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The Gift Horse

Where to Watch The Gift Horse


The Gift Horse, released in 1952, is a compelling World War II movie that showcases the fighting spirit, resilience, and determination of the British Navy. This film, directed by Compton Bennett and starring notable actors Trevor Howard, Richard Attenborough, and Sonny Tufts, combines elements of engaging war film drama, historical authenticity, and gripping storytelling.

The narrative follows the fortunes of a crew placed aboard an old World War I destroyer, humorously and affectingly nicknamed 'HMS Ballantrae' which is also a nod to an actual warship, 'HMS Campbeltown,' from the era. This seemingly unworthy vessel is not only held together with leftover parts and sheer will but carries with it a mish-mash of returned servicemen and new recruits who deviate from the standard norms of military discipline. Trevor Howard takes on the role of Lieutenant Commander Fraser, a stern yet empathetic veteran who, despite initially being viewed with suspicion, slowly wins over the crew with his forthright approach, leadership skills, and ability to motivate.

Richard Attenborough also delivers a compelling performance in his role as Dripper Daniels, a man who is as passionate about the ship as Commander Fraser. He reflects the rough-and-ready humor and indomitable British spirit that audiences would associate with the working-class crews of these vessels.

Sonny Tufts lends an air of international camaraderie playing the hot-headed yet likable Lieutenant Commander "Yank" Flanagan, an American officer assigned to HMS Ballantrae. Injecting a transatlantic element to the film, his character brings a refreshing dynamic to the narrative and the ship's multinational crew. Further adding complexity is the inclusion of a small group of Norwegian Partisans, highlighting the collaboration between different countries against the common enemy.

The Gift Horse shines a light on the behind-the-scenes endeavors of the British Navy during the Second World War, illustrating how strategy, courage, tenacity, and a fair share of luck could turn an old, decrepit vessel into a real threat. The film does an excellent job of developing characters that are both deeply human and heroically larger than life, all the while skillfully navigating the nuances of wartime camaraderie and sacrifice. It strikes a balance between portraying the gritty realities of naval warfare and targeted raids with moments of broad humor, humanity, and warmth.

The Gift Horse serves as a tribute to those unsung heroes who gave their all to win the war, armed with nothing but their wits, bravery, and a ship that many regarded as a joke - a veritable gift horse. The film exemplifies British determination despite the direst circumstances and uses the setting to probe the depths of human spirit and resilience.

Moreover, the credible performances, impressive set pieces, and special effects lay the groundwork for immersive and suspenseful naval and battle sequences, making the audience feel as though they're right there in the thick of it. The action is wonderfully contrasted with quieter, introspective moments where the characters' humanity and depth come to the fore, creating a heartfelt and holistic World War II story.

The film's tension builds up gradually, culminating in a daring mission. Here, the viewers are offered a glimpse into the authentic naval warfare tactics, maneuvers, and strategies that constitute the heart of the premise. The production is grounded in historical reality—its most memorable scenes are inspired by actual events, which lends an air of authenticity and seriousness to the overall cinematic experience.

To wrap it up, The Gift Horse is a definitive World War II movie that does justice to its historical setting, maintains an engaging storyline, and presents complex characters who embody the courage and spirit of an entire generation. It continues to captivate audiences with its authenticity, drama, and depiction of war, making it a must-watch for anyone intrigued by maritime history or World War II.

The Gift Horse is a Adventure, War, Drama movie released in 1952. It has a runtime of 95. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.3..

How to Watch The Gift Horse

Where can I stream The Gift Horse movie online? The Gift Horse is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Gift Horse for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Compton Bennett
Trevor Howard, richard Attenbourough
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