflix probably does too.

    Its called Bite the Bullet, circa 1975ish, Oscar winner Richard Brooks written and directed starring Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Ben Johnson and Candice Bergen it was a real treat to welcome it again.

    Its a gritty 1900 background for a 700 mile endurance race with location setting, thoughtful writing and the specter of animal abuse with Gene Hackman as a sort of protector and avenger as the era of the cowboy fades into the motorized revolution. Nothing as satisfying as his character beating the crap out of an abuser and if the first 15 minutes of this movie doesn't have you in tears? You have no heart.

    Havent seen it for 20 years and its better then I remember. Download and enjoy... Suggest popcorn, adult beverage and a box of Kleenex - but its all good.

    There is a review by Roger Ebert on Google if you want to get a little context before viewing.

    ETA like I said, it's set against a harsh reality so don't watch if you want warm fuzzies. But few movies have a heart like this one does.
    Last edited by findeight; Apr. 28, 2013, 03:38 PM.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

  • #2
    I love this movie. Found the DVD in a $5 bin and Walmart and snapped it up a while back. C'mon, lots of warm fuzzies, especially at the end.


    • #3
      I like the movie a lot, but, setting aside the idea that no long-distance endurance racer would start off and maintain a gallop rather than a distance-covering trot, the only thing that really bugged me was the guy putting his horse down, FROM A DISTANCE, with a DERRINGER? Really? Unless he shot it through eye (maybe) I doubt the bullet would even penetrate the skull, let alone kill, fired from a distance. Plus he was holding his arm at full length, unsteadied.......helluva shot! (NOT) LOL

      Other than that, yes a good horse movie, some inaccuracies, but better than most. Ending a little weak - heavy breathing, tons of foam on the horses, but their nostrils unflared. *G* Ben Johnson's last movie, I believe. And Candice Bergen rode as a kid - she looked good on a horse.


      • #4
        If it is the one I think it is, it scarred me as a child to see this movie...the scene of the dead mare, which was headed to slaughter, with her foal at the side (though touching how he carried it to a farm) and then the thoroughbred to break its leg near the end, left me distraught to no end!
        I have seen it listed a few times but cannot bring myself to watch it. Maybe I should try now as an adult?
        Lori T
        www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


        • #5
          I loved this movie too. Ironically it was cited by (whoever does that sort of thing) for multiple violations of the (movie act) involving the horses. I don't remember all of them, the only one I really remember is the use of the running w and I think that TB that broke it's leg really did die but I can't swear to it now. One or two horses did die. Too bad because the movie was good. And a shame because they knew better.
          Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

          Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


          • Original Poster

            Doesn't seem to be any information on multiple horse deaths filming this movie anywhere via Google or Bing, even from negative reviews and commentary. Dont recall anything even tho I was active in the LA horse scene in the mid 70s with friends on the production side of the business, including providing mounts for film work.. Do you have specifics?

            I just went back and paused my DVR on that chestnut and there is nothing wrong with it other then it looks like it might be a different chestnut then the one running and jumping the logs.

            It is a 40 year old movie with the usual continuity problems and its share of dumb stuff and IMO, a little harsh at times but not objectionable when taken in context and the moral point of the movie. Not saying filming on location most of the year may not have resulted in an accident or that we have not advanced a great deal in safety since this was made.

            Still a very good film. And much better then Hidalgo.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • #7
              I like this movie too. My only bone of contention is at the end, when Gene Hackman and his horse are crossing the finish line, the horse is supposedly staggering and covered with foam and Hackman strips the saddle off to lighten the load. The horse's back is DRY AS A BONE. That always amuses me.
              I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.