List of Classic Horse Movies of the 1940s

Horse Movies from the 1940'sOld classics of the 1940’s – ok, there is one from the 1930’s, but it’s 1939 & if we can find more from the 30’s we’ll create a list for them too.

Each one provides a brief description with links to their IMDB & where they can be purchased online. Enjoy!

Frontier Pony Express (1939)

Frontier Pony ExpressSet during the Civil War, this is the story of pony express riders who foil a plot to influence the outcome of the war. The villains are sending forged messages to troops on the west coast via pony express.

My Friend Flicka (1943)

My Friend FlickaBased on the book by Mary O’Hara, My Friend Flicka is about a troublesome boy named Ken who stays on the bad side of his father. As a lesson in responsibility his pop gives Ken a colt to teach the boy about life and love.

King of the Stallions (1942)

King of the StallionsA movie about a black stallion who has never been tamed. He runs off with some of his his heard and white settlers blame the native Americans for their loss. Two banished natives later win the stallion’s trust and end the debate.

National Velvet (1944)

National VelvetNational Velvet tells the story of a 14 year old girl named Velvet living in a coastal English village. Velvet manages to win an amazing horse in a raffle. Together they train for the Grand National where rides disguised as a boy.

Thunderhead son of Flicka (1945)

Thunderhead son of FlickaA sequel to My friend Flicka and young Roddy wants to train the wild son of his beloved Flicka. Once fully grown Thunderhead makes it clear that he belongs in the wild, so tearfully Roddy sets him free to follow his heart.

The Great Dan Patch (1949)

The Great Dan PatchA movie loosely based on the life of a trotting horse legend named Dan Patch. For his 11 year career Dan was undefeated on the track to the point that his only competition became his previous track records.

The Red Pony (1949)

The Red PonyBased on John Steinbeck’s tragic novel, The Red Pony tells the story of a young boy and his troubled family on a working ranch. The child is given a pony which teaches him about responsibility and loss in a very personal way.

More Horse Movies

118 Comments on “List of Classic Horse Movies of the 1940s

    1. Annie

      Also not listed..a Jimmy Boyd movie about thoroughbred racing Can’t remember the name …anyone ??????

    2. Betsy Koscher

      i am still looking for a movie I saw as a child, youngboy tries to keep a wild stallion from capture and eventually ride him into the sea.

      1. Keely

        The Black Stallion. I think Mickey Rooney (at an old age) was also in the movie as a horse trainer. The boy is on a ship that sinks. He and a horse survive and live on an island until he is found and rescued but he does not want to leave the horse. Maybe that’s where the horse in water image comes from.

    3. maple

      Can anyone out lthere remember an old movie where the horse and I think the other animal was a dog but any way they were murdered and return to earth as humans also as P.I to fine out who killed them. I also remember that the horse was a female…. And in one scene she ran so fast to catch the bus that had left her….the male PI who was a dog would sack on dry dog food…. if U have any idea what this movie is name please contact me @ maplej31@yahoo,Thank U in advance

  1. Debs

    Just a few more that I have in my collection.
    A Day at the Races (1937)
    Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937)
    Forty Thousand Horsemen (1941)
    Sergent York (1941)
    King of the Cowboys (1943) Roy Rogers
    The Home Stretch (1947)
    My Brother Talks to Horses (1947)
    Northwest Stampede (1948)
    The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)
    The Golden Stallion (1949) Roy Rogers
    The story of Seabiscuit (1949)Shirley Temple

  2. Lonnie Larson

    Would like to find the movie about a wild white stallion named Snowfire. In the 50’s, I think.
    A wonderful horse/family movie.

    1. Paula

      Was that its name, Lonnie? I remember one with a wild stallion–white? or gold?–who leaps a great gulch/narrow canyon, flees ahead of the herd in a gold sunset–anything to stay wild. It was sensationally beautiful, late 1940s or early 1950s. I remember it had a name like “Stormy” or “Storm” but could have been something like “Snowfire.” Anyone know?

      1. Brittany

        I think the movie you are talking about is the silver brumby it was based on an AUS novel

    2. Sue

      Did you ever find the movie about Snowfire? I too, have been looking for that movie. I remember watching it as a kid and I’ve never seen it since.
      The little girl in the movie could talk to the white stallion and the stallion could talk back to her if she listened in his ear. One day the little girl is attacked and knocked out by another white wild stallion and her stallion comes to recue her. He kills the wild stallion, but the girls father thinks thier white stallion has gone wild and orders the hired hands to go out and kill the horse. At least, that’s how I remember it. It does have a happy ending.
      No one else that I have talked to, remembers that movie. It might even be only an hour long and that is why we can’t find it.

      1. carl

        i saw that movie , but the horse was called wild fire
        i thought i saw it on amazon once, but the one i ordered was not the same movie.

  3. Charmaine

    A good horse move is wild horse hank, with Linda Blair, its about a teenage girl. She travles with wild horse,s to keep them safe.

  4. Jim G.

    Do you know the name of a 40’s movie about a wild horse and an elk? Believe it was filmed in the Canadian Rockies sometime in the 40’s. I saw it as a child and love the film. It was done in color. Thank you.

    1. P

      I have been searching all over for that one I believe it was called Red Stallion of the Rockies. I used to go through the new tv guide when we got it and search for all of the horse movies that were playing. Is it the one where the old lady has a pet elk and a hired hand makes him crazy and he attacks the old woman and the horse jumps in and saves her?

  5. Dale

    I wish to add the last film in the Flicka trilogy, Green Grass of Wyoming (1948). It is mainly about Ken’s new horse Crown Jewel. Dale.

  6. Noreen

    The great Fury, {real name Beauty}, starred in Black Gold 1947 and in Black Beauty 1949. He also starred in Gypsy Colt 1956 and King of the Wild Stallions 1959. Does anyone know what horse starred in the Black Beauty movie 1971?? Was it King??

  7. Snno Loves Horses

    Another horse film I know of is Moondance Alexander. I don’t think it is from the 1940s, though.

  8. Kristen

    There’s this movie i watched with my family awhile ago . Its about a young girl that rides horses and her dad is allergic to them and he gets her this gray horse and they name it asprisin or somethign like that and hes a major jumoiing horse .And goes to that competition . Does anyone know that name of that movie?

    1. susan

      kristin, the movie you’re looking for is called The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit. The horse was named Aspercel. It was a Disney movie based on a book called The Year of the Horse by Eric Hatch, and it’s still out on dvd!

  9. connie

    There was a movie I watched as a child where a girl drove some wild horse to where they would be free. I’m not sure what year it was made. Anyway she takes them across a big highway and cars, trucks, ect. block the way so she can get them there before the law catches her. I would like to get that movie I just don’t remember the name of it.

    1. Cathy

      I remember this movie. There was some men trying to roundup wild horses and she didn’t want them too. I think her mother forbid her to go but she snuck out and found the wild horses and drove them somewhere they would be safe. I remember there being helicopters and such, but the last part I remember is the girl riding or driving a car herding a large herd of horses across a desert or something.i wish I could remember the name of it.

  10. heather

    Anyone remember a movie about a boy who goes to visit his gransfather on an Indian reservation and takes a horse to a spring to heal a leg injury?

  11. Onna

    Anyone remember a movie about a little girl who is the only person that can ride a wild white stallion? I think the horses name was Wildfire. It’s and old black and white movie from the 40’s I think. I watched it in my teens and would love to see it again

    1. Stacy B.

      Isnt there a really old song about a horse named wildfire?? And the in the song it was saying something about the horse getting out and everything and the only part i remember is when they would say ” They Called him wildfire!! “

  12. Alex

    Does anyone remember what the movie is called about the black colt that picks his girl up from school everyday, but then there’s a drought and the girl’s family has to sell the horse, but the horse finds it’s way back home and is waiting for the girl when she gets out of school?

  13. Katie

    Does anyone know of a 1940’s movie that had a horse named “Cree-Cree” in it? My grandfather named his daughter after this movie and I would love to find it for her.

      1. Katie

        Julie – THANK YOU SO MUCH! That is the Movie!!! I also named my daughter Chri. (I think Grandaddy used the H in Christopher and added it to the name Cri-Cri. The character is Christopher Cri-Cri Boole, played by June Haver) So this is very special information to our famiy.

  14. Darlynna

    Does anyone remember an old classic, b & w, about a dog & a horse die, then come back to earth as humans? I’m not sure, but seems like Dick Powell starred in it, and a blonde actress, can’t remember her name.

  15. sophia

    i love horses i wish i had one for free but i would take care of it and you only need to go 2 each week ilove horses more then all my stuff i love horses from in my heart.

    1. Wendy

      Sophia, your letter touched me, it looks like something I would have written as a horseless kid. I can not give you a horse but I can give you a promise that if you follow your dreams, they will never leave your heart. Befriend me on FB if you want to see my dream horses. Wendy Page Russ

    2. Kerry

      Sophia, Your letter really touched me, if you live in Australia I will GIVE you a horse free, maybe a weanling or a yearling, as I breed Appaloosa horses, email me on and let me know if you are in aussie or not

    3. Ann Lawrence

      Sophia–start by working at a stable–work to ride–take some lessons. Spend time with the horsey people and work for them–or get into 4-H. Horses are very expensive to keep. Finish school,get a job,get a horse. Wish you were here.

  16. eleanor

    I am looking for a movie about a horse. Thought it was Gallent Bess but it is not. This young man had a horse he snuck away from bootcamp to see as it was foaling. He made it back just as it died. He went overseas in WW2 the Phillipines or somewhere around there. Was hurt and while hiding from an attack on his camp he found a horse that had been hurt. He helped the horse and later they put water kegs on its saddle and it used to go around and give the soldiers water. When soldier was going home it swam to the ship the soldier was on.. I really would like to see that movies again.

    1. Bob Johnson

      I would like to know the name of that movie as well. It has been over 50 years since I seen it and I would love to see it again. I think the name of the horse was “Iron Jug” but since it has been so long I could be mistaken.

  17. lisa

    looking for movie about a horse named Corny P, there was a school for riders and the instructor is mean. The students over hear that she is going to lose her horse if she can’t come up with the money. Corny P wins the money. He is an older, not so pretty horse. Was a book about it years ago, and movie is very old. Any idea what the name of the movie is?

  18. Stephanie P

    That sounds like The Horsemasters, a Disney movie from the 50’s or 60’s starring Annette Funiccelo. The riding instructor is mean, but the students find out she’ll Lise her job (or the horse will be sold?) if she doesn’t win a race…I don’t remember the horse being old though. I love the foxhunting scene at the end :)

  19. julie

    A movie i enjoyed is called Smoky starring Fred Mc Murray 1946 about a black stallion.

      1. Barb Smith

        I LOVE that movie ,my favorite horse movie and I can’t find it listed anywhere. Would love to buy it either version, but the Fred MacMurray one is the BEST Anybody know if its available??

  20. Wolfwalker

    The 1940’s movie about a little girl and the white stallion is known as ‘Wild Fire’

  21. namenamename

    I’m looking for a movie that was about a 20 year old boy who is punished and sent to live with his aunt and cousin or else he is not aloud to go to Europe with his girlfriend. While hes there he tricked by his little cousin and learn about hard work and must save his aunt ranch or else they would be homeless. Thats all I know about the movie but i know that in the title it had the word horse.

    thanx ( ;

  22. susan

    i’m looking for a movie set in the canadian maritmes.
    mostly i remember a scene where a girl is racing her horse across the tops of the dunes–i think it was about a farm raising race horses.
    any idea of it’s name?
    thanks, this thread is such fun!

  23. SmileyWiley

    yall do no that most of these movies are on oh and yall HAVE to watch Ruffian. (its on type in Ruffian part 1)ruffian is my hero!!! shes the 2nd greatest racehorses ever!!! but at the end its a little graffik so i wouldnt advise this to lil kids

  24. steve

    I am looking for the name of a comedy film, possibly from the 30’s or 40’s. I saw the colorized version. Its about a traveling salesman (horse and wagon)that trades his old horse for a young Thoroughbred, that an old widow can’t handle. He races this horse against another religious friend one Sunday, with the family in tow, to church. There are 2 different churches in the movie, they’re just across the road from one another. One church doesn’t play music and the other church did. Any idea of the name of that old film?

  25. nikki

    hi im looking for a movie that has a horse that dances in the moon light does anyone know it i saw it when i was younger and have been looking for it forever but i cant seem to find it or remember the name of it i was young.

  26. Addie

    I’m looking for an old movie where a race horse was poisoned and someone was trying to kill a professional fighter/boxer. The horse went to heaven and an angel sent the horse back as a woman and the fighter was named King. I’m not sure if the fighter was a boxer dog and the horse was for sure a race horse. I can’t remember the details because I was 8 when I say the movie. It was a black and white movie. The lady could run fast because she use to be a race horse.

  27. B. Endre

    I am looking for a comedy with a jockey who had some injury to his brain, so he became afraid of horses. A psychiatrist cured him and he became brave again, but a lucky horseshoe he nailed to the barn door hit his head and he got into a panic, could not ride again. Lots of twists, romantic involvement, frantic attempts to cure his fear before a big race. Unfortunately, I saw this film in Hungary with a different name. I hope someone will recognize it and give me the original title.

  28. Sue

    No one has mentioned the movie “Lonely are the brave”. A early Kirk Douglas movie and one of his favorites. Kind of cheesy but shows a bond between Kirk and his horse Brandy. Watch out, though. It’s a tear jerker.

  29. Caro

    Nikki, could you be thinking of a Burt Reynolds & Sally Field movie Hooper where he is riding his horse as it dances in the moonlight

  30. Glenda Michaud

    I am looking for a Disney tv movie about a boy who ends up showing a beautiful palamino (paso fina/ perivian paso) I think. He ends up with a wine glass on his head in the competition. I thought it was from the 60. Anyone able to help

  31. Mireille

    film and boy or little girl who has a horse, which horse is sold and the horse go look up to the boy or little girl. also the horse always comes the little girl or pick up little boy of school

  32. CG

    I’m looking for this movie that involved two young boys. One black and the other white. I’m not sure if they were neighbors or if the black kids family were sharecroppers, but they would always meet up and feed this horse an apple. They became separated from each other and that young age but reuinted later in life. One didnt recognize the other until he mentioned about feeding the horse that apple or oats. It’s a really old movie that dealt with racial lines, but they were connected because of the love of the horse.

  33. Remy

    Has anyone heard of a movie that featured a horse named Topkick?! That’s all I know about it…

  34. Kaz

    Hi. Found my way here, because I would love to find out about a film I watched as a kid. Remember the Saturday matinees on TV in the 1970’s ? Well I am sure it was shown then…but all I can remember of it is a young lad (or girl maybe?) going out in a storm to find his sick horse, and he finds the horse flat out…lots of rain, and the lad shoting at his horse to get up or he will die. That’s all I remember.
    Any help would be great.

  35. Fred Lyman

    I’ve been trying lately to think of the details and information regarding a ’40s movie called Wild Fire, I believe. It’s about a real Quarter Horse stallion stallion of that era and that name.
    There are many horses of different breeds named Wildfire and even the song (one word) but this actual horse’s name was two words. I’m not certain that the movie name was.
    I remember seeing the movie as a child and not realizing ’til later it was about a real horse.
    The movie was filmed in and set in Kanab, Utah and I remember a line from a song that went ‘…they’ll bury you deep in Kanab..’
    It seems that the horse playing the Wild Fire part was a dark bay but that ought to be wrong since the real horse was a King Ranch bred horse, line bred to ‘The Old Sorrel’ and most surely was sorrel (chestnut) as was one of his sons I ‘knew’. Could have been a bad detail however or a case of someone making the decision that the details off the real horse were unimportant.
    The real Kanab ranch which owned this horse was likely the owners or breeders of Scootumpah and Johny Robb (E A von Hake) but that isn’t so likely to be included in the movie.
    I seem to recall that Ben Johnson acted in this movie too but that could be childhood confusion.
    It could also ha e been loosely constructed around the real horse but the connection with Kanab, the song from the movie and the real horse having been sold into Kanab by way of CA from King ranch in Texas makes me think the connection is real.

    1. Cathy

      The film could very well be “The Lion and the Horse”. The song line you mention is at the film’s end, the horse is called “Wildfire” (one word), and is a seal brown Saddlebred.
      Ben Johnson didn’t act in this film, Steve Cochran was the wild horse hunter “Ben Kirby”, the director Louis King, the film from 1952. The story was written by Crane Wilbur. Filming was done at Zion National Park, rodeo scenes in California.
      There are lots of photos on the internet, and other information as well.
      Hoping my info is of use to you!

  36. Cathy

    Fred Lymann,

    The film might be “The Lion and the Horse”, from 1952, directed by Louis King, starring among others Steve Cochran – as far as I know Ben Johnson is not in the film. The song’s line you mention indeed is in this film, at the end. The story is set and partly filmed at Zion National Park.
    I am not familiar with the details you sum up about the story being about a real horse, the film’s story was written by Crane Wilbur.
    The horse playing “Wildfire” (the name is in one word) in the film was a seal brown, almost black American Saddlebred stallion – and it showed! Somewhere in the film you hear “Ben Kirby”, the character Steve Cochran played, say something like “this (horse) is not a broomtail, I believe he has some saddlebred in him”.
    Like you, I saw that film when I was a kid, the impression that magnificent horse made on me then was a lasting one. Recently I have dug up lots of information, pictures, etc. on it. I could give you more on this film and the horse, but it’s next to impossible to do that here.
    Maybe still this is of help to you.

    Do you perhaps know if this Kanab-song is a really existing one or if it was written for the film? And do you know if “The Blue Tail Fly” also was sung somewhere in the film?

    I’ll return to this site shortly to see if you want more info.

  37. Dean

    Does anybody know the name of a black and white horse race movie about an old bookie that dies and shows up in the spirit of a horse, where his young beautiful daughter, helps him win either a trotting race or normal thoroughbred race. I think the horse dies immediately after it wins the race (unsure) PLEASE HELP I would love to see this movie again…

      1. Dean

        Hi Deb
        Thanks so much. I have been looking for the name of Return of October forever. Obviously the memory plays up I don’t know why it had such big impact on me at age 7 but am so glad I found it thanks to your help. God bless.

  38. Janet

    Looking for an old black and white movie about a boy who makes friends with a white stallion. The movie was named after the horse. I just can’t remember that name. I believe they were on an island or a sand dune like location. Not sure.

    1. bill

      I’m looking for a movie similar to you description. I remember at the end the boy and horse rode into the sea, presumeably not to return to land. In childhood I viewed it on tv in the middle 50’s.

  39. kaelyn

    i need the name of a movie i saw so i thought someone can help me
    it about a female who has this horse and shes a dressaga horse and the horse goes blind and she cant show anymore so she got a nother horse a chestnut and her ex-boyfriend went to a majior show and hit the chestnuts leg making him lame but she rides the bind horse in the show not telling the judges when she won 1st her trainer told the judge and i cant remeber whats after that please pm me on my username is 1290939

  40. frankie graves

    I am looking for a movie involving a boy,and a red horse, and a woman who was about to loose her ranch, but didn’t want him to race. And the bank wanted to auction off the horse to pay the note.when the boy hid the horse tied in the woods a cat came, the horse broke the rope and he and the cat fought. The boy ran the horse, the farm was saved. Do you know the name of this movie? I believe the horse was red.

  41. bill

    I’m looking for the title of a movie similar to your description. The movie plot was one of hardship and trouble, for both horse and boy. Their individual hardships led to a bonding between the two. At the end of the movie, the boy and horse rode into the sea, presumably never returning to land.

  42. Gary

    Trying to remember a movie about a really poor boy with one floppy shoe that ends up with a horse. I seem to remember the horse gets shot in the end. It’s an old B/W. Does this ring any bells to anyone?

  43. Mellissa

    I watched a movie with my mum when I was a kid, and am desperately trying to find it to watch it with my daughter. I believe it was black and white. It was about a black stallion/colt that was a bit wild and could only be handled by the daughter/grand daughter. There was scenes of her playing tag with the horse in the paddock. The father/grandfather had to sell the horse to save the ranch, but somehow the horse and the girl were reunited. PLEASE, PLEASE help me find this movie as I haven’t seen it for over 20 years and have searched everywhere!!!

  44. Jade

    i love horses i wish i had one for free but i would take care of it. ilove horses more then all my stuff i love horses from in my heart.

  45. Dean

    I would love to know the name of a black and white horse race movie — where the father (a bookie) dies, but he comes back in the spirit of a horse and his daughter races that horse to win, but the he dies again the moment he wins the race… anybody know it????

  46. Benjamin

    I’d like to add one of the all-time best horse movies ever made: “Kentucky”, made in 1938 and is in Technicolor. Stars Loretta Young, Richard Green and Walter Brennan. Feuding families try to keep young lovers apart while they train a horse to compete in the Kentucky Derby. Wonderful!

  47. R. Bremner

    I’m looking for the name of a movie I saw in the late 1940s. The daugher of a farmer/rancher and his wife is attracted to a young man. The farmer opposition to his daughter’s relationship with the young man, is the source of conlfict. I vaguely recall that the family’s horse figured prominently in the story. I believe the girl was a blonde actress, and the movie was in colour.

  48. Lynette Lambshead

    I was so happy to find a movie That I have thought about so much during my lifetime. The Red Pony with Robert Mitchem, didnt know if I had the name right or the actor. After so many years you begin to doubt yourself. I saw this movie when I was about 6 or 7 1949.

  49. Kevin Kellogg

    As you correctly identified the movie and the actor here is the movie, The Red Pony (1949) Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Louis Calhern, Shepperd Strudwick screenplay by John Steinback from his 1937 novel.

  50. Deborah

    I am going nuts trying to remember the name of a movie from late 50’s, early 60’s about a race horse that would only be calmed by a dog, which happened to belong to a boy. When the horse was done training and left to hit the racing circuit, the dog went with him and the boy’s heart was broken. As was mine. Does anyone else remember this one? I thought it would be Disney given its emotional manipulation of young kids’ feelings, but I can’t find it.

  51. marilyn rix

    i am looking for a movie its a black and white movie about horse racing not sure if its a true story or not all i can remember about this movie is the race horse died it dropped dead in the middle of the race track and at the end of the movie they buried the horse in the middle of that race track can anyone please let me know the name of this movie

  52. Rebecca Hochstetler

    I am looking for the name of an older movie. It is about a guy who comes to live with his uncle or grandpa. The older gentleman has a horse. The younger guy was not allowed to race or even drive cars. He also falls in love with the neighbor’s daughter. The horse gets left out one night and gets sick. So the two men rush out to get him and bring him in. They eventually take him to the races and he wins. 1930’s, maybe 1940’s.

  53. robert

    Hello All,
    I am looking for a film that I think is from the 30’s or 40’s. Been searching the web for about a year now and can not find anything. I can only remember bits and pieces of the movies so please bear with me. The start of the movie the man has a young horse and meets a woman who will become his wife. The movie basically entails their life and the horses rise to fame and fortune. As I recall there is live race footage in the movies as well. any help would be much appreciated.

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