7.2/10
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Equus (1977)

A psychiatrist attempts to uncover a troubled stable boy's disturbing obsession with horses.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Peter Shaffer (play), Peter Shaffer (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Martin Dysart
Peter Firth ... Alan Strang
Colin Blakely ... Frank Strang
Joan Plowright ... Dora Strang
Harry Andrews ... Harry Dalton
Eileen Atkins ... Hesther Saloman
Jenny Agutter ... Jill Mason
Kate Reid ... Margaret Dysart
John Wyman ... Horseman
Elva Mai Hoover ... Miss Raintree
Ken James Ken James ... Mr. Pearce
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Hospital Patient
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Storyline

Psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Richard Burton) investigates the savage blinding of six horses with a metal spike in a stable in Hampshire, England. The atrocity was committed by an unassuming seventeen-year-old stable boy named Alan Strang (Peter Firth), the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father and a genteel, religious mother. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy's demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own. Written by Serenleono <verax@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A moment of love becomes a crime of passion. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dora Strang's (Dame Joan Plowright's) tea service is called "Memory Lane" by Royal Albert Bone China. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Dysart is holding the "truth drug", he has his hand alternately open and closed around it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Martin Dysart: Afterward he says, they always embrace. The animal digs his sweaty brow into his cheek, and they stand in the dark for an hour, like a naked couple. And of all nonsensical things, I keep thinking about the horse, not the boy. The horse and what he might be trying to do. I keep seeing the huge head, kissing him with its chained mouth, nudging from the metal some desire absolutely irrelevant to fulfilling its bearing or propagating its own kind. What desire could this be? Not to stay...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mr. B's Lost Shorts (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Motor City
(uncredited)
Music by Nick Ingman
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

User Reviews

 
Striking and memorable drama
17 June 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Equus is based on a play by Peter Shaffer and focuses on a psychological investigation into a heinous crime committed by a young boy at a stable in Hampshire. The film handles themes that wont go down well with many audiences; there are clear bestiality scenes (made more shocking by the human participant's young age) and some very shocking violence directed towards animals; yet in spite of this, the film still managed to get nominated for a few Oscars, and that is testament to the great work put into it by the two central actors who do a brilliant job of bringing Peter Shaffer's story to life. The film begins with a description of the boy's crimes; in a fit of rage he blinded a group of horses inside a stable. Psychiatrist Martin Dysart hears the story and decides to take on the case. Through talking to the boy as well as his family and other people that knew him, the psychiatrist begins to build up a picture both of the boy's character and development, as well as the events leading up to the atrocious crimes that he went on to commit.

The interaction between the two central characters is the main focus of the film and this is also its central element. The film really needs two great actors to carry this off and it gets them in the form of Richard Burton and Peter Firth. Both of them fit into their characters very well and convince throughout; Firth especially as he has to act out some rather uncomfortable scenes. At 138 minutes, Equus seems like it might turn out to be a little bit too long, but it actually makes very good use of it's time, which flies by and the film doesn't become boring at all despite it's slow pace. I have not read the literature that this film is based on, but unfortunately I got the impression that some things were left out of this one as it feels like the film has some defining point to make; but one is never really made. The film also has holes regarding the reasoning behind the boy's strange development; the religious and sexual themes come through but certain things are left unexplained. It all boils down to a shocking conclusion that will shock and offend many viewers. However, despite some problems; Equus is still an excellent film and one well worth spending time on.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Equus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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