A young introverted boy, Paul (John Howard Davies), receives a new and strange looking rocking horse for Christmas. His imagination for the toy is fired by handyman and ex-stable boy Bassett (John Mills), who fills the youngsters head with tales of horse racing and teaches him to ride like a jockey. When his father, Richard (Hugh Sinclair), a gambler with huge debts, is told by family friend, Uncle Oscar (Ronald Squire), that both he and his spendthrift wife Hester (Valerie Hobson) must curb their squandering ways — the house seems to whisper menacingly to Paul "we need more money". When his father loses his job, the family find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. A solution to their financial problems arrives when Paul develops an uncanny knack of predicting race winners with alarming accuracy with the aid of his lucky rocking horse. Meanwhile his Uncle Oscar and Bassett unwittingly exploit the boy's talents but there is tragedy waiting around the corner. Despite becoming fabulously wealthy, his family squander the money just as quickly as he earns it and Paul soon exhausts himself trying to keep pace with the adult's greed for another winner.
This should be better known.
- The Rocking Horse Winner review by Steve Mason
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You rated this film: 4
Very good and unusual British film based on a DH Lawrence short story, about a boy who, when riding his rocking horse, can predict the winners of horse races... Only its really about the boys (Freudian) need for his mother, and for the kinds of neuroses that develop in childhood.
Doesn't really work on the surface, as there's no sensible reason why he should be able to predict horse winners so successfully. But it is wonderfully filmed, with a great score. Quite unsettling and very subtle. Though a bit 50s-posh.