8 user 2 critic

The Littlest Horse Thieves (1976)

Escape from the Dark (original title)
G | | Family, Drama | 11 March 1977 (USA)
When the owner of a Yorkshire coal-mine decides to mechanize to increase profits, the mine's pit ponies are scheduled to be destroyed. So, three children plan to steal them to keep them ... See full summary »


Charles Jarrott


Burt Kennedy (story), Rosemary Anne Sisson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Family | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Travelling through Crete to collect folk songs for the BBC, a British teen and her aunt stumble upon local criminals who are peddling gems stolen from a London bank.

Director: James Neilson
Stars: Hayley Mills, Eli Wallach, Pola Negri
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When crooks set up operations in a traditional town, a minister and a group of church ladies are willing to do anything, no matter how wacky, to get them out.

Director: Bruce Bilson
Stars: Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Susan Clark
Comedy | Family | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Emil goes to Berlin to see his grandmother with a large amount of money and is offered sweets by a strange man that make him sleep. He wakes up at his stop with no money. It is up to him and a group of children to save the day.

Director: Peter Tewksbury
Stars: Walter Slezak, Bryan Russell, Roger Mobley
Comedy | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A happy and unbelievably lucky young Irish immigrant, John Lawless, lands a job as the butler of an unconventional millionaire, Biddle. His daughter, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, tires of the ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Tommy Steele, Greer Garson
Family | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Actor Jack Albany, who plays gangsters on TV, is mistaken for notorious hit-man Ace, and is hired by mob boss Leo Smooth to pull a heist, but Jack must find a way out of it.

Director: Jerry Paris
Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Edward G. Robinson, Dorothy Provine
Bone Bandit (1948)
Family | Comedy | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Pluto awakes to find no bone in his dish. It's off to the buried stash, but Pluto discovers that a gopher has been using the bones to support his tunnels, and doesn't want to part with them... See full summary »

Director: Charles A. Nichols
Stars: Pinto Colvig
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When John Baxter inherits a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains, he quits his job in New York and moves the family west to run it. Only to find that the place is a wreck. But together they ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: Dean Jones, Nancy Olson, Harry Morgan
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A family leaves city life to take possession of a Wyoming ranch.

Director: Robert Totten
Stars: Steve Forrest, Vera Miles, Ron Howard
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ambrose the kitten renames himself Butch and runs away from home with plans to become a robber. His first intended victim, though, is a real robber: Dirty Bill, a dog. Dirty Bill asks ... See full summary »

Director: David Hand
Stars: Billy Bletcher
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Rebecca's Uncle Harry leaves her with Aunt Miranda who forbids her to associate with show people. But neighbor Anthony Kent is a talent scout who secretly set it up for her to broadcast.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Shirley Temple, Randolph Scott, Jack Haley
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1907, four explorers discover a lost colony of Vikings in the Arctic.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: David Hartman, Donald Sinden, Jacques Marin
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Goofy, staying at the Sugar Bowl resort, demonstrates the basics of downhill skiing, which the titles and announcer insist is pronounced "SHEEing". The equipment is, of course, of the era. ... See full summary »

Directors: Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts
Stars: George Johnson, John McLeish, Hannes Schroll


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alastair Sim ... Lord Harrogate
Peter Barkworth ... Richard Sandman
Maurice Colbourne Maurice Colbourne ... Luke Armstrong
Susan Tebbs Susan Tebbs ... Violet Armstrong
Andrew Harrison Andrew Harrison ... Dave Sadler
Chloe Franks ... Alice Sandman
Benjie Bolgar Benjie Bolgar ... Tommy Sadler
Prunella Scales ... Mrs. Sandman
Leslie Sands Leslie Sands ... Foreman Sam Carter
Joe Gladwin ... Bert
Jeremy Bulloch ... Ginger
Derek Newark Derek Newark
Duncan Lamont
Ian Hogg
Richard Warner


When the owner of a Yorkshire coal-mine decides to mechanize to increase profits, the mine's pit ponies are scheduled to be destroyed. So, three children plan to steal them to keep them safe. But when they're caught, it's up to the mine owners and the miners themselves to decide what's right. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three Daring Adventurers! Clever enough to outsmart a town...brave enough to save it!


Family | Drama


G | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

11 March 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Littlest Horse Thieves See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was Duncan Lamont's final film before his death on December 19, 1978 at the age of 60. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

What a Clean Coal Mine It Must Be!
26 June 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Alastair Sim, in his last screen role, tasks the manager of his colliery with making it profitable. The proposed solution is to install machines to move the coal about and retire the pit ponies -- and by 'retire' is meant 'send them to the knackers.' Three of the children in the neighborhood work out a scheme to save them.

There's some inconsistency in the writing in this script, particularly in the way Sim's character behaves; it's surprising given the writers: Burt Kennedy and Rosemary Ann Sisson. I also never saw children who could muck about in coal pits and remain so clean as the three the movie centers on, not to mention pit ponies. Nonetheless, the performances are excellence, and Chloe Franks gives a particularly lively and engaging performance. Good location shooting in Yorkshire adds to the pleasures of the film. All in all, it's a strong Disney movie, with milder humor and some actual fear and sadness under the direction of Charles Jarrott.

Equines of many types were used in the mines. In the US, it was mostly mules, but in Britain, it was ponies, who could move through the confined spaces more easily. the first recorded use of ponies was in Durham about 1750. In 1887 the British government began to regulate their use, and the Pit Ponies' Protection Society (later the National Equine Defense League) was founded in 1907. Ponies' use peaked in 1913, with an estimated 70,000 working underground. Use declined with rising mechanization, and the last known pit pony, "Robbie" retired from a Welsh mine in 1999. The last known living pit pony was Tony who died in 2011 aged 40 at the Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed