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The Derby Stallion Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Horse story has positive message, some intense themes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Derby Stallion is a family-friendly horse tale starring Zac Efron, pre-High School Musical. Although there's almost no bad language (one use of "ass") and very little sexy stuff (a couple of kisses and some light flirting), there is some frank talk about alcoholism, race, and class. There also are some references to death, including someone falling from a horse and the death of a main character, which may be too intense for young viewers.

  • Families can talk about alcoholism. How do you think Houston's troubled past contributed to his problem with alcohol? Why do you think some people struggle with addiction and others don't?
  • Why do you think people like Randy bully other kids?
  • What's your favorite horse movie? Why is it your favorite?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The strongest message is to follow your dreams and your heart, even if others think it's not right for you. There's also a strong emphasis on friendship and supporting your friends no matter what.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Although Houston is shown to be an alcoholic, he's a positive role model when he owns up to his problem and quits drinking. Patrick also is a good role model when he continues to stand up for Houston against the local bullies and when he goes after his dreams.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The death of a character's loved one from falling from her horse is detailed in a flashback. The actual accident isn't shown, though you do see her body afterward. A main character dies, though it's also not shown in a violent or graphic way. A town bully threatens to beat up Patrick and acts aggressively toward him and other characters.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Patrick's parents are shown kissing and being affectionate, and there's one pretty deep kiss between Jill and Patrick.

  • language false1

    Language: One character refers to another as a "horse's ass."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Houston is referred to by the other characters as an alcoholic, and he's shown drinking out of a flask. But he does own up to his problem and quits drinking. Alcohol isn't glamorized at all, and drinking is frowned upon by the rest of the characters, especially Patrick's parents, who have concerns about Patrick spending time with an adult who drinks heavily.

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