Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frederik Du Chau|
|Written by||David Schmidt|
M. Emmet Walsh
Michael Clarke Duncan
Fred Dalton Thompson
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Edited by||Tom Finan|
|Box office||$90.8 million|
Racing Stripes is a 2005 American sports comedy family film directed by Frederik Du Chau. The film was produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Lloyd Phillips and Edward L. McDonnell, based on a script written by David Schmidt, Steven P. Wegner and Kirk DeMicco. It was released theatrically on January 14, 2005 by Summit Entertainment and Warner Bros..
The film tells the story of Stripes, a circus zebra who is accidentally abandoned in Kentucky and raised on a farm next to a racing track. Believing he is a racehorse, Stripes dreams of training for and competing in the races. The film stars Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Greenwood, Wendie Malick and M. Emmet Walsh, with the vocal and voice talents of Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jeff Foxworthy, Joshua Jackson, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Rosenbaum, Steve Harvey, David Spade, Snoop Dogg, Fred Dalton Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Whoopi Goldberg.
It was filmed in Pietermaritzburg and Nottingham Road, South Africa. The film received mixed reviews from critics and it earned $90 million. Racing Stripes was released on DVD and VHS on May 10, 2005 by Roadshow Entertainment and Warner Home Video.
During a thunderstorm, a traveling circus accidentally leaves behind a baby zebra (Jansen Panettiere) after replacing a flat tire. The foal is rescued by widower and former racehorse trainer Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), and is taken to his farm where his daughter, Channing (Hayden Panettiere) names him Stripes. He meets a Shetland pony named Tucker (Dustin Hoffman); a goat, Franny (Whoopi Goldberg); and a rooster, Reggie (Jeff Foxworthy). Stripes soon becomes convinced that he is destined for the nearby racetrack, the Kentucky Open, not realizing that he is a zebra and is not qualified to race. Two foals named Trenton's Pride and Ruffshodd decide to race Stripes until they are stopped by Pride's father, Kentucky Open champion Sir Trenton (Fred Dalton Thompson).
Three years later, after racing the mailman, an adult Stripes (Frankie Muniz) meets an Arabian filly named Sandy (Mandy Moore) and develops a crush on her after losing to the mailman in their usual race. While talking to Sandy, he is approached by Pride (Joshua Jackson) and Ruffshodd (Michael Rosenbaum), Stripes' tormentors since childhood. Pride challenges Stripes to a racing match on a Blue Moon night; he accepts, but loses the race. The following day, Tucker, having secretly watched Stripes, approaches him and suggests that he gets proper training first. Stripes, in need of a rider, chooses Chan and convinces a new farm animal, a pelican named Goose (Joe Pantoliano), to sabotage Chan's motorcycle and Old Blue, Nolan's old pickup truck, so that Chan can ride him to her workplace at the Kentucky Open. The plan works, and Chan, with Nolan's reluctant approval, rides Stripes to the Kentucky Open. There, Chan is antagonized by her boss, Clara Dalrymple (Wendie Malick), for bringing Stripes to the racetrack, while Stripes meets a pair of horsefly brothers, Buzz and Scuzz (Steve Harvey and David Spade).
As night approaches, Chan, remembering her first ride on horseback with her mother, completes a lap around the track with Stripes. They are approached by Woodzie (M. Emmet Walsh), a racetrack gambler and old friend of the family, who encourages Chan to sign her and Stripes up for a tryout race tomorrow. She does, despite Nolan's disapproval stemming from his wife's death in a racing accident six years ago, which discouraged him to continue training horses after that, but Stripes has a major meltdown after being easily scared by the horse-gate like all the other horses the next morning at the tryouts. Once he calms down, he begins running, but then gets hit in the face by flying dirt while racing, causing Chan to fall off. Though she is uninjured, Nolan chastises her. Then, Dalrymple sarcastically signs Stripes up to compete in the Kentucky Open competition. Meanwhile, Stripes realizes he is a zebra after being told off by Sir Trenton, which severely discourages him. Despite Chan's pleas, Nolan refuses to let her race Stripes. Realizing this, the farm animals lure Nolan into the farm to show him a table holding his past accomplishments and he changes his mind. Meanwhile, due to Stripes' misbehavior during training, Franny reveals to Stripes that Tucker helped Nolan train the racehorse champions including Sir Trenton without getting any thanks, which encourages him to begin training.
Refusing to allow Stripes to race, Sir Trenton and several thoroughbreds ambush Stripes and Sandy at a creek as they are talking and making up for their previous argument one night, kidnapping Sandy and threatening to hurt her if he races. The next day, after rescuing Stripes, Tucker, Franny, and Goose agree to rescue Sandy. They do it (with a little help from Buzz and Scuzz) and get back in time for Stripes to go to the race. Before the race, Nolan bets Dalrymple that if he wins then he gets Sandy, and if he loses then he will come back to work for her. During the race, Ruffshodd tries to stop Stripes from winning until Scuzz deliberately gets him disqualified. Later, Stripes begins to wear out until he finally remembers something Tucker taught him, which boosts up his confidence, and he wins the race and finally earns respect from the other racehorses, including Pride. In the end, they all pose together in a group photo which is later shown with the other previous Walsh wins.
Animals and Humans
- Stripes (Frankie Muniz), a foundling zebra who desires to compete in the Kentucky Open race, which leads to bullying from the local horses with the sole exception of Sandy, whom he has a crush on. His younger self was voiced by Jansen Panettiere, Hayden Panettiere's brother.
- Channing "Chan" Walsh (Hayden Panettiere), Nolan's free-spirited 16-year-old daughter who is determined to ride on horseback, and despite her lack of opportunity, she has a natural talent for it like her mother.
- Nolan "The Chief" Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), Channing's widowed father, a corn farmer, and retired racehorse trainer who has not been able to bear training horses ever since his wife Carolyn was killed when her racehorse stumbled a few years ago. Fearing that Channing will hurt herself if she rides, he refuses to let her anywhere near a saddle. Until almost the end of the movie, where he finally wants to help Channing and Stripes for the big race and finally encourages them in the race.
- Tucker (Dustin Hoffman), a Shetland pony who used to help Nolan train racehorses, including Sir Trenton. He presents himself with a grumpy demeanor after years of training ungrateful horses before retiring.
- Sheriff Woodzie (M. Emmet Walsh), an old racetrack gambler and friend of the Walsh family. He sympathizes with Channing, especially since he sees the same gift in her that was present in her mother.
- Clara Dalrymple (Wendie Malick), Nolan's former employer and Channing's boss, who admires Trenton's Pride and Ruffshodd and only sees the Kentucky Open competition as a means of business and money and is not concerned for the well-being of her horses.
- John Cooper (Gary Bullock), one of the racehorse trainers for the Kentucky Open. He doesn't share his boss, Dalrymple's views on pushing her horses past their limits, but continues to follow her instructions in order to get his paychecks.
- Franny (Whoopi Goldberg), an elderly Saanen goat who constantly encourages Stripes to pursue his dream and gives him many words of advice. She seems to be the only animal on the farm aware of how upset Tucker is about his retirement.
- Sandy (Mandy Moore), a professional jumper Arabian filly. She is the only horse who supports Stripes' dream to become a racehorse. She and Stripes have romantic feelings for each other, which become mutual by the end of the film.
- Buzz and Scuzz (Steve Harvey and David Spade), a pair of Horsefly brothers who serve as the film's comic relief and are good friends with Tucker. Buzz is larger and has blue eyes, while Scuzz is scrawnier and has red eyes. The brothers have a different tastes in music: Scuzz is a rap fan, while Buzz favors more classical songs.
- Reggie (Jeff Foxworthy), the Walsh farm's rooster, who means well, but is not very bright. He serves as the news announcer for the rest of the farm animals.
- Goose (Joe Pantoliano), a New York-accented American white pelican from the big city. He states that he moved to the farm in order to escape several other birds who have placed a hit on him, and that he was a "hit bird". It is presumably his experiences that render him afraid of loud noises.
- Sir Trenton (Fred Dalton Thompson), an arrogant black Thoroughbred horse who sees his son, Trenton's Pride, as having no purpose other than to carry on the Trenton legacy. He also seems to view the Kentucky Open competition as his property, which leads to his antagonistic nature towards Stripes, whom he believes might ruin it. He is also one of Tucker's ungrateful former racehorses-in-training before Nolan and Tucker retired from training.
- Trenton's Pride (Joshua Jackson), Sir Trenton's son, who is a bully and picks on Stripes every chance he gets but still believes in winning a race the fair and honest way unlike his father and other horses. However, by the end of the film, he makes up and becomes friends with Stripes, having become impressed with his racing ability. His younger self was voiced by Kyle Alcazar.
- Ruffshodd (Michael Rosenbaum), Pride's friend and lackey. At first, it seems that he bullies Stripes with Pride merely out of sycophancy for the latter and fear of Pride's father, but in reality, he is a worse bully by far, proving quite eager to help Sir Trenton in threatening Sandy in order to keep Stripes from running in the Kentucky Open. This is further evidenced when he persistently tries to sabotage Stripes during the Kentucky Open competition. His younger self was voiced by Frankie Ryan Manriquez.
- Lightning (Snoop Dogg), the family's lazy Bloodhound who talks while asleep.
- Clydesdale (Michael Clarke Duncan), a Clydesdale horse who acts as an MC and oversees the Bluemoon races.
- Phil Proctor as Trenton's Henchhorse #1
- Bob Bergen
- Mona Marshall
- Chris Edgerly
- David Cowgill
- Jess Harnell
- Jason Harris
- Robert Clotworthy
- Gail Thomas as Reporters
- Al Rodrigo
- Paul Pape
- Victoria Hoffman
- Eddie Frierson
- Nicholas Guest
- Bob Neill
On September 10, 2002, it was announced that Frederik Du Chau was hired and set to direct Racing Stripes. David Schmidt, Steven P. Wegner and Kirk DeMicco wrote the script for the film. Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Lloyd Phillips and Edward L. McDonnell produced the film with the budget of $30 million for release in 2005. On 22 November, it was announced that Bruce Greenwood, Hayden Panettiere, M. Emmet Walsh, Wendie Malick, Gary Bullock, Frankie Muniz, Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Mandy Moore, Jeff Foxworthy, Joe Pantoliano, Fred Dalton Thompson, Joshua Jackson, Michael Rosenbaum, Snoop Dogg, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Harvey and David Spade joined the film. On March 25, 2003, it was announced that Mark Isham would compose the music for the film.
During production of the film, Hayden Panettiere was thrown off a zebra and ended up hospitalized with a concussion and a pinched nerve in her neck. The producers forbade her from mentioning the injury during publicity for the film; she finally revealed it during a 2013 episode of British talk show The Graham Norton Show.
Plot details and coincidences
Racing Stripes has many plot similarities to the later-released Disney movie, Herbie: Fully Loaded. In fact, an Image Search for "Racing Stripes" on Yahoo revealed pictures of Herbie (due to his design) much sooner than it did any pictures pertaining to Racing Stripes. According to Ripley's Believe It or Not, at least one person has succeeded in training and riding a zebra as a racehorse. In the movie, Shetland pony Tucker says he has "shorter legs than a sheepdog", which is probably a reference to the Shetland sheepdog and also mentions a "Chicken Run" in a conversation with young Stripes on his first day on the Walsh farm. Scuzz once calls himself "Luke Scuzzwalker", a reference to the Star Wars character, Luke Skywalker. Goose's remark towards Tucker ("Hey, be careful, Pony-Boy, or someday someone's gonna wake up with your head in their bed!") contains references to The Outsiders and The Godfather and his remark to Dalrymple ("Say hello to my little friend.") is a reference to Scarface. Reggie states: "If you build it, they will come." is a reference to Field of Dreams after Nolan plows the race track in the corn field and yells out: "Good Morning, Walsh farm" in Robin Williams' style at the beginning of a day in reference to Good Morning, Vietnam.
The film's score was composed by Mark Isham, who also produced and co-wrote "Taking the Inside Rail" with Sting; "It Ain't Over Yet," heard with Channing and Nolan train Stripes and at the end of the film, was written by Bryan Adams, Gretchen Peters and Eliot Kennedy and produced by Adams. The soundtrack album was released on January 11, 2005 on the Varese Sarabande label.
- Taking the Inside Rail - Sting
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
- At Home on Walsh Farm
- I'm a Racehorse!
- The Blue Moon Races
- A Pelican Named Goose
- Tucker Lays It Out!
- Goose Makes a Hit on the Iron Horse
- Run Like the Wind
- Twilight Run
- Upstaged by a Zebra
- A Brave Decision
- Glory Days
- If You Build It, They Will Come
- Out of Africa
- Spring Training
- Filly in Distress
- Race Day
- They're All In!
- The Big Race
- In The Winner's Circle
- It Ain't Over Yet - Bryan Adams
- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Ennio Morricone
- My Girl – Steve Harvey
- U Can't Touch This – David Spade
- Here Comes The Hotstepper - David Spade
- Ebony and Ivory - Steve Harvey and David Spade
- Overture, from 'Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)' K.492 - Hungarian State Orchestra
- Exsultate, jubillate, K.165 - Kosice Teachers' Choir/Camerata Cassovia
- Walk This Way - Run-D.M.C.
- The National Anthem USA
- Who Let The Dogs Out? - Steve Harvey and David Spade
Racing Stripes was theatrically released on January 14, 2005 by Summit Entertainment and Warner Bros..
Racing Stripes was released on DVD and VHS on May 10, 2005 by Roadshow Entertainment and Warner Home Video.
The film was a modest success at the box office, having covered its budget. It grossed $49,000,000 at the American box office and an additional $40,000,000 at the international box office.
Critical reaction to the film was mixed to negative, with the movie scoring 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 99 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "An entertaining children movie that ought to be tolerable for adults." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 43 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.
- International Film Music Critics Award (IFMCA) 2005
|IFMCA Award||Best Original Score for a Comedy Film||Mark Isham||Nominated|
- Teen Choice Awards 2005
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie: Animated/Computer Generated||Frederik Du Chau||Nominated|
- The Graham Norton Show - S13E10 - Dan Stevens, Hayden Panettiere & Micky Flanagan, YouTube
- "Racing Stripes". rottentomatoes.com. 14 January 2005.
- "Racing Stripes". Metacritic.
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