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USA: Universal Studios
UK: Buena Vista International UK
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, David McCullough, Paul Vincent O'Connor, Michael Ensign, James Keane, Valerie Mahaffey, David Doty, Kingston DuCoeur, Michael O'Neill, Annie Corley, Michael Angarano, Cameron Bowen, Noah Luke, Mariah Bess, Jamie Lee Redmon, Ed Lauter, Gianni Russo, Sam Bottoms, Royce D Applegate, Dyllan Christopher, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Arthur, Gary Stevens, Danny Strong, Hans Howes, Camillia Sanes, Clif Alvey, Dan Daily, Shay Duffin, Kevin Mangold, William H Macy, Jay Cohen, Peter Jason, John Walcutt, James DuMont, Robin Bissell, Eddie Jones, Paige King, Andrew Schatzberg, Chris McCarron, Roger E Fanter, Gary McGurk, Michael B Silver, Richard Reeves, Matt Miller, Gary Ross, Pat Skipper, Ken Magee, Jesse Hernandez, Julio Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Fernando C Moreno, Pedro Hernandez, Eric Hernandez, Raśl Cuellar
Director: Gary Ross
UK: 140 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for some sexual situations and violent sports-related images
UK Certificate: PG contains mild language and violence
USA Release Date: 25 July 2003
UK Release Date: 7 November 2003
UK Release Date: 31 October 2003 (Limited Release - London)
It was the beginning of the 20th Century. Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), the young owner of a bicycle shop in San Francisco, was startled by a loud rumbling. When he went to investigate the source of the noise, he saw the future - the strange contraption they called an automobile was barreling down the street toward him, leaving the hoof prints and wheel marks of horse-driven carriages in its dusty wake. And within a few years, Charles Howard owned the most successful Buick dealership in the West.
But the cars that had brought him success and fortune ended up stealing the thing he loved most. After his son was killed in an automobile accident, Howard's life spiraled downward, his marriage dissolved and he was left empty and alone.
Hundreds of miles away, a cowboy named Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) rode horses across a boundless and beautiful region that seemed to stretch out forever in every direction. But the boundlessness gave way to barbed wire and railroad tracks, covering the landscape like spiders' webs. The cowboy became obsolete and Tom Smith was a walking relic in the New World.
John Pollard (Tobey McGuire) was born into a lively and prosperous family of Irish immigrants, a home filled with books and songs. But the Pollards were hit by hard times; the family lost everything. At a makeshift racetrack Johnny Pollard, barely a young man, was left to make his way in the world doing the one thing he could - ride a horse. What he couldn't make racing he scraped together by boxing. Beaten down but determined, Johnny "Red" Pollard learned to look out for himself and to trust no one.
In 1932, newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt inherited the leadership of a country with a jobless rate as high as fifty percent in some cities, where two million people wandered the country without homes or employment. Never before had America faced such great poverty and desperation. The hope of a young nation was slipping away behind bolted bank doors and at the end of ever-increasing breadlines.
A few years later, Charles Howard remarried a beautiful young woman named Marcela Zabala - the two had met at the track. Together the newlywed couple decided to buy a horse. Howard had hired a peculiarly quiet and idiosyncratic trainer named Tom Smith, who spied a spark of promise in a difficult and awkward plain bay named Seabiscuit - the son of Hardtack, descendent of the great Man-O-War. Beaten up and beaten down, the horse had grown stubborn and reckless and was on his way to being discarded. But Smith saw something in the knobby-kneed bay, just as Charles Howard had seen something in Smith.
Tom saw the same inner spirit in a troubled jockey and in 1936, on a beautiful fall day at the track in Saratoga, the Howards were introduced by their trainer to a young jockey named "Red" Pollard.
In the hands of Howard, his trainer and his new jockey, the indomitable spirit sensed in Seabiscuit that first morning took hold of the horse. He transformed from the unruly, ungraceful animal to a head-turning record breaker. With an instinctual faith in Smith, Pollard and Seabiscuit, Charles Howard, a consummate showman, challenged the (current) Triple Crown winner, a powerful, stunning black horse named War Admiral, to a match race. The resulting race became much more than a competition between two champion animals and their riders - it grew into a contest between two worlds: the East Coast establishment of bankers and their beautiful horses versus a nation of downtrodden but spirited have-nots who championed a ragtag team of three displaced men and their unlikely challenger.
Seabiscuit won the match race and went on to be named 1938 Horse of the Year. The victory, however, was bittersweet. Just before that race, Pollard had been seriously injured in an accident on another horse. When told Red would possibly never walk again, Howard was ready to cancel the race. But Pollard insisted that it go on and that his friend and fellow jockey, George "The Iceman" Woolf, ride Seabiscuit, which he did - to victory.
Months later, Seabiscuit was injured in a race. Howard brought both Red and Seabiscuit to his sprawling ranch in Northern California so the two friends could convalesce together. Red spent his days reading and taking the horse on walks under the California Oaks. Slowly, the impossible started to happen; walks turned into canters and canters into gallops and soon Seabiscuit and Red were racing through the grass-covered hills of Howard's home.
In 1940, F.D.R. was re-elected for an unprecedented third term. On a chalkboard at the Santa Anita Handicap, a man wrote "Seabiscuit" under the list of race entries and the crowd roared. The people's hero had returned, beating all the odds, to race once again - this time with an equally miraculous Red Pollard holding the reins. Together, horse and jockey crossed the finish line first, with retirement for both waiting on the other side.
From a book by Laura Hillenbrand entitled Seabiscuit, An American Legend.