7.3/10
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34 user 6 critic

Phar Lap (1983)

The true story of an Australian racehorse that became a champion, with the help of a local stableboy.

Director:

Simon Wincer
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Burlinson ... Tommy Woodcock
Richard Morgan Richard Morgan ... 'Cashy' Martin
Robert Grubb ... William Nielsen
Simon Wells Simon Wells ... Newsboy
Kelvyn Worth Kelvyn Worth ... Newsboy
Justin Ridley Justin Ridley ... Newsboy
Martin Vaughan ... Harry Telford
Brian Granrott Brian Granrott ... Reporter
Celia De Burgh Celia De Burgh ... Vi Telford
Steven Bannister Steven Bannister ... Cappy Telford (Younger)
Richard Terrill Richard Terrill ... Cappy Telford (Older)
Ron Leibman ... Dave Davis
Ross O'Donovan Ross O'Donovan ... Strapper
Ashley Grenville Ashley Grenville ... Strapper
Les Foxcroft Les Foxcroft ... Brazier Man
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Storyline

Phar Lap, the legendary Australian racing horse, is as well-known today for his mysterious death as for his fabulous accomplishments in life. Beginning at the end, the film flashes back to the day that Phar Lap, despite his lack of pedigree, is purchased on impulse by trainer Harry Telford. Phar Lap loses his first races, but Telford's faith in the animal is unshakable. Suddenly the horse becomes a winner, thanks to the love and diligence of stableboy Tommy Woodcock. American-promoter Dave Davis arranges for Phar Lap to be entered in several top races, where his "long shot" status results in heavy losses for the professional gamblers. Just after winning an important race in Mexico, Phar Lap collapses and dies; though the film never comes out and says as much, it is assumed that the horse was "murdered" by the gambling interests. Written by Hal Erickson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He was the long shot...heard 'round the world. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Horse Called Phar Lap See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,878,404

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,878,404
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy Woodcock went on to become a horse trainer. One of his greatest success was Reckless, a horse which won the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane Cups and finished second in the Melbourne Cup in 1977. Tommy was respected for his training methods and his great love for horses. Tommy and his wife, Emma, had no children but their home was always open to the apprentices that Tommy trained. Tommy Woodcock trained horses until he was 78. He donated several of his personal mementoes of Phar Lap to the Museum of Victoria to go with the Museum's exhibit of Phar Lap's hide. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, in early 1928, Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford (Martin Vaughan) insists that the horse's name must contain seven letters, because the names of the last four Melbourne Cup winners had contained seven letters. In fact, only one of the previous four Melbourne Cup winners in the period in question, 1924-27, had seven letters in its name - Windbag, in 1925. The other winners in that period were Backwood (1924), Spearfelt (1926) and Trivalve (1927). Nor did the subsequent 1928 winner, Statesman, nor the 1929 winner, Nightmarch (to whom Phar Lap ran third), have seven letters in their names. See more »

Quotes

Harry Telford: I love the way you blokes keep calling him the wonder horse. You weren't calling him that when he was losing all his races at the start.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original release opens with Phar Lap's death, with the rest of the film told in flashback. For it's American release where the story of Phar Lap is less known, the opening was removed, making Phar Lap's unexpected death more dramatic. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Emerald City (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph A. Burke
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Brian Hannan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Phar Lap is a wonderful story!!
10 April 2006 | by lady_merrindaSee all my reviews

I have watched Phar Lap several times and it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it! It's a wonderful movie. I'm glad they finally put it on DVD!! I believe that Phar Lap was the worlds greatest race horse. There has never been another like him. It's a shame that he didn't get the chance to sire any babies. They would have been winners like him. I also think Tommy Woodcock was a great trainer! The actors, although unknown to most Americans, were very believable. You couldn't help but to fall in love with the wonderful little horse and I found myself rooting for him every time he raced. The movie will keep you enthralled and sitting on the edge of your seat.


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