This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

And They’re Off: A Critical Examination of the Horse Racing Film Subgenre




Murdock, Kayleigh

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


Horse racing, the ‘Sport of Kings,’ has been a popular sport in American culture for centuries, and the sport has been depicted on film continuously since the medium’s emergence. Numerous feature films have focused on both fictional stories of racehorses and narratives that were “based on a true story.” The depictions of horses in these films have changed in dramatic ways since the genre’s advent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; horses have gone from insignificant background characters to titular characters. However, there are ideologically concerning elements of the representations of racehorses on screen. Namely, these films tend to brush over the harsh realities of horse racing as it exists today, which has the impact to influence audiences’ understandings of the sport to the ultimate detriment of the horses involved.