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Miracle of the White Stallions (1963)

Robert Taylor , Lilli Palmer , Arthur Hiller  |  G |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Taylor, Lilli Palmer, Curt Jurgens, Eddie Albert, James Franciscus
  • Directors: Arthur Hiller
  • Writers: A.J. Carothers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DZTIT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,458 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Miracle of the White Stallions" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

One of the great untold stories of World War II unfolds in this suspenseful adventure-drama. During the last perilous months of the conflict, Vienna's famed Spanish Riding School -- and its prized Lipizzan stallions -- is threatened by devastating bombing raids and indifferent Nazi commanders. Despite the dangers involved in evacuating the magnificent animals, the school's director (Robert Taylor) and a handful of heroic citizens attempt a daring, life-threatening plan to move the stallions away from the ravages of war and, more importantly, keep the historic breed alive.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the spirit of this extraordinary event July 30, 2005
Format:DVD
The Spanish Riding School of Vienna has been around for hundreds of years, but was nearly lost in WW2 when the Lipizzaner breeding herd was separated from the stud farm of Piber and moved into Czechoslovakia, and then faced with possible destruction at the hands of the Russians.

Alois Podhajsky, the Director of the school, made a bold request of the Americans, especially General Patton who himself had ridden in the 1912 Olympics, to save the horses. Patton appreciated the tradition of the Spanish Riding School and was able to effect the rescue of the breeding mares along with allied prisoners of war, effectively saving the Lipizzaners and the tradition of the School.

This Disney movie was made in 1963 and has some of the typical Disney characteristics of the time such as blunting the visual depiction of violence and war, but beyond the technical shortcomings, the movie accurately captures the desperate situation facing those who would save a longstanding tradition bound in living beings -- both the horses and the riders -- and how many individuals through both minor and grand gestures worked toward a common cause and saved an institution.

The movie was filmed largely on location, and to watch it is to see a real piece of living history. I highly recommend it.
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217 of 234 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE DVD VERSION March 7, 2004
Format:DVD
Several of the reviews on this site ask the Disney studio to release this film on DVD. Well, they have and this review refers to the DVD version.
I have been familiar with this movie since I worked at the Disney studio in 16mm film distribution in the 1970s (about 7 years before the VHS blockbuster years began), and am familiar with the original negatives. In what I am finding to be typical of the Disney folks, this film is presented in a 'full frame' version, rather than a WIDESCREEN version. The film was shot for a 1:85x1 projected ratio (known as Academy Flat) which presents the picture in a slight retangular format. However, a full frame, 4x3 video transfer of such a negative isn't all that bad, although it would have distinguised it from the normal VHS format.
Also, I am very surprised that the Disney people didn't make an effort to 'clean up' the original negative, which contains a great amount of negative dirt and scratches. The DVD does preserve the original look to the film (color and tint), but there has been so much technology invented to digitally reproduce an almost flawless image, that I am surprised it isn't been used. It is one of trhe major reasons that people have switched to DVD.
Also, look for a mistake in the original negative. Just after the horses board the train, there are reddish, flash frames (possibly an overexposure to the camera original negative) which could easily have been removed digitally.
A few "extras" would have been nice, such as behind-the-scenes material. This stinginess is becomming something notorious with recent Disney DVD releases. Walt Disney shot tons of background footage for every movie he made, and this is stored in the studio vaults. I've seen it in 16mm, although it was shot on 35mm..
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Disney Horse Movie May 10, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is a bit slow at times for non-horse people but for the rest of us IT'S FANTASTIC! The movie was actually shot on location at The Spanish Riding School in Vienna and has tons of long performances by the stallions under saddle. The time period is of Hilter Germany when Col. Podhajsky (if you don't know who he his you haven't been exposed to enough dressage history) was fighting to keep the school alive.
Anyone who has ever had a small desire to learn dressage or see these famous horses will probably be enchanted with the movie.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Master June 15, 2005
By Just Me
Format:DVD
This is a wonderful movie, one that I can remember being shown - and begging for - when I was a small child.

Some Interesting 'Backstage' Information: The main character, Colonel Alois Podhajsky, is a bronze medal winner and famous dressage performer/trainer around the world. He was famous even before his debut with the Lippizzans. In his book, My Horses, My Teachers (highly reccomended for someone who knows something of horses), he recalls his experiences filming the movie. Obviously, Taylor wasn't the horseman that Podhajsky was, so the Colonel actually rode his parts. The horse he needed to ride (the horse he rode in history, Neapolitano Africa, was deceased) was a young stallion, who only recently had taken the place of Maestoso Alea in leading the quadrille and doing the solo during performances. (I can't remember the stallions name, and I don't have my book handy...sorry) He had a 'bad' habit of "singing" whenever another stallion entered the arena, and Podhajsky was unable to break him of it without implementing methods he saw as too harsh for such an intelligent horse. So, the stallion performed, "singing" along with the motions of his body. When Taylor mounted him, the horse started neighing. Podhajsky tried to convince him that the horse was only talking and that he would soon quiet, but was unable to settle the rider. The great scene, in performing for General Patton, was ridden by not only two riders (Podhajsky performing and Taylor doing the walking parts) but two HORSES, the young stallion who still had a black mane, and a old longe horse that they had dug up for Taylor. Kinda interesting! Anyway, this guy is a master!!! I just wish that Neapolitano Africa had been alive to perform the part himself.
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