A sandstorm of epic proportions. A swarm of locusts so massive it obliterates the relentless sun. Deadly traps that defy imagination. These are just a few of the astonishing obstacles Frank T. Hopkins, the greatest long-di... more »stance racer ever, faces in the rousing action-adventure HIDALGO. Based on a true story and starring Viggo Mortensen (THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy), Hopkins (Mortensen) and his mustang Hidalgo enter the ultimate extreme sport of its time -- the Ocean Of Fire. Underdogs challenging the finest Arabian horses and riders, they must not only survive the grueling race across 3,000 miles of the Arabian Desert?s punishing terrain, but they must thwart the evil plots of competitors who vow victory at all costs! A great story of personal triumph, amazing special effects, and memorable characters make HIDALGO one of the most thrilling adventures ever.« less
Deborah W. from CONROE, TX Reviewed on 7/17/2016...
This is a great family movie, but be aware that there is some violence. A massacre occurs at the beginning of the film, and the main character becomes an alcoholic because of it - neither scenes would be appropriate for young children; however, there is no foul language and no bedroom scenes. Viggo Mortensen and Omar Sharif are outstanding, as always. This film contains everything a good movie should: excitement, suspense, romance, a smart animal, some great scenery, villains, and an honorable (after he sobers up) hero.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Teresa D. from TORRINGTON, CT Reviewed on 8/7/2012...
I have always liked this film.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Janice Z. from WESTMONT, IL Reviewed on 5/18/2010...
We LOVE this movie! The plot, actors, scenery, clean language and no sex or drugs...it has it all!!
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Octavio F. (Octavio) from SEATTLE, WA Reviewed on 9/16/2009...
Amazing story and wonderfully played by all actors. It's a refreshing movie with a little bit of everything for everybody, highly recommended.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
LM C. (missinyankees) from LEBANON, OH Reviewed on 8/11/2009...
This is a great movie to add to a family-friendly library.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jean M. (geniedawn) from TUJUNGA, CA Reviewed on 3/8/2008...
Love this movie!! Viggo Mortensen is magnificent, the horses are both beautiful and smart. Plus it's a true life story of a real American hero, who was raised with the Sioux Indians. I read a discussion board where someone said they had seen the movie 15 times and still counting. I'm already up to 3 viewings. A must for anyone who loves Viggo Mortensen, horses and Native American culture.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Best Performance by an Animal Actor" Nominee
Bitcetc | Houston, TX USA | 02/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unless the Academy opens a new category for "best performance by an animal actor", you won't be hearing of this movie next Oscar season, but that's no reason to miss this movie now. Hidalgo, the horse, and Viggo Mortensen, as Frank T. Hopkins, completely won my heart as well as a place in "Great Couples of the Silver Screen", or at least as great partners in a buddy movie. This wonderful painted mustang plays the serious buddy, making his human tend to business in spite of other inclinations. It is a charming footnote to the movie that Mortensen was so taken with the horse that he bought it after the movie was completed.
Frank T. Hopkins may or may not have lived all the adventures he was famous for recounting, but it is verifiably true that he was instrumental in saving the wild mustang from extermination in North America. For that he is a hero.
This movie version of the 3000 mile race Hidalgo and Hopkins were said to have run across the Arabian desert to keep their title as "greatest long distance race runner" is an old-fashioned popcorn-movie-as-entertainment movie. It should also help the theaters sell quite a bit of bottled water and soda. The film's weaknesses are mostly attributable to the script. The writing (credit is to John Fusco, not-quite-known for writing the screenplay for SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON--- an AHA!! moment here) could have been tighter, and left needless plot holes. Also annoying is a slight laxity in editing. However, the story itself is a dramatic one, and the movie is fun to watch. The cinematography does well by the story and the locale.
Omar Sharif, once again as a sheik, comfortable to the core in his role, is a delight. Viggo Mortensen is good to look at, obviously, but made me realize how difficult "laconic" is to play. He manages. Just. Louise Lombard, playing the English seductress Lady Anne, who continually raises her stakes in the race, has the most compelling eyes of any actress I can recall. The original music by James Newton Howard is also well done."The Last Samurai" opened on a similar note: Army orders cause a murderous slaughter of Native Americans for which the protagonist feels responsible, explaining his taking refuge in alcohol. Both protagonists have cynical reasons for leaving America, but some prospect of finding their souls again in a very foreign land, a completely unfamiliar culture. "The Last Samurai" has what this film lacks: a psychological examination of the hero's journey. Both films' protagonists and heroines form a prohibited bond, Samurai's developing naturally, this one seemingly more contrived and less deep. But whereas "The Last Samurai" is a war movie, this film ends as "Seabiscuit": a very exciting horse race.Our audience was completely involved, groaning, cheering, sweating it out for the heroes, the heroine, and even, occasionally, for the also-rans. It is a satisfying ride. B-"
"Hidalgo" Is Filled With High Excitement (4.5 OUT OF 5)
Sarah Schenkkan | Seattle, WA USA | 03/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the life story of Frank T. Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo, "Hidalgo", from director Joe Johnston, is a compelling, beautiful, and exciting film (even though it stretches its running time to 130 minutes) that interests every moviegoer with suspense, romance, and tales of comraderie.The year is 1890, and half-American, half-Souix Indian Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), is invited by an Arabic sheik to compete in "The Ocean of Fire", the most prestigious and dangerous long-distance race ever known to man. Usually reserved for the purest bred stallions and the wealthiest and best riders in the world, the 3,000 mile race across the Arabian Desert leaves half of its competetors dead from natural disaster, insanity, or the treachery of fellow riders. After witnessing a tragedy at Wounded Knee Creek, and falling out of his once-claimed title of the best rider in the West, Frank and Hidalgo jump at the opportunity, where they encounter danger in all forms, and must rely on their friendship and strength to pull off the impossible. Seeing as "Hidalgo" is Viggo Mortensen's first film in which he has been the only-billed star, he handles the pressure well as the quiet and conflicted Frank T. Hopkins. He plays the character with a brilliant subtlely, and gives him an air of understated intelligence and courage. With the right amount of emotion, Mortensen is the modern day Indiana Jones-like action hero; with sex appeal and gripping stunts. Although he lacks charisma in some instances, he is overall perfect and enjoyable in his role. The supporting cast is strong, with the highlights being Louise Lombard as Lady Anne Davenport and a small but memorable performance by Victor Talmadge as Rau Rasmussen. However strange this may sound, the horse Hidalgo gave one of, if not the best, performance in the movie. He made the relationship between himself and Frank heartbreaking and fufilling, and expressed emotions and conveyed certain thoughts across to the audience in simply a look. If there was ever an award for the best animal actor, I would personally award it to Hidalgo. One of the main highlights of Hidalgo is the beautiful sets and surrounding scenery. Rich in color, there are stunning shots of the Arabian desert, the plains of old America, and snowy forests and rivers, and just the people of each new environment, which make the story overall more enjoyable. The cinematography is jaw-dropping, as the perspectives, running shots of the races, and choice in angles and film speeds are spot on in nearly every scene. The music is also incorporated well, jerking emotions and suspense from the audience. Although I have heard the contrary, I was thoroughly satisfied with "Hidalgo" as a whole. I loved the way the relationship between Frank and Hidalgo was portrayed, the story was new and exciting, and I was moved, gripped by the suspense, and engrossed in the film from start to finish. Although it runs a little long, ends one too many times, and has some bad dialogue, it will ultimately satisfy moviegoers of most ages due to the content, draw, and overall look of the film."
A Horse Film With Lots Of Heart!
Jana L. Perskie | New York, NY USA | 11/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is a shame that many people have not read or heard what a terrific big screen adventure film "Hidalgo" is. Hopefully, now that it is out in DVD it will gain a wider audience. Anyway, a friend told me not to miss this flick, directed by Joe Johnston and starring Viggo Mortensen, and I am glad I followed his advice. Yes, the movie is flawed, but overall, if you like horses and cowboys, "Hidalgo" has a certain grace to it that makes it a treat to watch.
"Hidalgo" is the name of a legendary racehorse - not a purebred Arabian, Thoroughbred, or Andalusian, but a mixed breed of Arabian, Barb and Andalusian horses called Mustang. The Mustangs, or Paints, ran wild across the North American deserts and plains. Native Americans caught and tamed many of them and they proved to be much better, stronger and faster, than Calvary horses. "Hidalgo," a beautiful paint stallion, was owned by real life long-distance horse racer, and Pony Express courier, Frank T. Hopkins. Half Plains Indian and half Caucasian, Hopkins was a breed like his horse, and they had run and won many races together. He was a noble man, just and kind, who lived during a sad period - he witnessed the slaughter of his mother's people at Wounded Knee in 1890. Filled with grief and bitterness at the brutal murder of his family, Hopkins became a drunken drifter, hooking up with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Also featured in the traveling show was Hidalgo, who Hopkins claimed was the "world's greatest/fastest endurance race horse." One evening, after a performance, he was approached by the representative of very wealthy Saudi Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif). Hopkins and Hidalgo were challenged to compete in the world's most grueling long distance horse race, against the Sheikh's prize Arabian stallion and many other superb animals and experienced riders. "The Ocean of Fire" was a 3,000 mile long endurance race under the burning desert sun, across the brutal Arabian sands.
Hopkins accepted the challenge and took Hidalgo to the Middle East. He was the first infidel to be invited to participate in this race. The Arabs thought the presumption was ridiculous that a small, hybrid mustang could compete against their pure animals, with long and famous bloodlines. They wager that Hopkins and Hidalgo won't last 24 hours. The movie is about this race. And the rest is history.
There are some interesting minor characters like Sharif, the desert prince, his beautiful daughter, Zuleikha Robinson, (there's gotta be a girl, even in a horse film, right?), the competitors with their rivalries and friendships. But the real star is Hidalgo, (a gorgeous animal), with a good performance by Mortensen. And the desert scenery is beautifully filmed. Certainly worth the rental price. JANA"
What a Great Team!!
Bitcetc | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I say Viggo has down it again, after the LOTR Trilogy he is starring in this true story about Frank T. Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo in the race across the Aribian desert of the Ocean of Fire. It might be a suprise for some people since that he is known as Aragorn, who hardly gets a swollen eye. In Hidalgo, he gets injured or beaten up in the race. Viggo brings the determined character to life. The movie gives you a feeling of romance and bravery. To me, the movie's captured my heart. I think Viggo makes a great horse rider, and the director probaly caught that from the LOTR Trilogy. They made a great choice to choose Viggo for this role, he can make you feel that the character is real alive just as he did with Aragorn."
Classic film making on a grand scale. A truly epic film.
W. N. Stape | Bayonne, NJ USA | 08/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hidalgo is based upon a true story, so it's no wonder it's thrilling, truth being stranger than fiction and all. Although it's highly doubtful that everything in the movie actually happened, Frank Hopkins was indeed a real life cowboy, master horseman and rider and he did participate in the great Bedouin horse race of the Middle East known as the "Ocean of Fire" in the 1890's.
This wonderfully stylized and lovingly crafted film clocks in at over two hours, yet never bores and your interest should never waver. The international cast is terrific, led by Viggo Mortensen in a low-key, subtle performance which brings depth and a real sense of nobility to the notion of a "cowboy'. We've seen loads of silver screen gun slingers, bandits and marshals from icons like the swaggering John Wayne to the laconic Clint Eastwood, but with Viggo's Frank Hopkins, we may now be witness to one of the most balanced and interesting portrayals of an authentic cowpoke. And it's all the more interesting because Frank Hopkins isn't all cowboy - half of him is Native American. This internal duality and cultural division brings character shadings and a unique sense of perspective to Hopkins.
Balancing the tensions of Native Americans with the US Government of the time, the film explores Frank Hopkin's journey between two worlds - that of a half Native American with loyal ties to his tribe and his jobs as a pony express rider and performer in Wild Bill Hickcock's show, all while having to live in the White Man's world. When he's invited to participate in the Bedouin Race, Frank soon discovers there's a whole other world out there bound by similar dogmatic traditions, where women must hide their faces behind veils, much like he's chosen to hide his native ancestry to enable him to live an easier life.
Sweeping cinematography beautifully composes authentic locations and the stunt choreography infuses the race and the action set-ups with fun and authenticity. Viggo must have definitely "lived" horses for the film, irregardless of his prior expertise with them. He clearly is at the reigns of the horse most of the time and he's totally capable and always convincing. Hidalgo the horse may qualify for his own sequel or a TV series. This beautiful animal is more expressive than many human actors and it's just one of the many joys and reasons to give this film a chance. Apparently lost by audiences in it's initial theatrical release, Hidalgo should be discovered by every movie lover. "