Hidalgo: Cowboys vs. Desert Storms

Wild Wild West meets Arabian Nights: if you’ve ever been enthralled by the romantisation of the Cowboy lifestyle, Hidalgo is for you. This action-packed adventure film tells the somewhat true story of long-distance rider Frank T. Hopkins and his legendary horse Hidalgo, who in the 1890s competed in a 3000 mile race across the Arabian desert.

Hidalgo (2004): Based on the true story of Frank T. Hopkins; running-time 2h 16mins.; starring Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings), Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago), Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash).

Since I have recently taken up horse riding again, I was reminded of this film and how much I loved the story of the friendship between Frank and Hidalgo. But the more I thought about the film, the more I remembered that it tells a much more complex and profound story, one of cultural identity, racism, and taking pride in your heritage.

And here’s another true story that’ll warm your cockles: when the film was wrapped, Viggo Mortensen, who had previously purchased the horses that played Aragorn’s stallion “Brego” in The Lord of the Rings, bought the horse that played Hidalgo.

What’s it about? The true story of Frank T. Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo, who in the 1890s were invited to compete in a legendary race across the Arabian desert.

What’s it really about? Being proud of your heritage

Pick if:

  • You are looking for an adventure film to watch with your family, your friends, or on your own: Hidalgo is an action-packed thrillride that’ll make you yell “yihaaa” at the screen
  • You’ve always been captivated by the romantisation of the Wild West and cowboy lifestyle
  • Or the aesthetic of the oriental cultures
  • You love horses: the eponymous Hildago is super cute. It needs to be said.
  • You detest Hollywood white washing:  Hidalgo is one of the few American films set in the Middle East that actually feature middle eastern actors, such as the incomparable Omar Sharif
  • You’re fond of Viggo Mortensen. Despite his rugged exterior, there’s just something really loveable about the guy isn’t there?


Most memorable scene: **********************SPOILER***********************

With Frank and Hidalgo winning the race, the Sheikh loses his bet with the cowboy. But Frank gives him the colt he admires anyway because he says “He has won a friend”.

Most memorable quote: “Mister… you can say anything you want about me. I’m gonna have to ask you not to talk about my horse that way.” – Frank

Best Friends Forever: Cowboy Frank T. Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo

Where can I watch? Hidalgo is available for streaming on YouTube, Maxdome as well as Netflix Colombia, Mexico and Argentina. And it’s for rent on Amazon and iTunes.


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