Skip to Content

11 The Black Stallion Movie Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

11 The Black Stallion Movie Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

The Black Stallion, an iconic film released in 1979, has since its inception, delighted audiences with its riveting story of friendship and adventure.

The movie, adapted from Walter Farley’s enduring children’s novel, showcases the remarkable bond between a young boy, Alec, and a majestic Arabian stallion.

While the film’s narrative is well known, there are many fascinating aspects of its production and influence that often go unsung.

Our list of facts delves into those intriguing details, shedding light on the elements that together make The Black Stallion a timeless classic.

1. Kelly Reno, Who Played Alec, Accepted the Role Because He Wanted To Learn to Swim

Kelly Reno, who was 12 at the time of the film, accepted the role because he wanted to learn to swim. In order to film the movie’s underwater scenes, Reno took swim lessons prior to filming.

2. Reno Had No Problem Filming the Riding Scenes

Reno, actor from The Black Stallion

Since Reno grew up on a ranch in southern California, he did many of the riding and action scenes himself in the movie. However, his acting career was cut short after he sustained serious injuries from a car accident. After the accident, he spent 20 years working on a cattle ranch.

3. The Black Stallion Was Filmed All Over the World

To achieve the stunning scenes throughout the movie, several film locations were used worldwide. The locations used for shooting the movie include Toronto, Sardinia, and Rome.

4. Four Horses Were Used for the Black Stallion

During the filming process, four main horses were used to portray the Black. Cass Ole and Fae Jur were The two horses used the most during filming.

Cass Ole appeared in 80% of the movie’s scenes. The Arabian had to have his white leg markings and white star painted black in order to appear pure black.

Though he was used for the majority of the role, his owners stated that he was not to be used for any racing, swimming and fighting scenes.

5. Cass Ole Was a National Horse Riding Champion in Real Life

The stunning Arabian had a successful showing career before becoming a movie star and even won a national championship. In 1975, Cass Ole was a national champion in Arabian Western Pleasure.

A year later, he was a reserve national champion in Arabian Ladies Side Saddle, and in 1976 as well as 1977 he finished in the top ten in Arabian English Pleasure.

Throughout his time as a show horse, he won over 50 championships and 20 reserve championships. Over his seven-year show career, he won the high point King Saud Trophy of the American Horse Show Association (now known as the United States Equestrian Federation).

6. Other Horses Had to Be Brought In For the Swimming Scenes

Even though there were four main horses used for the Black, none of them were comfortable in the water for the swimming scenes. Horses had to be brought in France’s Camargue region, which contains the largest river delta in Western Europe.

The horses brought in were gray, so they had to be painted black in order to fit the part.

7. The Most Difficult Scene to Film Was the Shipwreck

The Black Stallion Shipwreck movie scene setting

Reno has recalled that the hardest scene to film for the movie was the shipwreck. The scene was shot at night and the crew added smoke, rain, and wind to create the effect of a storm.

Reno filmed the majority of the scenes in a tank that he couldn’t touch the bottom of while the crew produced waves.

While Reno and the Black were filming in the water in the foreground, a realistic-looking ship was being burned behind them. It was filmed at Cinecittà Studios and took three weeks to get all the footage.

8. The Producers Originally Wanted The Famed Stallion El Mokhtar for the Role

Originally, the producers were wanting to cast the Arabian El Mokhtar for the role. El Mokhtar was an Eytptian bred stallion that was highly prized for his incredible bloodlines.

Though El Mokhtar’s owners wouldn’t let him be featured in The Black Stallion, he ended up starting in the sequel The Black Stallion Returns alongside Cass Ole.

9. The Black Stallion Made $38 Million At the Box Office

The film was a big hit at the box office, making an impressive $38 million. The budget for the film was about $4 million, proving the film to be a success.

10. Author Walter Farley Was Skeptical on His Book Being Made Into a Movie

When author Walter Farley first heard talk of his book becoming a film, he was skeptical. Farley was worried that his novel would not translate well to the big screen.

Fortunately, he was happy with the outcome of the movie as it succeeded in his expectations.

See an interview with The Black Stallion’s cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel, below:

11. The Black Stallion’s Influence on Horse Movies

The Black Stallion had a lasting impact on the genre of horse movies. Its unique blend of adventure, friendship, and the connection between humans and animals set a standard for future films in the genre.

From National Velvet to War Horse, later horse-centric films would follow in the footsteps of The Black Stallion, striving to capture the same magic and emotional resonance.

Mary Ann Mori

Thursday 16th of March 2023

The Black Stallion is a very beautiful movie for young AND old.

Rick Tooke

Wednesday 15th of March 2023

We're did Docs Keeping Time played Black Beauty?


Tuesday 24th of January 2023

This is one of the best films ever made. The story line is awesome and brings out the child in adults and children. It brings out the best for people because it is about survival, commitment, resilience, hope and dreams, love, respect and discipline. The hope of the individual, the elder wiseman who quietly shared his views( the man with the white horse), the patient loving mother, the forgotten jockey all played such important roles to the young boy. Where is that man today? There is too much violence in present day movies. Is that because we live in that kind of culture?


Saturday 13th of August 2022

My absolute favorite movie as a kid, most of my friends had horses. I took many lessons. Now I have black standard poodles from grand champion blood lines. Not exactly the same but they do prance and command attention. Most people ask me if my dogs are influencers, so funny. I’d give anything to be riding but I need lower back surgery and or sI joint surgery, which I have refused. So now I admire.

Dolores Campbell

Thursday 10th of December 2020

I loved the book and was excited to see it made into a movie. I was not disappointed ; it was a great movie to watch over and over again.