War Horse (2011) - Synopsis

From Dream Works Studios and director Steven Spielberg comes “War Horse,” an epic adventure for audiences of all ages, and an unforgettable odyssey of friendship, discovery and courage.

This sweeping tale of a young boy named Albert and his beloved farm horse Joey, takes place at the outbreak of WWI. Joey is sold to the British cavalry by Albert’s father and dispatched to the front lines, Joey begins an extraordinary journey against the backdrop of the Great War. Despite the obstacles he faces at every step of his journey, he touches and changes each life he encounters along the way. Albert, unable to forget his friend, leaves home for the battlefields of France to find his horse and bring him home.

First published as a novel in 1982, “War Horse” quickly became a family classic of love and loyalty, beloved by children and adults alike around the world. The story went on to be adapted into a triumphant, international theatrical hit – which is where Steven Spielberg first encountered it with a passionate reaction.

“I thought the story was absolutely fascinating, and I was simply transported,” the director recalls. “In my mind it was a very honest story, I saw it as a movie for families, the journey of a boy and a horse who were once so close, whose destinies drive them far apart. I hope this story will bring people together through this shared experience, its heart and its message can be felt in every country.”

As with many of Spielberg’s motion pictures, within the high adventure and grand scope is a moving story of human dimensions. “To me, this is a story about belief, hope and tenacity -- the tenacity of a boy and a horse driven by devotion.” he says.

Spielberg praised the beauty of the natural landscapes of Dartmoor: "I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming “War Horse” on Dartmoor. I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me."

For Spielberg, the opportunity to work cinematically with horses was an exhilarating experience, one that takes him into new territory. “The horses were an extraordinary experience for me, because several members of my family ride. I was really amazed at how expressive horses are and how much they can show what they’re feeling.”

“War Horse” opens in UK cinemas on January 13th 2012, Produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, “War Horse” stars Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch and Toby Kebbell. Lee Hall and Richard Curtis penned the screenplay based on the book by Michael Morpurgo and the recent stage play by Nick Stafford, produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain and directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliot.