War Horse Salute

War Horse Movie Screening

Five stars; thumbs up; must see; prepare to cry.  I was fortunate enough see the Washington, D.C., premier of the movie War Horse presented by the Maryland Jockey Club and the American Horse Council on December 15th.  I had wondered if the movie would live up to all the hype; it surpassed expectations.  See it on the big screen; don’t wait for the DVD, because it won’t be the same.

Although I absolutely loved the movie, I have some advice to moviegoers who have read the book:  leave the book at the door.  Some significant differences between the book and the movie exist.  For example, the book is told from the horse’s point of view, and the movie is not.  Some movie characters were more developed than they were in the book, while other well-developed book characters were almost non-existent in the movie.  I kept letting that bother me, when I should have just enjoyed the movie for what it was.  Both the book and the movie are outstanding; they are just different.

When I first heard about the War Horse story, I was immediately drawn to it.  My grandfather served in the trenches in the first World War as an American teenager and regaled us with stories as children that I wish I had listened to more carefully.
He spoke about the gas masks the horses wore to protect them, but never
once complained about his war injuries that left his eyes tearing
until the day he died.  Besides his physical ailment, I believe he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although he certainly never sought treatment for the same.

I’ve always wanted to know more about my grandfather’s wartime experiences, and the book and the movie delivered powerful messages about this era.   In Michael Morpurgo’s own words, the horse’s “story is written so that neither he nor those who knew him, nor the war they lived and died in, will be forgotten.”  I salute Michael Morpungo, the real life characters who told their stories to help him create the book, and the moviemakers for honoring our World War I history in these works of art.


  1. Thanks, Kari – I know what you mean. Definitely bring tissue, and remember that at least the movie theaters are dark! I hope you enjoy the movie (and book, if you so choose).

  2. I haven’t read the book, but I appreciate your telling people about the differences up front. I watched an interview with Spielberg and the crew, and that had me in tears. I’m almost afraid to watch this in public.