Seabiscuit [Blu-ray]
Seabiscuit [Blu-ray]

 
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Product Description

Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 05/26/2009 Run time: 145 minutes Rating: Pg13

Proving that truth is often greater than fiction, the handsome production of Seabiscuit offers a healthy alternative to Hollywood's staple diet of mayhem. With superior production values at his disposal, writer-director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) is a bit too reverent toward Laura Hillenbrand's captivating bestseller, unnecessarily using archival material--and David McCullough's familiar PBS-styled narration--to pay Ken Burns-like tribute to Hillenbrand's acclaimed history of Seabiscuit, the knobby-kneed thoroughbred who "came from behind" in the late 1930s to win the hearts of Depression-weary Americans. That caveat aside, Ross's adaptation retains much of the horse-and-human heroism that Hillenbrand so effectively conveyed; this is a classically styled "legend" movie like The Natural, which was also heightened by a lushly sentimental Randy Newman score. Led by Tobey Maguire as Seabiscuit's hard-luck jockey, the film's first-rate cast is uniformly excellent, including William H. Macy as a wacky trackside announcer who fills this earnest film with a much-needed spirit of fun. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • Getting beat becomes an old habit.
    They say old habits are hard to break, so are men and horses.

    This is an uplifting story af a remarkable horse and one of the few great human-interest stories of the Great Depression.

    A movie for the whole family, I highly reccomend it....more info
  • great movie
    The product came on time and was much appreciated. The movie was a gift and the receiver loved it....more info
  • Reference Quality HD DVD
    This review rating is not for the content of the movie itself, but for the quality of the HD DVD transfer.

    This is one of the best titles for picture quality to come out so far in the HD DVD format. The standard DVD release was great for picture quality, so I was excited to see what this one is like in the HD DVD format. Picture quality is very impressive. The textures of the period clothing in the film really stand out. Blacks are very dark, and the movie has great shadow detail.

    The sound quality is also a dramatic improvement over the standard DVD. While there is no Dolby True HD sound, the Dolby Digital plus soundtrack is great. ...more info
  • The Story of a Nation...
    Seabiscuit is one of those movies which I should have seen much earlier, but did not do so because of the generally unfavourable reviews which I received from friends. Next time, I am going to be much more probing and patient.
    It turned out to be one of the most incredible movies I have seen in many years. But here I must say something about movies in general. Different people have a different penchant towards movies. Most of the times, this is obviously so because of our specific interests. An ice-hockey fan is much more likely to truly appreciate the movie 'Miracle', based on the American team's victory against Russia in the 1981 olympics. And so it goes for any one of us. In my case, American History is one of my major intersts, and I so I don't find it surprising that I greatly liked 'Seabiscuit'.

    The movie is hardly about a horse, although the horse is the central character in the movie. The most important thing is that it's based on a true story and that changes the equations. Seabiscuit, first and last, is about a people, struggling through depression times, who come together as a nation, beginning a juggernaut towards freedom and progress that continues to this day (Unfortunately we cannot be as certain about that statement given the events and attitudes of the past decade). The common spirit which embodies the American people and their dreams clearly shines through in the movie. Representing this dream is an unlikely combination of men; an ardent businessman who is the eternal optimist, a cast away but spirited trainer who nonetheless has a remarkable way with horses, and a smart alec, ambitious and intense jockey, with all the follies and hopes of youth. All three are facing the cruel ways of the depression. The businessman has lost a child and has been through a divorce, and is struggling to achieve his pre depression eminence and status. He meets a woman, in every way his equal, who will support him through every time. Having risen from rags to riches, he is the perfect example of the American ideal, honest yet ambitious, having great strength of character, yet warm, and most importantly, blissfully optimistic about the future. And that's exactly where the finishing line is for him-at the future. An extremely talented salesman, he is looking forward to have something to live for. Opportunity comes in the form of an aged, quiet, and extremely sincere horse trainer, who has a private and warm relationship with horses. The third character in the drama is a jockey who is struggling to make ends meet. A fierce ambition and Dickens's works keep him alive and well. Together, these three 'can-do' Americans find a horse, a lazy creature who nonetheless captures the attention of all three. They train him, plod him and finally lead him to victory. But that is as far as it can be trivialised.
    The story of the horse is the story of the American people. This is demonstrated most convincingly in the publicity interviews which the businessman is extremely fond of giving. Slowly but surely, the horse is winning his way to success. He has to compete against the best bred animals in the country. He loses some, he wins some. In speaking to the reporters, who in those days were hungry for any heartening news to take the public's mind off the economic crisis, he constantly extols the virtues of not giving up. 'You lose some, and you win some. Sometimes, you fall down. But then you either pack up and go home, or you stay put and fight', he says. The reporters nod their head vigorously. That is what strikes a chord in the mind of every American in that time. 'Stay put!' That's exactly what Americans did in the 20s and 30s. And that is exactly what enabled that country to become the citadel of democracy during the dark ages that followed. It is all too easy for critics to attribute America's success to resources and money. But if it had not been for the unity and sense of a common way of life that millions of Americans shared, and the nitty gritty that they put into achieving it, all that would have come to naught. It is a tribute to the can-do spirit of the 'Yankees'. And Seabiscuit was one type of an epitome of that spirit. He did inspire a nation in a subtle but archetypal way, and it worked.

    As for the performances, I have seldom seen such fine performances in which the actors really walk around in the skin of the characters. It's hard to say who among the three was better: Jeff Bridges as the good businessman with a gleam in his eye, always looking towards the future, Chris Cooper as the laid back looking but resolute horse trainer (his bearing is amazing), or Toby Maguire as the headstrong and single minded young jockey. I would say that each one of them deserved an Oscar nomination. The recreation of the period is charming, and the musical score by Randy Newman is perfect and nostalgic.

    One of the allegiations I have heard about this movie is that it's predictable. But then so was the story about the prince, princess and the demon which my mother told me as a child. That fact diminished neither the virtue nor the value of the story. And in this case, the story is true. The fact that it's predictable does not mar it's inspirational character one bit. Also, it obviously looks predictable in retrospect! The three central characters hardly knew what their and their horse's fate was going to be. And a disturbed nation hardly knew what tidings the future would bring for her. But the horse and the nation, both persevered, and, at least for the most part, became a model of democracy for the rest of the world in a century that had almost brought it to an end through conflict....more info
  • This movie will own your heart!
    Seabiscuit will draw you in and keep you captivated throughout the movie. Jeff Bridges is wonderful in this movie. The tragedies in this movie are heartbreaking, but the survival is amazing.

    A must own movie to watch again and again...

    Merna

    Pocket of Pearls: A 30-day pocket workbook to start hearing a softer voice inside of you!...more info
  • Bet on Seabiscuit to Show, but Not to Win
    It's not a story about a race horse, it's about how three people and one horse overcame pain and adversity to triumph. Seabiscuit was something of a phenomenon, sort of like an equine Lindbergh, that captivated the American consciousness in the late 1930's and early 40's.
    He was the underdog, at a time when many Americans felt like underdogs. The analogy of the underdog horse taking on the plutocratic establishment plays right into the storyline of Americans lead by St. Roosevelt, the Beneficent, guiding the People to the Promised Land.
    The treatment was ham-fisted and I was disappointed in the movie. They did a poor job of conveying l'aire du temps. For the most part the characters come across as wooden, two dimensional figures. Mr. Bridges does a workmanlike job as Mr. Howard, Seabiscuit's owner.
    The filming of the race scenes was brilliant, a technical success. I still don't believe two jockeys could carry on a conversation astride horses in the middle of a pack at full gallop, that's the fault of the director, a horrible imposition on the viewer (unless the viewer is a child or a complete idiot.)
    This defect points out the problem with this movie. The director and writers have absolutely no respect for audience's intelligence. They throw in implausible devices like jockeys having a conversation because they are lazy and they have utterly no respect for the audience. The depression era black and whites are of a piece with this. It's a blunt instrument, they beat us over the head with propaganda, rather then weaving it seamlessly into the story.
    This movie is the opposite of its theme. They had great material, and could have made a winner. Instead they take third place money.


    ...more info
  • A rare family film which looks great in HD
    I just ordered this disc in HD DVD after reading rave reviews of its visual and sonic quality in HiDef Digest. The movie itself I've seen once in the theater and its one of those few family gems that everyone can enjoy. Director Gary Ross(Pleasantville)achieves the right amount of tone to this Depression era tale of a horse who is rescued from the slaughter house and becomes a champion. A steller cast including Tobey Mcguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and an hilarious William H. Macy as a radio reporter add luster to this tale which is even better than the 1947 version with Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. Also the price on HD DVD at a little over $4 is a bargain when you consider that in Blu-ray this disc is over $20!!...more info
  • Not just a horse tale, but a timely message for today
    I was struck by how this 2003 film resonates in 2009's economic meltdown for this is a story of The Great Depression's major media obession: the racehorse who beat the odds and made a big comeback. The story took peoples' minds off hard times back in 1938, and the well-done movie is capable of a similar, though much shorter-lasting, feat today. Jeff Bridges is great. There are many twists and turns in this movie. It's not just a horse racing yarn. Do catch this....more info
  • A racetrack Rocky
    This movie is based on a true story-and an incredible one at that .It tells how an undersized ,often reluctant horse become a major prizewinner by outracing stallions who in physical appearance made him look like an undersized donkey .Its a classic story of the underdog overcoming all odds and triumphing and its all the more heartwarming by virtue of the setting -depression era America when peoples needed all the hope they could get .
    Yet there is more to this movie than simple histrionics and emotional rabble rousing .The race scenes are ,to be sure ,exhilirating ,but the movie all never loses sight of the human dimension .The movie takes time to explore the trio of very different people who combined to turn the unpromising nag into a champion .There's the automobile entrepreneur , Charles Howard ( Jeff Bridges)providing the cash and training facilities ,the ovesized prizefighting jockey who races despite severe visual impairment ( Tobey Maguire),and the trainer -healer of the horse ,Tom Smith ( Chris Cooper)who believes the animal has enough iron in his soul to overcome all obstacles and become a winner .Together they are a family ;sharing screen time with the horse they make Seabiscuit a movie about friendship and family ;about love and loss and redemption ;about belief putting doubt to the sword .
    Brilliantly acted by all parties -with a special mention for William Macy as a racing commentator- and ravishingly photographed this is a winning movie thoroughly deserving of its financial success and Oscar nominations .The tension is adriot;ly built as the movie movie towards its climax -the race between Seabiscuit and the triple Crow winning colossus from the East ,"War Admiral "We are put right in the thick of the action ,so close we almlost smell the sweat and turf .
    Part sports movie ,part historical epic ,part allegory and part family movie this is all tension and edge of seat drama .
    It is perhaps a tad overlong and some will find it sentimental where I find it moving .
    I thoroughly enjoyed it and suspect most people will too ...more info
  • It's all heart.
    Seabiscuit is real storytelling and beautifully acted by Tobey Maguire. Seabiscuit is a film everyone should see. I was hesitant to watch this film but I am glad I did, I thought it would was gonna be corny but Seabiscuit is convincing and heartfelt from beginning to end. You'll be cheering along, defintely one of those films that tug at your heartstings. I highly recommend checking this Academy Award nominated film out. Enjoy!...more info
  • Great story, disappointing storytelling
    The most striking thing about this film is the fact that this is actually a real story. This makes you set high expectations. You want to feel what the characters feel, you want to be part of it. Then there is this "horse thing" about the film. People who love those animals will be blind to the shortcomings of this film.

    To me, this film is inspiring and disappointing at the same time. The cast is magnificent. The locations are spectacular. So are even the props. The race scenes look very real and very convincing (except for Seabiscuit's accident with the 2nd jockey, which is only hinted at, not actually shown). The film has all it takes to become a classic, and yet it won't, because it fails to live up to this unbelievable, touching true story.

    The main reason I think is this chaotic storytelling in about the first half of the film. The cuts are amateurish. It kills the story and the performance the cast may have delivered does not carry over to the film. I was quite disappointed with the director's explanations for this kind of storytelling. In the Extras he speaks about his way of doing things and it actually tells you everything. Fractured, even "disjointed" is actually a fitting word for his way of thinking on this film and the storytelling.

    Whoever else would have directed this film could have hardly delivered a worse performance. This is a magnificent story worthy of a magnificent film, not such a half-baked cut as is the case here.

    As long as there is no other film on this, I suggest you buy this one and see for yourself. The story will cheer you up.

    Or buy the book....more info
  • Real Horse, Real Life, Very Good
    Hollywood can make great movies. However, it seems in this era of special effects and superheroes that it is difficult to make a movie about characters or historical events that proves that people can be charmed by this type of movie. "Seabiscuit" is one such movie that succeeds in being excellent.

    "Seabiscuit" is the true story of an undersized horse with a lot of spirit who met with an oversized jockey with a lot of spirit and an owner with too little spirit and a horse trainer with a focused spirit. A lot of spirit for one movie, but in real life and in the movie, these people needed each other to be more than they were, and more than they could be. Indeed, the movie even states that maybe the entire country needed the story of Seabiscuit; maybe they did.

    The movie starts very slowly. We quickly meet the three characters who will be instrumental in forming Seabiscuit into a champion, fast forwarding through their life in combination with the events of the "Great Depression." I must admit that initially I had a hard time staying with the movie because of the semi-documentary style of the film and the pacing. However, bear with this portion of the movie because the character development is important to the second half of the movie.

    Once the characters come together, we also follow Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire in one of the best acted roles in which he has appeared) as he matures as a jockey and Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) as he returns from the void into which he fell when his son died. We also have an opportunity to appreciate the character of Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), whose life is about horses. These three remarkable people meet with an abused horse with an ability that only Tom Smith recognized.

    The movie follows Seabiscuit as he makes a name for himself and West Coast horse racing, eventually challenging the reigning champion of the day, War Admiral, a distant cousin.

    I am only able to give you the merest hint of the excellence of the cast. The people selected for their roles performed phenomenally well, and perhaps there should have been more Academy Award nominations for the cast. As it was, the movie had very difficult competition in the year of its release, overshadowed by "The Return of the King." One character who adds some lightness to this serious movie is William H. Macy as Tick Tock McGlaughlin, a radio announcer. Watching him create his own sound effects while keeping up a running spiel was fascinating and humorous.

    I tend to rate movies throughout as I watch them. This movie started with two stars. It slowly built to three stars. At the three quarter point I was up to four stars, and the finish of the movie, which I thought was excellent, allowed me to rate this movie at five stars. Therein lies my warning to the viewer; give this movie a chance. "Seabiscuit" is an excellent movie that deserves to be watched from beginning to end.

    ...more info
  • Nothing To Lose
    "Seabiscuit" is a wonderful film about character devolopment and overcoming great odds with spectacular results. During times of overwhelming negativity, "Seabiscuit" wins over your heart without guns drawn. A simple race horse inspires us all to believe in ourselves and keep on moving. We can all be winners of this game, if we don't give up the fight. ...more info
  • Very Good Movie; Book Even Better
    This is a very good movie. I realize that, but Laura Hillenbrand's book, from which this movie is taken, is hands-down the best sports book I have ever read. So, I eagerly anticipated the movie. I found out what so many other people discovered when their favorite book was made into a film: it can't live up to it. In fairness, no two-hour film can do justice to a good book.

    In this case, there were many things the jockey, owner and trainer went through that made the story so compelling, and they weren't in the movie. I won't detail them. Just read the book. But you can't appreciate what these men and that gutsy racehorse really accomplished just by the film. It only scratches the surface.

    Having said all that, I enjoy this film more and more with each viewing.
    The movie's strength was its beauty, just magnificently filmed. Man, this is a gorgeous film, from the first shot to the last. Director Gary Ross and Director Of Photography John Schwartzman put a lot of loving care into this film and it shows. The actors were fine, too. No complaints there.

    I'm anxious to see this on Blu-Ray, which is scheduled to be released at the end of May, 2009....more info
  • That Took the Biscuit
    The producers of "Seabiscuit" presented a social message in their film: in the difficult Depression years those who were optimistic and overcame adversity were exemplary and emblematic of the American spirit. People needed some underdogs to cheer for.
    Seabiscuit or as he was affectionately called the Biscuit captured the hearts of the American public because of his come-from behind spunk.
    Seabiscuit doesn't enter the movie until the movie has told of the lives of three men vital to the horse's story. The entrepreneur car dealer Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) is the man who put the Seabiscuit franchise together, but owning a horse was almost an afterthought to him. The movie traces the early, hardscrabble years of horse trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and the hardluck journey of a Shakespeare-quoting boxer cum jockey Red Pollard (Toby Maguire).
    Howard chose Smith to seek out the right horse. Once they had found Seabiscuit, Toby Maguire comes along as the down-at-the-heels jockey who energizes the horse. Both horse and a jockey had a string of bad breaks.
    At first the horse was cantankerous and difficult to train. Seabiscuit did not have a constant string of victories. He lost the Santa Anita Handicap twice. Howard and Smith became leery about Red when he seemed to pull the horse up in one race, but they forgave him when they learned the truth.
    Throughout the later stages of the picture Howard was trying to get the owner of triple-crown winner War Admiral to enter his horse in a match-race between the Biscuit and the Admiral.
    When the famous race is finally set, Red is unable to ride the Biscuit because his leg gets shattered. Later in another race when Seabiscuit's leg is injured, the two cripples rehabilitate each other.
    William H. Macy has a clownish part as a radio sportscaster who is there to chronicle various stages in the horse's career, but it's a part that isn't an asset to the story. The producers chose not to have the calling of the races by the legendary Clem McCarthy nor did they use any actual newsreel footage. Some of the racing scenes seem phony especially when one sees the jockeys in a race talking in what seems an unnatural manner.
    The acting is first-rate, most of the racing footage is well-done, and the story is told in the grand manner. At times, it's a tear-jerker, but the tears are for a good cause.
    ...more info
  • Loved this film but know others who did not
    This is a wonderful film. It's a story about a race horse who should not have won, ridden by a jockey who should not have won, owned by a man who pulls himself out of grief by his devotion to the horse, the jockey, the trainer, and a second wife.

    The story starts with a man (Jeff Bridges) who moves to California and opens a bicycle shop. He is failing until he switches from bicycles to automobiles. He becomes a millionaire selling automobiles. He buys a ranch and uses the barn to store his car collection. After his son is killed in an auto accident, the cars are removed from the barn and taken away. His first wife never recovers from the death of their son, blames her husband, and leaves him.

    He meets a young beautiful woman who becomes his second wife. His wife loves horse racing. He decides to buy a horse. He searches for just the right trainer to pick out a horse for him. He finds the trainer, a taciturn man living by himself, camping in the wilderness. The trainer sees Seabiscuit on a track and tells the millionaire to buy him. He sees a certain spirit in the horse who has been mistreated all his life. There's a certain irony that a man who made his millions selling cars which replaced horses should buy and become devoted to a horse.

    Tobey Maguire's character was given away as a child to a horse trainer by his parents (virtually abandoned). He loves horses. For a time, he gets to race as a jockey but as he grows up he becomes too large to be a jockey and starves himself to keep his weight down. By the time he is hired by the millionaire to be the jockey for Seabiscuit, he is a broken down has-been jockey.

    Both the jockey and the horse have to be retrained out of the self-destuctive habits of a lifetime. Together, they become winners.

    All of the major characters associated with the horse Seabiscuit have suffered. They come together as a family of choice rather than one of blood and it is through their association with Seabiscuit and each other that they are each healed.

    Some people will not love this film for various reasons. Let me tell you about two.

    My parents grew up during the great depression. They have told me many stories about their life back then. For me, this movie made that period come alive, made me understand how bleak the depression was, the desperation that many people faced.

    It gave me a better understanding of why my parents are they way they are, how they were shaped by the times they lived through as children and teenagers. But I think that is the reason my mother had difficulty watching this film. Its depiction of the great depression was too real. It reopened the wounds that had scarred over from the suffering my mother experienced during the depression.

    My husband was lukewarm about this film too. Perhaps it is because his grandparents and parents were part of the middle class during the depression so there is no family narrative about suffering during the great depression. Also, my husband's attitude toward life is to pretend that nothing bad ever happens in the real world -- he would rather not face up to the less pleasant sides of reality. He does not mind watching violent movies with lots of gore and death because they are phony and not reality. I think this movie was too much unpleasant reality for him, something he'd rather pretend did not and does not exist....more info
  • A heartfelt approach to American dream...
    Adapted from the novel with the same title, Seabiscuit is a movie dealing with soul searching, ventures, and hopes in life. Not only is it another movie promoting courage and human tenacity, the historical setting of the Great Depression vitalizes the three male protagonists whose destinies were linked by coincidence.

    Charles Howard, played by Jeff Bridges, was a successful entrepreneur who hit the goldmine with the automobiles he developed by chance. However, things went upside down when the Great Depression caused the collapse of his enterprise, his only son killed by his very own automobile, and his wife's subsequent leave. On the other hand, Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) was a veteran horse trainer who became underappreciated and isolated after the depression. Red Pollard, played by Tobey Maguire, was abandoned by his parents at young and struggled to support himself both on a horse race course and a boxing ring, ending up black and blue.

    The three miserable men met and stake their ambitions on horse racing. After tying the knots with his second wife, Howard returned to his aspiring self and decided to venture on horse racing. He later recruited Smith and together they found Seabiscuit, a small horse whom Smith believed to possess unlimited potential. Pollard happened to be the only person who could placate Seabiscuit's wild temper and consequently he became the jockey. Together Seabiscuit and Pollard conquered most competitors in a number of races. However, awful truths were revealed and later other accidents occurred, so they had much more to overcome...

    While the plot may be another clich¨¦ aimed to inspire people, the narration throughout the movie remains entertaining and the acting is superb. The little horse was expertly trained and really makes viewers believe that it has lived the story. In addition, the movie's 141-minute running time enables it to insert depth which prevents it from falling in the foul category of inane comedies.

    To stand up again after numerous times of stumbles is the key to American spirit, and this movie really epitomizes the refusal of conceding. Although such optimism appears unrealistic at times, it is what people like to believe. Thus, the movie is truly an excellent piece of wish fulfillment, showing that everything is possible....more info
  • Romanticized but nice...
    Great period costumes, great musical score, and who can ever resist the story of someone (or in this case, 3 someones and a some-horse) being down and out and coming back to triumph?

    Every member of the cast is steller. Tobey Maguire, my favorite, as Red Pollard (jockey), brings the perfect blend of bookish, literature-quoting, damaged vulnerability and angry street-wise smartmouth. William Macy, with that unique staccato delivery of his, cracked me up everytime he was on screen as the sound-effect happy announcer.

    I echo those reviewers who expressed the opinion that the movie starts out slowly and builds interest as it progresses; no matter, so did Star Wars.

    I enjoyed the extras of the dvd, all of which are interesting and relevant, including a bit of back history about Seabiscuit himself and another on making the film. (Tobey Maguire as Pollard was sometimes just sitting on a stepladder rather than a real horse in more than one shot!)

    One thing I have to say about this film: It piqued my interest enough to do a little research as to what became of everyone, the owner, trainer and jockey as well as the horse, after winning their ultimate. I was somewhat puzzled and disappointed as to why there was no footnote added to the film telling of their fates. Well, now I know why. After all that pulling together as a team, they all drifted apart. Red Pollard slid down the sucess ladder until the point where he was actually just hotwalking racehorses; Seabiscuit himself was put out to stud, but dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of 14, not even middle aged for a horse. I'm really happy those associated with the film chose to end it on such an upbeat and hopeful and positive note, even if it didn't accurately portray their fates. Full-on accuracy would never be so entertaining....more info
  • Reasonably clean
    I always take these All American Hero/Feel Good type movies with a grain of salt, but this one was pretty good. I was glad that it was made without a lot of swearing and with only one not-really-sex scene (not that there was any call for it, but it seems sometimes Hollywood puts it in where it isn't needed). Tobey Maguire manages not to be too irritating, non-actor/real jockey Gary Stevens plays his role just fine, and Chris Cooper is probably the only one who could have pulled off Tom Smith without making him either completely flat or a caricature.

    Yeah, it's idealized and the depiction of War Admiral is completely inaccurate (War Admiral was also a very small, unlikely-looking racehorse, not a 17-hand monster). What did we expect? It's not a documentary so don't watch it looking for historical accuracy. It's Hollywood; have fun even if it is fiction....more info
  • Subtle Elegance--Masterpiece. Great Cast!
    Seabiscuit

    1-liner: The lives of three men intersect as they take a huge chance on a broken horse, destined for victory, fated to fix all of them.

    The nature of the film can be summed up by one phrase: you win some, and you lose some--and yes, bathos and tears are mandatory. It starts in the decades before the Great Crash to precede the 1930s, when one could go from 21 cents to riches. Everyone seems to be winning. Charles Howard goes from rags to riches, the Pollard family is affluent and is blessed with well-educated children, the farrier Tom Smith still has free land and wild horses to run with. The onslaught of the 1930s changes things for everyone, stealing the precious.

    Charles Howard is shown working at a factory as a manual laborer fixing spokes, and then he decides to start his own bike shop. The film shows his first encountering of an automobile, his realization that it's cars that's the future. He becomes a star salesperson and eventually the owner (or one in charge of lay-off's) of Buick. He wrestles happily with his baby son, as his wife reads the latest Buick press release in the paper.

    Mr. and Mrs. Pollard, Red Pollard's parents, are shown admiring their son on a horse. "He looks so perfect on it--that's the poetry of it," Mr. Pollard epithets his son while he rides. They are reasonably affluent and their children are well-educated, quoting Dickinson off memory.

    Tom Smith, the farrier, rides in the vast open space, unclaimed land, and rounds up the fastest wild horse. He has it in him to tame a crazy horse. A horse, which anyone else would have given up on and shot.

    The Great Crash comes along, and the narrator admits that the suicides are myths history would later spin up. The effects are gradual, and they take hold differently for all, but there is a common element to each tragedy. Howard's son dies in a freak accident, which his wife blames him for. The Pollards decide it is better to leave their son -- Red Pollard -- to a man affiliated with the local racetracks. The boy is sixteen.

    Six years later, Red races. However, he is fouled--distracted by the cheating racer who attempts to push him off the horse--and he loses on his sponsor's best horse. He loses his job and ego, and he becomes a drifter, like the millions of others.

    The farrier Tom Smith is seen to be a crazy man who puts hope and care on crazy horses.

    Charles' wife has abandoned him, and he goes to TJ--at the time, the only place where alcohol and gambling are allowed.

    The three men are lost. But, losing always comes with winning.

    Charles meets Tom, and he decides to invest in him as a farrier--despite his age and crazy reputation according to the other farriers. Charles asks Tom why he puts in so much care into the wounded white horse with the fractured leg he had saved from the bullet. Tom claims although the horse can't race, he's good for other things. "You don't throw a whole life away, just because he's banged up a little."

    Thus goes the prevalent motif in the story - that of second chances.

    Charles hires Tom to find a good race horse for him to invest in. Seabiscuit just happens to trot by, as Red takes on the cheapest paying lowest job ever, warming-up the horse. Tom sees it in his eyes, the spirit of the horse--he claims the secret to a winning horse isn't in his heart, but that it is in-grained in its soul.

    Seabiscuit, however, is a horse no one wants. Although he comes from good breeding, he is too gentle, too small. The odds are against him. Moreover, the trainers who took him broke him, using him as a losing horse to train the other horse ego. When Tom finds him, Seabiscuit is something of a crazy horse, taking several men just to partially handle him. Tom knows that there is winning engraved in that horse's destiny, but he just had to find the man to settle him.

    Beautiful deux ex machina: Meanwhile, across the street, Red just happens to be involved in a brawl--the parallel between Seabiscuit attempting to take on a whole team of farriers and Red attempting to take on a whole gang of antagonists is elegantly portrayed.

    The boy and his horse--they win against all odds. A rider who is half blind and a horse abandoned. The common background shared by both boy and horse is subtle, but tear-rendingly elegant--both come from prided heritage, yet they are separated from their family (cute young Seabiscuit shown wrenched from his father), forced into the real world far too young, and then shattered and lost by the slings of life.

    The second chance given and accepted. Seabiscuit and Red's victories are shown in conjunction with FDR's New Deal, how it up'ed the low of many men.

    The film starts out as if a documentary with b/w photos; the "documentary feel" is interlaced throughout the story. While this may seem to distance the viewer, the scenes carrying the plot of the story are strikingly real, amazingly, tearfully heartful--such that one feels as if one is "living history." This effect is flaunted when a b/w photo is made real into a motion scene, the b/w fading into color gradually.

    Casting: probably the most perfect cast ever. Charles looks kind of like the dopey sort of guy who would get lucky by his sheer faith in people--the way his mouth always does that. Tom looks old, yet haggard and wise and very sane, despite what the other farriers see of him prior to this discovery by Charles. And, Red... he just has to be Peter Parker--or Peter just has to be Red.

    (I was actually a bit fazed the first time I watched it through, the screen was a bit blurry, and I actually thought that both fathers and the farrier were the same man--thus, I was a bit confused for a while. However, after re-watching the beginning, things made much more sense..)...more info
  • Deja Vu or my pocket aches but my spirit is strong
    I imagine the writers of this movie sitting around, with their itchy pockets, trying to come up with a cliche collage, that comes through as clever this days in Hollywood. Alongside with their copy of : "make big bucks writing A- class drama:use ackward couplings to lure them into your pocket!" .The chosen formula: simile between historical event& the human struggle of X underdogs. Fill in the blanks: 1-Historical event>the great depression (big horse with economic broken leg due to big losses)2-Underdogs>A. a small fiesty horse who: breaks a leg.B.A small fiesty jockey who looses his parents and breaks a leg.C. A manager who looses his son/not break a leg.
    All legs and loses recuperate, at the end and succeed, and recover from poverty....more info
  • Evoking an Era
    I am fond of the era depicted in this film. I hope that does not mean I'm depressed...

    Seabiscuit's story is used as a metaphor for everything great about our country in that era. It is a good story, and told in a fun and engaging way.

    I would have given the film the 5 stars it really deserves if only the producers had been more attentive to period detail.

    The narrative has to hop around in time a little bit, which does the movie good service. However, it's disconcerting to look at 1939 cars in scenes title as 1931. This type of glitch took away just enough of my vast enjoyment of the film.

    Much to admire in the cinematography, too, although the close shots of the jockeys bobbing up and down are not very convincing....more info
  • I Dig A Pony
    Seabiscuit is an excellent movie for all ages.

    At first, I had my misgivings. Just another sappy, shallow, feel good story was what I thought that this was going to be. However, I was fortunate to at least have an open mind and watch.

    The acting is superb; even Tobey Maguire of Spider-Man fame was credible in his portrayal of the jockey, Red Pollard. Intermittently, the narration of the events surrounding Seabiscuit, the horse, and the popularity of horse racing during the 1930's was eloquently delivered by David McCullough, whose voice added flair to the historical accounts in Ken Burns' higly acclaimed documentary, The Civil War.

    Speaking of Ken Burns, had he completed a project that focused on Americam life during The Great Depression, then Seabiscuit might have been regarded as one of the excerpted docudramas but with the added detail and close examination necessary for a great drama in its own right.

    Though it did not receive an Academy Award for Best Picture of 2003, which went to the immortal classic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Seabiscuit, nevertheless, could pull in the reins to hold its own and come out as a Triple Crown of a theatrical release....more info
  • The best horse movie ever!
    I read Lauren Hillenbrand's SEABISCUIT before watching this movie, and the movie was done so well. There are some exceptions to detail that differ from the book but nothing major. It's a wonderful movie on the life of a special little horse! ...more info
  • Bad Movie
    This movie stinks. its about the people not the horse, and the horse only won 4 races. he is not a ''great race horse'' war admril is a great race horse. in real life seabiscuit was much taller. this is not a good movie....more info
  • EXCELLENT MOVIE/Guaranteed to shed a tear!!!
    Definitely a wonderful movie, Seabiscuit, brings to the screen the story of four unlikely heroes who are down on their luck: a businessman/horse owner, a horse jockey, a horse trainer, and finally the horse itself. Thanks to each other, however, they overcome life's difficulties and prevail. The movie is set during the Great Depression of the 1930's and it is about pain and suffering, hope and second chances, but most importantly about how courage, trust, and inner strength, can lead out of situations, which might seem bleak or desperate at first glance. A great movie indeed, full of symbolism, which will surely bring tears to one's eyes! Needless to say, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and the rest of the cast have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least!...more info
  • Seabiscuit
    Very inspirational movie. It shows how close a person and an animal can relate to each other. You can see the true beauty and strength of a racehorse. It give a lesson on never giving up, and how you do need others to help at times....more info
  • Seabiscuit on HD-DVD is now the best movie I've ever seen
    I saw the last half hour of Seabiscuit on television - enough to know I had to buy the DVD, which I loved. Recently I bought a new condition Toshiba HD-DVD player, as much for it's value in upscaling DVD's as for playing some of my brother's HD-DVD's. I then decided to import ten of my favourite films on HD-DVD from Amazon - most were at ridiculously low prices. "Seabiscuit" is simply magnificent in HD-DVD. There's absolutely everything to like about this film, and with each viewing I am more impressed. In fact I can't think of any reason to rate any of the thousands of films which I like and respect higher than Seabiscuit.

    Tobey Maguire's flawless acting is probably one of the main keys to its success - and as one of the executive producers he deserves to be exceedingly proud.

    HD-DVD's slogan "the look and sound of perfect" is proven true in this disc.

    ...more info
  • Not just another horse racing movie
    This movie was one of five that we selected as a bonus for buying a new HD-DVD player. Thinking that it was just another race track circuit movie, it was the last one to be viewed. Wow, blew us away!

    The movie begins at the turn of the 20th Century and illustrates the impact of the industrial revolution visa vie the development of the automobile and assembly line production, into the great depression and up to the early 1940's.

    The three main characters are developed and come together and we quickly bond with each of them. The story of Seabiscuit the horse could easily have been called "Cinderella Horse". The movie will take you through the full gamut of emotions with several edge of your seat sequences.

    This is the best movie that I have seen for some time and found myself going to sleep thinking about it and waking up thinking about it. The cinemaphotography is outstanding and the period vehicles are a treat. Don't miss this gem!
    ...more info
  • Worth buying
    It's Ken Burns meets Frank Capra in the inspirational true story of Seabiscuit, the little horse who could. This inspirational tale follows a half-blind ex-boxer (Tobey Maguire), a mustang breaker (Chris Cooper) and a millionaire (Jeff Bridges) as they bring their knobby-kneed, undersized racehorse, Seabiscuit (played by a herd of horses), to win Horse of the Year honors in 1938. But the movie is not just about a racer; the horse's personal story of triumph over tragedy mirrors that of the American nation in that era. Based upon the book by Laura Hillenbrand.

    A great companion for this DVD is the 2007 RuffRuffianian movie.

    Staci Layne Wilson
    ...more info
  • Seabiscuit
    It was my error...I ordered HD instead of DVD. But, it will make a good Christmas present. It was received promptly and in good condition....more info
  • great horse racing movie for the ages
    This is a classic and major award winner in many categories. Wonderful film about a jockey, a horse and it's owner. Even if a lot of it is fictional but based upon true accounts and a real horse name Seabiscuit, this is one to keep in the collection forever....more info
  • A few comments
    I just had a few brief comments on this film.

    I really enjoyed this film and was surprised at how good it was and how well it kept my interest, especially considering I don't know much about horse racing. I'm usually not too sentimental about films, but this one is truly a heartwarming story about a kindly, big-hearted tycoon who basically takes in three rejects and outcasts: the jockey (Toby McGuire), the old cowboy and horse-trainer (Chris Cooper), and Seabiscuit himself, and with his support and encouragement they overcome all odds to turn into a winning team and make Seabiscuit the most famous racehorse of all time. As Bridges says in one of his speeches to the press, "Our horse is too small, our jockey is too big, our trainer is too old, and I'm too dumb to know the difference," (which gets a big laugh from the crowd).

    One of the most touching scenes in the movie is when the jockey and Seabiscuit, both recently injured and thought too seriously to ever return to racing, are both shown limping around the estate's grounds together on their long road back to recovery.

    Also, it's nice to see Ned Beatty is still working. He has a brief cameo as the doctor who advises Jeff Bridges that McGuire shouldn't try to ride since if his injured leg breaks again, he could be permanently crippled and never walk again.

    I read part of the book before seeing the movie, and there was one fascinating fact there I wanted to mention. The year Seabiscuit was winning all his races he had more mentions in the paper than the president himself--a truly amazing fact and another testamonial to how famous he became. The story of Seabiscuit captured the imagination of a depression-weary America with its tale of an unlikely underdog who eventually defeats the legendary War Admiral to become the champ.

    I also recall some years ago the Associated Press and ESPN did a 100 greatest athletes of the last century, and Seabiscuit was listed right along with Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and other famous names....more info
  • Horse Dung
    If you're into American Idol, if you like Nicholas Sparks books, and if you're excited about Lindsay Lohan's new album, this movie is totally for you. If, however, you have read a book or grown up outside of a cave, you will thoroughly detest this awful, awful movie. Seeing how many positive, glowing reviews this horrific movie received is sincerely scary. No wonder so many modern movies are terrible if this movie is apparently so well liked. ...more info
  • Seabiscuit
    Seabiscuit (Widescreen Edition)A touching. life affirming story of a broken horse and 4 broken people who heal each other. There are tears, there is laughter , and there is action. A movie for the whole family ...more info
  • It's a win-win
    Man this movie was good! I love inspirational true stories that have a huge impact on other lives. Seabiscuit is definately what the doctor ordered.
    My Uncle owns a few race horses (my Grandmother as well before she died) and they often took me along for the ride at the Santa Anita race track where I saw George Wolf's and Seabiscuit's statues. I started going when I was 10 and remember them telling the story about Seabiscuit.
    This movie (to me) has got to be one of the best I've seen. It has everything you want if you need that uplifting inspirational topic. Go ahead and get it because this is worth the buy 10 times over. ...more info
  • WOW, terrific HD video !
    I am a sucker for this type of movie and the HD presentation captures EVERYTHING in wonderful detail...moreso than the regular DVD presentation which was a pretty good looking DVD on its own. But this edition brings out all the finer details such as the manes blowing in the wind, the clothing fabrics, facial skin features...I could go on, but you get the idea. It tops all other video presentations of this fine movie...definitely the version to get if you own a HD-DVD machine. ...more info
  • Very Good Movie; Book Even Better
    This is a very good movie. I realize that, but Laura Hillenbrand's book, from which this movie is taken, is hands-down the best sports book I have ever read. So, I eagerly anticipated the movie. I found out what so many other people discovered when their favorite book was made into a film: it can't live up to it. In fairness, no two-hour film can do justice to a good book.

    In this case, there were many things the jockey, owner and trainer went through that made the story so compelling, and they weren't in the movie. I won't detail them. Just read the book. But you can't appreciate what these men and that gutsy racehorse really accomplished just by the film. It only scratches the surface.

    Having said all that, I enjoy this film more and more with each viewing.
    The movie's strength was its beauty, just magnificently filmed. Man, this is a gorgeous film, from the first shot to the last. Director Gary Ross and Director Of Photography John Schwartzman put a lot of loving care into this film and it shows. The actors were fine, too. No complaints there.

    I'm anxious to see this on Blu-Ray, which is scheduled to be released at the end of May, 2009....more info
  • Great Family Movie
    My eight year old loves horses, and I had originally rented this movie for her. I wasn't completely sure she'd enjoy it, but she loved it so much we ended up purchasing the movie for her. Its really a heartwarming tale that the entire family will enjoy....more info
  • I Gave the book 5 Stars, and I liked this movie better than the book...
    Usually the book is better than the movie, but in the case of "Seabiscuit", the movie captured much better the enrgy and the exitement of this wonderful horse. Narration by David McCollough of the "American Experience" gave the movie a voice of historical authenticity. The colors, scenery, images, fantastic horse racing shots, and, of course, the depth of human (and equine) feeling; also made for a movie that kept me deeply entranced.

    This movie has a powerful message that transcends the history of horse racing and the Great Depression.

    ...Recommended for horse racing fans and also for those who never gave the sport a second thought. ...more info
  • The story of hopes and dreams
    Just simply uplifting, the story of four people, including the horse, who need a second chance and a Triple Crown win to tell them what they already believe: that they are lame, battered, but still afire with the divine spark.

    The era of ladies' hats, white gloves, a big American sense of possibility, and horse racing at its most exciting gets the full treatment here. No also-rans in this move; everyone's performance is perfect, particularly the ever-watchable William H. Macy as an ebullient radio announcer.

    This is the kind of movie we need. As author Joyce Spizer says, "I..ask those in Hollywood to write from their heads, and their heart, not from their breasts, dirty mouths, and dumbing down of our children. We need more 'Seabiscuit' films and less 'Porky's'." I agree.
    ...more info
  • Seabiscuit
    "The dvd arrived in a timely manner; it is in pristine condition consisting of two discs which include the movie and a supplemental disc which I had not realized was included. Very good value for the price. ...more info
  • AWESOME
    great movie
    very inspirational
    it's very touching at the end when both Seabiscuit and Red come through and win. ...more info
  • You don't throw away a whole life just 'cause he's banged up a little.
    This is a very delightful film that is suitable for the whole family. True story of course, and very well told. Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire and Chris Cooper give shining performances. The story covers a lot of ground and therefore can get a little hard to understand at times, especially the beginning of the film. Once the groundwork has been laid, it gets pretty easy and will hold your attention all the way through. I personally had a little difficulty with the beginning. Once "Seabiscuit" comes into the movie, everything begins to click. Extroidinary acting by Maguire and even more so the young man who plays a very young Red Pollard before Maguire takes over the role. Very good cinematography, lush landscape, great sound technology. The DVD offers some good extras as well. A great film about second chances. I highly recommend it....more info
  • One of my favorite movies of all time!
    This movie is a classic. Hope and faith are the key themes. All the roles were played splendidly. The storyline was excellent. If you love horses and/or thoroughbred racing, see this movie. If you don't care about horses or thoroughbred racing, see this movie anyway! 5 stars!

    I don't know how true to history this movie stayed but that didn't affect my rating of it. I look forward to researching the history of Seabiscuit and the other key characters portrayed in this movie. ...more info

 

 
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