Wednesday 27th October 2021

Hidalgo (12A)
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
I think we're lost - this looks like Tatooine.
I think we're lost - this looks like Tatooine.

Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings (Viggo Mortenson) plays Frank T. Hopkins, a legendary (apparently) Pony express courier in what many are calling "Dances With Horses".

The idea here is that Frank and his legendary mustang Hidalgo (not a thoroughbred horse) have won lots and lots of endurance races across America. However, an unhappy Arab Sheikh takes umbrage to Hidalgo's title of "The World's Greatest Endurance Horse" (or words to that effect) and challenges Frank to compete in the annual race across the Ocean of Fire – a 3,000 mile slog through the desert in the Middle East.

Frank agrees to defend his honour and heads half way around the world to beat the rest of the competition (all thoroughbred horses), all the while thwarted by the underhand tricks of the other double-crossing owners.

The scenery and the horses are really something to behold in this movie and it is a must for horse-lovers. There are so many horses in some scenes that you wonder how the owners could ever tell which one was theirs after shooting finished. The answer, as it turns out, is that the horses' hooves were branded for that very reason.

The film is supposedly based on a true story, although the annual race across the Ocean of Fire never existed and as far as I can make out is only recorded in the fanciful journal of Frank T. Hopkins. Having said that, there's not much else wrong with the movie, but it struggles to be at all memorable.

Predictable, enjoyable and dare I say mediocre, Hidalgo is worth checking out if you like horses or if there's nothing else on you'd rather see.

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Length: 136 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 16th April 2004

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