Old Hollywood Horse-a-thon: Seven Favorite Classic Scenes with Horses

Seems like there’s a bunch of great blog-a-thon lately, and thanks to Jeff Flugel from The Stalking Moon for tipping me about this one. Page from My Love of Old Hollywood is hosting this fine Horse-a-thon, click on the image below to see all the participants.

When I first signed up to do this post, I was only going to do a Top Five, but turns out there are quite a few great classic scenes involving horses so I decided to expand it to seven. I’m going to stick with Old Hollywood [with one exception] for this purpose, though I might do a contemporary list somewhere down the line. Ok, here we go:

The Big Country – Learning to ride the Old Thunder

I absolutely love this Western and no doubt James McKay is the quintessential ‘quiet hero’ that Gregory Peck does so well. This scene speaks so much about his humility but also tenacity in trying to tame his fiance’s wild horse The Old Thunder. It’s amusing to see Peck constantly being thrown off the horse but it’s also a perfect way to show just what kind of a man McKay is.

Duel in The Sun – Taming a Stallion

Ok, I’ve just got to include another scene with Peck only because the character is so very different from one another. The unscrupulous, bad-to-the-bone Lewt is as far a way from James McKay as one can get, a total opposite in every sense of the word. This scene shows how Lewt impresses the subject of his lust, Pearl, when he skillfully tames a stallion. Peck seems to revel in playing a bad boy, a role he rarely play in his illustrious career. I don’t know if they used a stunt double in this scene or not but if they did, the editing was really good as it looked as if Peck himself tamed the stallion, which is quite a feat!

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the ChristThe Sheik’s “Children”

Ok, when it comes to Ben-Hur, people naturally think of the spectacular 11-minute chariot race. And naturally, for it is the most magnificent horse-related scenes ever conceived on film. But I’d like to highlight this more lighthearted but still awesome scene of the wealthy Sheik showing off his *children*, those magnificent Arabian horses! I LOVE Hugh Griffith’s performance, he won Best Supporting Actor in this film, and deservedly so.

Gone With the Wind – “Just like Pa…”

This heartbreaking scene isn’t so much about the pony, but the impact of riding one has on the already frail marriage of Rhett and Scarlett. Scarlett’s already lost her father in a horse riding accident, so it’s harrowing to hear her say ‘Just like Pa’ as Bonnie stubbornly runs off in her pony, displaying her headstrong trait at such a young age, just like her mother. I still get chills every time I watch this scene.

My Fair Lady – ‘Move Yer Bloomin’ Arse!’

Oh who could forget this delightfully funny scene! Eliza Doolittle at Ascot being her old unhinged-self, ahah. I saw this as a young girl and my mom had to point out the class system thing. To this day I always find this scene — and Eliza herself — so darn amusing!

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Chase

There’s really not a lot of buddy duos more awesome than Paul Newman + Robert Redford combo. Both are ridiculously good looking, talented and have great on-screen chemistry to boot! This movie happens to be the horse-a-thon’s host Page’s choice so obviously she’d concur that this is an epic chase scene from one of the best classic westerns ever made.

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The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers – Gandalf’s charge at sunrise

Now I choose to include this one as I do think The Lord of the Rings trilogy is already a modern classic. There are sooo many great scenes involving horses in this franchise that we could easily do a top ten horse scenes just from the three films alone. But this one I think stands as one of the most grandiose and memorable, both in scale and in its plot significance. Peter Jackson set up this majestic scene marvelously, starting with our beloved hero Gandalf appearing on his white horse as the sun rises, glowing like an angel with hair blowing in the wind, ready to saves the day! He and King Theoden’s nephew Eomer and his army arrived in battle at just the right moment. The scene of the massive army on horseback descending down as Saruman’s evil creatures are blinded by the rising sun is just brilliant war strategy which makes for an epic scene that never fails to amaze me.


Well, what do you think of these scenes? Do share your own favorite classic movie scenes with horses.

Wet Blog-a-thon: Ten Indelible Rain/Wet Scenes

Rain just makes everything so much more dramatic in movies… so when I saw this Wet Blog-a-thon open invitation at Andrew’s blog, I knew I just had to take part. Of course the first thing that came to mind is something romantic, which is what I did a couple of years ago with the Jane Austen’s beautiful rain scenes.

The power of rain isn’t just limited to the romantic sense of course, and in this poll by LOVEFILM earlier this year, action apparently won over romance. The brutal and beautifully-filmed Battle of Helm’s Deep scene in The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers was voted best rain scene and I must stay it’s one of the best scenes of the entire trilogy. You can view the very scene here. So this year, I’m going to list ten memorable and powerful rain/wet scenes used to great effect to signify everything from passion, tenderness, healing, vengeance, bravery, and defiance. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of course, just some I could think of at the top of my head today. So here we go:

Road to Perdition – Ambush in the rain

This atmospheric scene is sooo beautifully-filmed by Conrad L. Hall. It’s intense, brutal and incredibly poignant. The most heart-wrenching scene is when Paul Newman said to Tom Hanks character just before he entered the car… “I’m glad it was you” in his final surrender to an employee he loved as his own son.


Ben-Hur – Cleansing water from heaven

The redemptive quality of this film never fails to move me. On the eve of Christ’s crucifixion, as His body still hangs on the cross, Judah’s mother and sister were miraculously healed from their leprosy.


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The Guns of Navarone – Cliff climbing in the rain

One of the most intense action scenes in this movie involve a massive amount of water. They’re both filmed in the studio, but I thought the special effects were pretty good for the day and it signifies just what an impossible mission this team of six had to go through. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the exact scene I was referring to, but here’s a trailer of the film that shows a snippet of it:


Casino Royale – Shower Scene

Bond shows his tender side here as Vesper is traumatized by the brutal killing she unwittingly got involved in. There is nothing erotic or sexual in this scene, instead it packs an emotional wallop that makes Bond/Vesper relationship one of the best and most convincing romances in a Bond movie.


Titanic – Rose Dawson arrives in New York

This is apparently Nick’s favorite rain scene and I could see why. It’s a hopeful scene as Rose finally arrives in America, but more importantly, it signifies Rose’s defiance to her ‘fate’ and her undying love for lowly Jack Dawson.

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300 – “It does look like rain.”

I like the stylized way Zack Snyder shot this scene. The music is cool, a modern take of a war theme that captures the optimistic and euphoria the Spartans feels watching Xerxes’ army destroyed by the storm. It also has one of my favorite quotes from the movie: Only one among us keeps his Spartan reserve. Only he. Only our king. Gerry Butler’s Leonidas is at his at his most solemn and dignified.


Blade Runner – Tears in the rain

It’s no wonder this scene is always present in most people’s favorite rain scenes. It’s undoubtedly Rutger Hauer’s most famous scene that he’ll always be known for. I just realized recently that the scene was unscripted! According to Wiki, Hauer wrote the speech himself and when he’s done with that scene, the cast and crew actually applauded and some even cried. Isn’t that cool or what?


Shawshank Redemption – Taste of Freedom 

One of the best prison film ever and definitely one of those movies everyone must see. The taste of freedom has never looked so gut-wrenching than the moment Tim Robins’ Andy came out of the sewer pipe and feels the taste of rain water for the first time in 20 years. Powerful stuff.


The Truman Show – the curiously isolated rain shower

This scene is whimsical but also tremendously sad at the same time. Truman has been suspicious of his surrounding for a while, but nothing quite prepares him for what’s really been done to him. Truly one of Jim Carrey’s best work and one of my all time favorites.


V for Vendetta – Evey is reborn

Undoubtedly one of Natalie Portman’s bravura performances even before Black Swan, this is a pivotal scene involving her character Evey being liberated from the fear that’s controlling her. Whether or not one agrees with V’s radical method, it certainly makes for an intriguing piece of cinema. As she stands in the pouring rain with outstretched arms, the scene is intercut with scenes of ‘V’ himself escaping from the burned down prison of the totalitarian regime.



Well, these are just ten I can think of right now. What are some of your favorite wet/rainy movie scenes?