Secretariat parents guide

Secretariat Parent Guide

The story of this thundering equine and his come-from-behind victories will give families plenty to cheer for at the finish line.

Overall A

When business looks bad for her father's company, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) takes over his horse stables, even though she is only a housewife. Hiring an experienced trainer (John Malkovich) she bets everything on a promising animal named Secretariat. This movie is based on the true story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner.

Release date October 8, 2010

Violence A-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use B-

Why is Secretariat rated PG? The MPAA rated Secretariat PG for brief mild language.

Run Time: 120 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Only eleven horses in history have ever done it. The last one cinched it in 1978. Needless to say, winning the U.S. Triple Crown of horse racing is a grueling feat—three races in three states in five weeks. In the movie Secretariat, audiences follow one horse and his owner through the taxing attempt to earn their way into that trio of prestigious winner’s circles.

In 1968, Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lang) travels with her family from Denver to Doswell, Virginia to attend her mother’s funeral at her parents’ horse breeding estate. With her father (Scott Glenn) suffering from deteriorating mental health, the farm’s finances have fallen into trouble. So when her husband (Dylan Walsh) and children (Amanda Michalka, Carissa Capobianco, Sean Michael Cunningham and Jacob Rhodes) need to return to Colorado, she decides to stay behind. Though her brother Hollis (Dylan Baker) is eager to sell the place and recoup what money they can, Penny determines to get their operation out of the red.

Her first move is to hire a new trainer, Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich). The cranky French-Canadian wears garish clothes and regularly grumbles about his responsibilities. But he is there the night the Chenery’s mare delivers a colt. Pinning their hopes for the future on the little thoroughbred, Penny and the groom Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis) watch with Lucien as the foal clambers to his feet just moments after he is born.

In the meantime, Penny slacks up on the reins as a housewife. Relying increasingly on her family to keep things running at home, she stays close to the stables as the young stallion is prepared for the track. However after Secretariat falters during his first race with an inexperienced jockey in the saddle, Penny appeals to Ron Turcotte (Otto Thorwarth) to put on the farm’s blue and white silks.

Knowing the outcome of Secretariat’s historic run for the roses doesn’t distract from the gripping story surrounding the big, red runner. Compelling performances from a large cast—even those with limited screen time—help create convincing characters who often take on incredible risks to see their dreams through.

While raised voices and some sibling disputes are the result of growing tensions over Secretariat’s future, the script is almost entirely free of profanities. The use of alcohol is most often seen at social gatherings, though Penny eases her sadness over her father’s death with a drink.

Still the story of this thundering equine and his come-from-behind victories will give families plenty to cheer for at the finish line.

Directed by Randall Wallace. Starring Diane Lane, Scott Glenn, James Cromwell, John Malkovich. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release October 8, 2010. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Secretariat rated PG? Secretariat is rated PG by the MPAA for brief mild language.

Violence: A man dies from natural causes. Brief combative verbal discussions take place between characters on several occasions.

Sexual Content: A bodily function is briefly commented on.

Language: One mild swear word and some name-calling is included in the script.

Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink at social events. A woman drinks after the death of her father.

Other: An injured man is shown after a riding accident.

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Secretariat Parents' Guide

How does Penny’s determination pay off in the end? What sacrifices do she and her family make? Who else takes risks in this story?

What limitations did many women face during this era? How does she handle the opposition from others in the industry? Do you agree with her mantra that a person should run at life? What might have happened if Secretariat had not won the Triple Crown?

While Penny had a dream, it took many other people to make it a reality. What impact did her father have on her? Who else contributed to the success of this horse?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Secretariat movie is January 25, 2011. Here are some details…

Secretariat releases on 25 January 2011, in two packages. Secretariat on DVD includes:

- Heart of A Champion

- 3 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace

- Music video: It’s Who You Are, by AJ Michalka

Secretariat: Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo also offers:

- Heart of A Champion

- Choreographing the Races

- A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation with The Real Penny Chenery

- Audio commentary by director Randall Wallace

- 7 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace

- Secretariat multi-angle simulation

- Music video: It’s Who You Are, by AJ Michalka

Related home video titles:

Seabiscuit is also based on the life of a real horseracing legend. More fiction than fact is the tale of another high stakes competitor Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story. Nelsan Ellis, who plays the groom in this film, stars as the compassionate and hardworking director of an inner city homeless facility in The Soloist.