War Horse (movie)

War Horse ( War Horse ) is an American film of Steven Spielberg released at the end of the year 2011 in the United States. This is the adaptation of the War Horse novelbyMichael Morpurgo , himself based on his own children’s book Horse War published in 1982 in Britain .

This film pays tribute to the eight million horses sacrificed during the First World War .


The young Albert lives with his parents on a rented farm in Devon, England. His father buys at a golden price a magnificent horse, fascinated by this unusual animal. The mother does not accept this horse, a half-blood , who, a priori, will not be able to pull the plow, she says. Albert manages to soothe the horse. Together they manage to plow a field. A very important feat for them because they had promised the owner of their farm to plow the field to grow turnips to pay their debt. As soon as he arrives at the farm, Albert recognizes the colt who was born in a meadow above the village. But in these times of World War Ithe animal is sold to the British cavalry and sent to the front, so it goes from the field to the field of battle. Albert is then forced to commit himself, and lives an unusual adventure, alongside soldiers at the front, he discovers the horror of the war. A little girl, living with her grandfather, finds Joey and Toptorm, his companion, both escaped. She tries to teach Joey to jump, try to get him up, because she’s not afraid. Unfortunately, the German forces arrive and requisition food and utensils from grandfather. Meanwhile, the little girl has gone to hide the two horses in her room.

The next day, she meets again the German soldiers who carry the horses to use them in fights. The grandfather, very unhappy, is determined to find them. During his journey, Joey leaves no one indifferent, because, by his presence and his behavior, he gives hope to the soldiers who surround him. The two friends, Albert and Joey will meet after much suffering.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: War Horse
  • French title: Cheval de guerre
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Scenario: Lee Hall and Richard Curtis , based on the work of Michael Morpurgo
  • Artistic Direction: Andrew Ackland-Snow, Alastair Bullock, Molly Hughes, Neil Lamont and Gary Tomkins
  • Sets: Rick Carter
  • Costumes: Joanna Johnston
  • Director of Photography: Janusz Kamiński
  • Editing: Michael Kahn
  • Music: John Williams
  • Sound: Richard Hymns
  • Production: Steven Spielberg , Revel Guest, Kathleen Kennedy , Frank Marshall
    • Co-production: Adam Somner
  • Production Companies: Amblin Entertainment , DreamWorks SKG , Reliance Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures and The Kennedy / Marshall Company 1
  • Distribution companies:
    •  : Focus Features
    •  United States :Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures,Touchstone Pictures 1
    •  United Kingdom :Buena Vista International
    •  France : The Walt Disney Company France
  • Budget: 66 million of dollars US
  • Country of Origin: United States , India
  • Original language: English
  • Format: Color – 35mm – 2.35: 1 – Dolby Digital sound
  • Genre: War , historical drama
  • Duration: 146 minutes
  • Release dates 2 :
    •  United States :
    •  Belgium :
    •  France :


Source and captionFrench version (VF) on Voxofilm 3 and Version québécoise (VQ)
  • Jeremy Irvine (VF: Donald Reignoux , VQ: Gabriel Lessard) : Albert Narracott
  • Tom Hiddleston (VF: Alexis Victor , VQ: Nicolas Charbonneaux-Collombet ) : Captain Nicholls
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (VF: Fabien Jacquelin , VQ: Frédéric Paquet) : Major Stewart
  • Emily Watson (VF: Isabelle Gardien , VQ: Valérie Gagné ) : Rose Narracott, Albert’s mother
  • David Thewlis (VF: Lionel Tua , VQ: Denis Gravereaux ) : Lyons
  • Stephen Graham : Sergeant Sam Perkins
  • David Kross (VF: Alexis Tomassian , VQ: Nicolas Bacon) : Gunther
  • Geoff Bell (VF: Jean-François Vlérick , VQ: Benoit Rousseau ) : Sergeant Sam Perkins
  • Peter Mullan (VF: Patrick Raynal ); VQ: Manuel Tadros : Ted Narracott, Albert’s father
  • Niels Arestrup (VF and VQ: himself) : grandfather
  • Patrick Kennedy (VF: Yoann Sover ) : Lieutenant Charley Waverly
  • Nicolas Bro : Friedrich
  • Toby Kebbell (VF: Damien Boisseau , VQ: Pierre-Yves Cardinal ) : Geordie
  • Rainer Bock : Brandt
  • Robert Emms (VF: Jean-Christophe Dollé ) : David Lyons
  • Céline Buckens (VF: herself) : Émilie, the Frenchwoman
  • Irfan Hussein : Sergeant Major Singh
  • Leonhard Carow : Michael
  • Matt Milne (VF: Brice Ournac ) : Andrew Easton
  • Eddie Marsan (VF: Gérard Darier ) : Sergeant Fry
  • Gary Lydon (VF: Michel Dodane ) : If Easton
  • Tony Pitts (VF: Sylvain Lemarié ) : Sergeant Martin
  • Irfan Hussein : Sergeant Major Singh
  • Pip Torrens : Major Tompkins
  • Peter O’Connor (VF: Axel Kiener ) : Peter
  • Gerard McSorley (VF: Vincent Grass ) : A participant in the auction
  • Liam Cunningham : Medical Officer
  • Hinnerk Schönemann : the German soldier in no man’s land
  • Sebastian Hülk : German officer on the farm
  • Philippe Nahon (VF: himself) : the auctioneer
  • Jean-Claude Lecas (VF: himself) : the butcher of Cambrai
  • Justin Brett : the motorcyclist


Spielberg and his report to play

  • Moved by the play War Horse drawn from the eponymous novel by Michael Morpurgo , British author of children’s literature, Steven Spielberg decided to bring to the screen this moving story of friendship between a boy and his horse 4 .
  • It was Kathleen Kennedy , Steven Spielberg’s regular producer since 1982, who praised the merits of the play, which immediately appealed to Steven Spielberg , who immediately decided to make a film of it. Kathleen Kennedyherself discovered the piece by going to see her with her children.
  • Steven Spielberg admits he does not ride, although he has a dozen, especially for the pleasure of his 14 year old daughter and his wife.


Castle Combe.
  • This film requires 400 people working on the set. More than 300 horses are used for the film, including 14 for Joey.
  • Steven Spielberg set up a very strict organization during filming, he directs the board in a very precise way, the improvisation is proscribed, and the timing set like a Swiss clock.
  • The film is shot in Castle Combe , a small village a few miles from Bristol in Britain , in Wiltshire County , considered by tourists as “the most beautiful village in England ” . Steven Spielbergdecided to shoot there because the village still seems period, and nature is left wild, which offers very good conditions for making a film of time, here on the First World War . Besides, scenes from recent movies, such as Wolfman and Stardust , and older, The Extravagant Doctor Dolittle, were shot there.
  • The film crew used the services of Longcross Studios


A thousand miles away from special effects films, Steven Spielberg returns to a real pictorial aesthetic, as simple as worked. Indeed, the film is structured around episodes, paintings that tell small stories that, put side by side, form a larger story. The decor is therefore a full part of the film. Moreover, it can translate how it feels and what the horse lives 5 .

Thanks to this structure in episodes, the spectator is transported according to the meetings and the experiments that makes the horse, allowing Spielberg to go beyond the conflict and the notions of “good” or “bad” by making the war an absurdity.


Appointments and awards

Six nominations at the 84 th Academy Awards (26 February 2012):

  • Best film ( Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy )
  • Best Artistic Direction ( Rick Carter and Lee Sandales )
  • Best photograph ( Janusz Kaminski )
  • Best sound editing ( Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom )
  • Best sound mix ( Gary Rydstrom , Andy Nelson , Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson )
  • Best Movie Music ( John Williams ).


Historical inaccuracy

The film perpetuates a misconception: when Joey is wounded in 1918, a doctor says, “There are no vets. There are hardly any horses left. “. If the horse is no longer used by the cavalry in 1918, it is still used as a pulling animal. The belligerents actually employ more horses at the end of the war than at the beginning 6 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a and b Production Companies  [ archive ] – Internet Movie Database
  2. ↑ Release dates  [ archive ] – Internet Movie Database
  3. ↑ “VF dubbing sheet of the film”  [ archive ] on Voxofilm , accessed March 22, 2012
  4. ↑ “The war horse by Steven Spielberg”  [ archive ] , blog clic-cheval.com.
  5. ↑ Emilia Combes, “The Human Kind”, February 27, 2012  [ archive ] , and critical analysis of War Horse , to read on The Interlude  [ archive ] .
  6. ↑ Gene Tempest, Spielberg on horseback , in: History , o 372, February 2012, p. 31.

Leave a comment