4.1 19
Director: Randall Wallace

Cast: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh


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A housewife with little knowledge of horse-racing fosters one of the greatest race horses of all time as the story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner comes to the screen in this inspirational underdog drama based on the novel Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack and starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich. PennySee more details below

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A housewife with little knowledge of horse-racing fosters one of the greatest race horses of all time as the story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner comes to the screen in this inspirational underdog drama based on the novel Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack and starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich. Penny Chenery (Lane) is a devoted mother and housewife whose ailing father is the proprietor of Meadow Stables in Virginia. When her father becomes too ill to tend to his horses, Penny agrees to take over the stables despite her inexperience. Desperate, she turns to veteran horse trainer Lucien Laurin (Malkovich) to help show her the ropes. Up to this point, horse racing has been a decidedly male-dominated sport. But with Lucien's help, Penny prepares to prove that gender has no bearing on one's ability to breed a fast race horse. As Secretariat blasts out of the gates to leave his competition in the dust, the whole world watches in amazement, and a legend is born.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The monikers "popcorn" and "feel good," when attached to a film, carry with them the implication that the subject matter is unchallenging and therefore inconsequential, something to be dismissed by the more discerning moviegoer. It's not always an inaccurate assumption, given the amount of films made with the intent of appealing only to a very specific demographic, but as cinema is a mirror of the human experience, it stands to reason that triumphing in the face of adversity does happen on occasion, and does, indeed, feel pretty good. It would be a shame to dismiss a film for being a pure, simple story that will leave people feeling good about being people, because when done right, it's a great story. Secretariat was done right. Secretariat, of course, is based on the true story of horseracing champion Secretariat, Triple Crown winner and arguably the fastest horse that ever lived. Like Seabiscuit, another equine underdog, Secretariat's potential was derided by investors and racing insiders, who believed his bloodlines indicated he was merely a speed horse who would fall short in a test of endurance. Famously, Secretariat went on to win the grueling Belmont Stakes by an astonishing 31 lengths. The horse's career might have gone in quite a different direction, however, were it not for his owner, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), who referred to herself at one point as Secretariat's voice. The housewife and mother agreed to take over her father's Thoroughbred breeding operation when his health began to deteriorate, and refused to sell the farm despite pressure from virtually all ends. As her horse was dismissed for his supposedly inferior bloodlines, Chenery was dismissed for being a woman in a male-dominated sport. Her horse trainer, Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich), drew ire for several embarrassing defeats, as well as his garish wardrobe; her gentle-handed groom (Nelsan Ellis) drew little attention whatsoever, being in what the racing industry's elites considered a lowly position; and her jockey (Otto Thorwarth) elicited controversy for his aggressiveness on the track. Ultimately, this perfect storm of unlikely candidates contributed to what became nationwide support for "Big Red" (Secretariat's barn name), whose habit of thundering to victory after breaking from the gate at the back of the pack won him no small amount of fans. In films where the destination is already known -- in this case, the finish line at the Belmont Stakes, where Secretariat officially won the Triple Crown -- it truly is the journey that matters. Diane Lane took on a role that would have been too sugary in the hands of other actresses, infusing the character with enough vulnerability to be sympathetic, and enough toughness to be respectable. Malkovich works well with Lane, matching her poise with eccentricity and his rougher-edged confidence in Secretariat's potential. Director Randall Wallace handles Secretariat's races with an expert touch, showing the Kentucky Derby through the eyes of the spectators at the event, the Preakness Stakes through the eyes of those who watched the race on television, and the Belmont from the perspective of Secretariat and his jockey (Thorwarth's disbelieving expression at his own lead at the Belmont is worth the price of admission alone). Unfortunately, when the film navigates away from the farm and toward Chenery's home life, it isn't able to carry the excitement of the track along with it. The marital tension she experiences seems hastily tacked on for dramatic effect where none is needed, and there is little chemistry between Lane and Dylan Walsh, in the role of Penny's husband. It's a small criticism, however, in an otherwise consistently rousing tale of victory. When the film begins, the audience knows that the big red horse with a lot of heart will win the coveted Triple Crown, along with the hearts and minds of a nation. Eventually, he does, and the end credits role. It feels good.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Disc 1 - Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus; ; Choreographing The Races - Discover How The Filmmakers Used Innovative Technology to Re-Create Breathtaking Races From Days Gone By; ; A Director's Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery - Randall Wallace Sits Down With Secretariat's Owner As She Shares Astonishing True Stories; ; Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace; ; Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation - Relive Secretariat's Triumphant 1973 Preakness Run From Numerous Perspectives ; ; 4 Additional Deleted Scenes; ; Disc 2 - DVD Feature Film + Bonus; ; Heart Of A Champion - An Inside Look At Secretariat, One Of The Most Famous Thoroughbred Horses Ever Known; ; 3 Deleted Scenes; Music Videos - AJ Michalka "It's Who You Are"

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Diane Lane Penny Chenery
John Malkovich Lucien Laurin
Dylan Walsh Jack Tweedy
Dylan Baker Hollis Chenery
Margo Martindale Miss Ham
Nelsan Ellis Eddie Sweat
Otto Thorwarth Ronnie Turcotte
Fred Dalton Thompson Bull Hancock
James Cromwell Ogden Phillips
Scott Glenn Chris Chenery
Mike Harding E.V. Benjamin
Richard Fullerton Robert Kleburg
Tim Ware John Galbreath
Nestor Serrano Pancho Martin
Keith Austin Lafitte Pincay
Kevin Connolly Bill Nack
Eric Lange Andy Beyer
Drew Roy Seth Hancock
Carissa Capobianco Sarah Tweedy
AJ Michalka Kate Tweedy
Sean Cunningham Chris Tweedy
Jacob Rhodes John Tweedy
Graham McTavish Earl Jansen
Tom Foley Jimmy Gaffney
Grant Whitacre Paul Feliciano
Forry Smith Obnoxious Owner
Tom Clark CBS Anchor
Ken Strunk Dr. Manuel Gilman
Jazz Undy Fan #1
Michael Guthrie Fan #2
Cullen Wallace Che Wannabe
Mike Battaglia Derby Official
Tony Renaud Reporter #1
Jennifer Trier Receptionist
Wynn Reichert Pastor
Tim Layden Reporter #2
William Nack Reporter #3
Pamela Pryor Waitress
Kate Ward Belmont Guest
Andrew Wallace Belmont Singer
Rusty Hendrickson Burger Joint Cook
Michael Boyd Golfer #1
Michael Mills Golfer #2
Albert Duhon Berated Stable Hand
Audrey Scott 6-Year-Old Penny
Salid Parker New York Taxi Driver
Joe Chrest Sports Desk Anchor
Jason Schwartz Spectator
Reid Cherner Hack Pack
Hank Goldberg Hack Pack
Dick Jerardi Hack Pack
John McClain Hack Pack
Jay Privman Hack Pack

Technical Credits
Randall Wallace Director
Jayne Armstrong Associate Producer
Beau Borders Sound Mixer
Michael T. Boyd Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark Ciardi Producer
Benjamin Cook Sound/Sound Designer
Nick Glennie-Smith Score Composer
Gordon Gray Producer
Bill Johnson Executive Producer
William R. Johnson Executive Producer
Paul Lombardi Special Effects Supervisor
Naaman Marshall Art Director
Alex McCarroll Set Decoration/Design
Kevin O'Connell Sound Mixer
Mike Rich Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Tom Sanders Production Designer
Melizah Anguiano Schmidt Makeup
Dean Semler Cinematographer
Andrew Wallace Associate Producer
Julie Weiss Costumes/Costume Designer
Darrell L. Wight Set Decoration/Design
Kim Winther Asst. Director,Co-producer
John Wright Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Secretariat
1. Meditation [1:46]
2. Coming Home [7:58]
3. Staying On [8:28]
4. Coin Toss [6:12]
5. Big Red [7:36]
6. Finding Their Stride [7:24]
7. Horse Of The Year [8:32]
8. A Real Gamble [10:40]
9. No Regrets [8:28]
10. Losing Faith [9:46]
11. Sham [6:21]
12. Kentucky Derby [4:53]
13. Preakness Stakes [3:52]
14. Nerves [6:08]
15. Belmont Stakes [8:57]
16. Epilogue [6:56]

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