7.2/10
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61 user 48 critic

Equus (1977)

A psychiatrist attempts to uncover a troubled stable boy's disturbing obsession with horses.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Peter Shaffer (play), Peter Shaffer (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Martin Dysart
Peter Firth ... Alan Strang
Colin Blakely ... Frank Strang
Joan Plowright ... Dora Strang
Harry Andrews ... Harry Dalton
Eileen Atkins ... Hesther Saloman
Jenny Agutter ... Jill Mason
Kate Reid ... Margaret Dysart
John Wyman ... Horseman
Elva Mai Hoover ... Miss Raintree
Ken James Ken James ... Mr. Pearce
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Hospital Patient
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Storyline

A psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, investigates the savage blinding of six horses with a metal spike in a stable in Hampshire, England. The atrocity was committed by an unassuming seventeen-year-old stable boy named Alan Strang, the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father and a genteel, religious mother. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy's demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own. Written by Serenleono <verax@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"I am yours and you are mine" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Fliehende Pferde See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roger Ebert wrote, "In a sort of psychological triple play, he uses his personal identification with horses as a focus for (a) his own and his mother's fascination with the passion of Christ; (b) his deeply seated masochism, and (c) his latent homosexuality. The play suggested the homosexuality; the film makes it all too obvious in a flashback to the childhood encounter with the horse and its rider, who is seen in specifically sexual terms." See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Dysart is holding the "truth drug", he has his hand alternately open and closed around it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Martin Dysart: Afterward he says, they always embrace. The animal digs his sweaty brow into his cheek, and they stand in the dark for an hour, like a naked couple. And of all nonsensical things, I keep thinking about the horse, not the boy. The horse and what he might be trying to do. I keep seeing the huge head, kissing him with its chained mouth, nudging from the metal some desire absolutely irrelevant to fulfilling its bearing or propagating its own kind. What desire could this be? Not to stay...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Motor City
(uncredited)
Music by Nick Ingman
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

"In my mouth lies this sharp chain, and it never comes out"
28 May 2001 | by Mattydee74See all my reviews

I watched this film several times as a teenager. It meant a lot to me and altered many of the concrete ideas I was trying to understand. Its a shame this film is not more widely available and better known. Its filled with brilliant performances and a shattering script by Peter Schaffer.

It is hard not to be shaken and stirred by the ideas of this film/play. It is a powerful indictment of the complexity of the human mind and the limits of science in attempting to translate, understand and reform the wild and fantastic reaches of human consciousness. It is a film with so many subtexts and ideas about the human mind - it encompasses questions of religion, psychiatry, dreams, forbidden sexuality, fantasy, taboos, psychology, youth and history. Well, these are the most crucial in the films narrative.

Equus tells the story of a adolescent's counselling after he commits a violent, extreme crime. Alan Strang (Peter Firth) has been interned under the guidance of Martin Dysart (Richard Burton) to work through the issues surrounding his actions. Alan is clearly disturbed and withdrawn but the devastating secrets he bears threaten not merely his own family but Dysart's own sense of self and truth. And audiences too.

Its a film noted for its male nudity - which is quite notable - but its the swirling, subversive ideas which spring forth from this film which make it even more challenging and provocative. An important, intelligent film.


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