War Horse is a 2011 war drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, adapted from English author Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel of the same name. The film’s cast includes Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Marsan, Niels Arestrup, Toby Kebbell, David Kross and Peter Mullan. Set before and during World War I ,Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey, live on a farm in the British countryside. At the outbreak of World War I, Albert and Joey are forcibly parted when Albert’s father sells the horse to the British cavalry. Against the backdrop of the Great War, Joey begins an odyssey full of danger, joy and sorrow, and he transforms everyone he meets along the way. Meanwhile Albert, unable to forget his equine friend, searches the battlefields of France to find Joey and bring him home.
During Word War I, more than one millions of British, Allied and Commonwealth horses, donkeys and mules lost in the hellish conditions of the First World War battlefields. They dragged their weary, bleeding bodies through shell craters and energy-sapping mud to carry ammunition and food to the Tommies fighting on the front line in France and Flanders. On the journey back, half-crazed by gunfire and the shells exploding all around them, they carried the bodies of the men who didn’t make it. Thousands of horses were mown down by German machine-guns as their heroic riders mounted fruitless cavalry charges, pitting swords and lances against automatic weapons. Others toiled ceaselessly to pull heavy artillery into position. They never gave up, they never complained â€“ because they couldn’t. They were innocent animals pressganged into serving King and country in a terrible war started by man. Of the one million horses that were taken from farms, fields and stables in this country, only 62,000 survived when the Great War ended in 1918.
The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, two Golden Globe Awards and five BAFTAs. War Horse grossed $79,859,441 domestically and $97,200,000 overseas, for a worldwide total of $177,584,879 million. Although not one of Spielberg’s biggest box office successes, it was the highest grossing World War I film of all time until Wonder Woman, five years later.