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Phar Lap [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Burlinson, Judy Morris, Richard Morgan, Robert Grubb, Simon Wells
  • Directors: Simon Wincer
  • Writers: David Williamson
  • Producers: John Sexton
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: May 19, 1993
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302732980
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,217 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Phar Lap [VHS] Actors: Tom Burlinson, Judy Morris, Richard Morgan, Robert Grubb, Simon Wells Directors: Simon Wincer Writers: David Williamson Producers: John Sexton Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) Review: Australia's lightning 'Big Red' - and some big US hearts July 14, 2004 By John Elsegood This great 1983 Australian movie was made 20 years before Sea Biscuit and commemorates the legendary galloper Phar Lap, foaled in NZ in 1926 but raced in Australia and Mexico (last start) until his death in the US in April 1932. In a sensational career that produced 37 wins from 51 starts, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup, 'Big Red' ( a nickname also applied to the 1973 Kentucky Derby winner Secretariat)gave Aussies something to cheer about in the Great Depression years. The film gives some idea of how this horse, captured the nation's imagination. Phar Lap's heart was discovered to be 50% larger than a normal equine heart and judging by the Americans who have reviewed this movie I would also like to say that they have shown 'big hearts' with many praising the horse and film as better than Seabiscuit -a great American galloper who appeared on the scene shortly after Phar Lap's demise. As for my fellow Australian reviewer who makes the accusation that Americans killed Phar Lap let me say that old furphy has been effectively demolished by Geoff Armstrong and Peter Thompson in their book 'Phar Lap.' They came to the conclusion that the great Antipodean galloper died of Duodenitis -Proximal jejunitis (also known as Anterior enteritis), a bacterial disease unknown in 1932 and which even today claims the lives of 70% of horses that are treated for it. Australian gangsters did try to kill Phar Lap just before the Melbourne Cup of 1930, something the film illustrates. The chestnut horse 'Towering Inferno,' Phar Lap in the film, went on to live until April 1999 before dying at age of 26 - struck by lightning - the word Phar Lap is a Thai expression for lightning!

Customer Reviews

I want to buy several copies but can't find it in DVD...please release on DVD!
gakbjwj
If you like movies that are strong, based on true stories, about horses and racing, and have a really great but sad story, then this is a great movie for you!
James Malone
This is another true horse story, and for drauma, Phar Lap's life trumps Seabiscuit's story any day.
Marilyn J. Ranson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 71 people found the following review helpful By John Elsegood on July 14, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This great 1983 Australian movie was made 20 years before Sea Biscuit and commemorates the legendary galloper Phar Lap, foaled in NZ in 1926 but raced in Australia and Mexico (last start) until his death in the US in April 1932.

In a sensational career that produced 37 wins from 51 starts, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup, 'Big Red' ( a nickname also applied to the 1973 Kentucky Derby winner Secretariat)gave Aussies something to cheer about in the Great Depression years.

The film gives some idea of how this horse, captured the nation's imagination with Tom Burlinson playing the role of a young strapper called Tommy Woodcock, who was devoted to Phar Lap, and who later as a trainer in his declining years almost won the Melbourne Cup with Reckless (runner up in 1977).

Phar Lap's heart was discovered to be 50% larger than a normal equine heart and judging by the Americans who have reviewed this movie I would also like to say that they have shown 'big hearts' with many praising the horse and film as better than Seabiscuit (another film I hugely enjoyed)-a great American galloper who appeared on the scene shortly after Phar Lap's demise.

As for my fellow Australian reviewer who makes the accusation that Americans killed Phar Lap let me say that old furphy has been effectively demolished by Geoff Armstrong and Peter Thompson in their book 'Phar Lap.' They came to the conclusion that the great Antipodean galloper died of Duodenitis -Proximal jejunitis (also known as Anterior enteritis), a bacterial disease unknown in 1932 and which even today claims the lives of 70% of horses that are treated for it.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Julie Ann Gobbell on November 7, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This movie predates the film "Seabiscuit" by ten years, and it is the "character" of Phar Lap who is the true star. Phar Lap is still the most famous Australian racehorse in history. Once his strapper (played by Tom Burlinson) discovered the secret to Phar Lap's speed, no other horse could beat him until they weighed him down mercilessly, as they almost did to Seabiscuit. The bookies hated him, but the crowds adored him. And the American horse racing industry was deathly afraid of him. Warning: this is a true story, honestly portrayed. There are parts that are intensely difficult to watch--especially for horse lovers. However, I cherish my copy of the film and will not lend it out to anyone. Along with F.F. Coppola's "The Black Stallion", it is my favorite horse movie. It is as exciting as it is heart-wrenching. If you enjoyed "Seabiscuit," you'd love "Phar Lap". But be prepared for the anquishing ending to this true and amazing part of horse racing history.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Alydar on December 20, 2003
Format: DVD
With the "Seabiscuit" fury going on, I hope the studio and higher ups realize that this film was a "hidden gem" and that with the release of Wincer's THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION to IMAX theaters, they will consider this venture and this very worthy film. I can see the TV spots now......."Before SEABISCUIT there was the "other" wonder horse from down under, PHAR LAP ......he'll surely race into your hearts". I know I'll be the first in line to buy it. I wore out the VHS tape and this is a truly stunning story about an amazing horse, eccentric trainer, caring jock and an owner who learned how "to believe" - doesn't this sound familiar, Seabiscuit fans? And the soundtrack and photography are just incredible .... the story will leave the same hole in your heart as did Seabiscuit. And, the mystery continues ....who killed Phar Lap and why hasn't the studio released this amazing horse story to DVD. Go Baby Go!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By julie c. brosset on December 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Phar Lap was an extrodinary horse in that there has been few in racing who have matched his accomplishments this century. The movie tells the true life legend of a horse so freakish in is ability to race that none could surpass. The story takes place in Australia and not only has beautiful scenes but the actors revolve around the horse and his crusade to become one of that countries finest race horses of all time.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bageeba on November 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I've had a copy of this video since it came out years and years ago. I have watched it over and over again without ever being tired of it. I recommend it to everyone, especially horse lovers! Truly a captivating and fascinating story. I'm hoping for it to be released on DVD, now that it's been re-released on VHS (after the prompting of all the fans of this movie). Unlike a lot of other "horsey" movies/stories, it's not focused around a child and a horse or other kid tales. That's what makes it so appealing to ANYBODY who has a heart for animals. Other similarly good movies in this fashion are "The Man From Snowy River" and it's sequel "Return to Snowy River". I urge you to at least rent all three of these!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W. Burke on August 22, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I have loved this movie since I saw it on TV in 1988. Please put it on DVD soon! Although I am American, I find the story of this great Australian race horse to be moving and inspiring beyond words. The ending is sad, but to gloss over it would have dishonored this magnificent champion's memory. I have seen the recent film Seabiscuit, and he was a wonderful horse as well, but I honestly feel that Phar Lap would have beaten him easily had the two ever raced. Anyone who watches this movie will understand why Phar Lap was, and may always be, the greatest race horse of all time.
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