Cautions: some language, and some emotional intensity
Black Beauty dramatizes the life of a fictional nineteenth-century horse, following the ordinary course of an animal’s life as he tastes both the country and the city, ease and hardship, kindness and cruelty. The ups and downs of human life are mingled with Black Beauty’s story as he passes from one owner to the next and recounts their adventures and misadventures as part of his own. Black Beauty is a quaint, pleasant story that makes a great family movie.
1994 | Caroline Thompson | 88 min Watch Trailer
Negatively-portrayed characters call people idiots or fools.
Some Emotional Intensity
There are a couple of scenes of peril to humans. Once, a man falls into a river during a storm, and once another man is dangerously ill.
A stable catches fire with animals inside, and a boy goes into the burning building twice to rescue the horses.
A drunken man rides Black Beauty at a dangerous gallop (at night, with somewhat intense music behind it). Black Beauty stumbles and falls, and the man is thrown.
One horse is briefly seen dead. A horse becomes very sick and feverish, and is thought to be about to die. Horses are seen in various stages of overwork and starvation, although their appearance is not especially graphic. A man makes a comment about mistreated horses having nothing left for them but the butcher’s knife.
The story is told from a horse’s perspective, and some of his statements reflect (probably intentionally) a view that would be irrational for a human. For instance, Black Beauty asks rhetorically how you can understand something if you’ve never heard or smelled it? Also, his understanding of whips is that they are bad,1 and he considers himself a victim of wickedness when his owners put a wooden brace around his neck so that he can’t lick his wounds.
Two little girls say that they “hate” their obnoxious older brother.2
Black Beauty says that, for animals, the sort of people they end up with in their lives is “all chance.” The word “luck” is used a couple of times, in reference to positive circumstances. The word “magic” is used figuratively twice.
A boy who loves Black Beauty swears to him that he will find him again one day—a promise he does not have the power in himself to keep.
One man laughs when a horse stomps on another man’s foot.
In what would be a very foolish relationship for a human, Black Beauty is strongly attracted to a female horse he admits is mean-spirited and vicious, simply because she is beautiful.
In very difficult times, Black Beauty resorts to brief escapism, imagining himself back in his happier youth.
Black Beauty’s caretaker once calls him “son” as a term of endearment.
A “vicar” is briefly mentioned.
A few men are seen drunk, but they are portrayed very negatively, and their drunkenness is shown to have serious negative consequences for themselves and others.
1 See Proverbs 26:3. Whips are only bad when used unnecessarily.
2 See 1 John 2:9.