Racing Stripes is a 2005 American sports comedy-drama 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. Racing Stripes stars Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Greenwood, Wendie Malick and M. Emmet Walsh, with the vocal 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. The foal is rescued by widower Nolan Walsh, a former Thoroughbred-racehorse trainer who retired when his wife, Carolyn, a jockey, died in a racing accident years ago. Nolan takes the zebra home to his farm and leaves it under the care of his daughter, Channing "Chan" Walsh, who names him "Stripes". Stripes befriends the other farmyard animals, including rooster Reggie, Saanen goat Franny, and Shetland pony Tucker. One day, he becomes convinced that he is destined for the nearby racetrack, the Kentucky Open, after watching a race, not realizing that he is a zebra and is not qualified to race.
Three years later, after racing the mailman, an adult Stripes meets a Lipizzaner mare named Sandy and develops a crush on her after losing to the mailman in their usual race. While talking to Sandy, he is approached by Trenton's Pride and Ruffshodd, Stripes' tormentors since childhood. Pride challenges Stripes to a racing match at an unofficial racetrack in the valley called the Blue Moon Races; he accepts, but loses the race after losing his footing on a muddy turn and falling into the bushes. 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, to sabotage Chan's motorcycle and Nolan's old pickup truck so that Chan can ride him to her workplace at Turfway Park. The plan works, and Chan, with Nolan's reluctant approval, rides Stripes to Turfway Park. There, Chan is antagonized by her boss, Clara Dalrymple, for bringing Stripes to the racetrack, while Stripes meets a pair of horsefly brothers, Buzz and Scuzz.
As night approaches, Chan, remembering her first ride on horseback with her mother, completes a lap around the racetrack with Stripes. They are approached by Woodzie, 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, but Stripes becomes scared by the horse-gate, and 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 Pride's father, Sir Trenton, which severely discourages him. Despite Chan's pleas, Nolan refuses to let her race with 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, 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 one night, kidnapping Sandy and threatening to hurt her if he races. Stripes, Tucker, Franny, and Goose agree to rescue Sandy. With Buzz and Scuzz's help, they rescue Sandy from the stables. They then rush back to the farm, where Nolan, Chan, and Woodzie take Stripes and Tucker to the Kentucky Open. When the race begins, Stripes is unable to keep up with the other racehorses, and several other jockeys try to sabotage him including Ruffshodd. However, he remembers a piece of advice given to him by Tucker. This encourages him to catch up with Pride, who is in the lead, and Stripes manages to win. Impressed, Pride makes amends with Stripes, while an unsatisfied Dalrymple is embarrassed when Goose shoots bird droppings on her hat in public. As Nolan and Chan are awarded, Stripes approaches Tucker and gives him his award wreath as thanks. At the end of the film, Stripes, Chan, Nolan, and all of Stripes' animal friends take their picture together.
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 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 want to help Channing and Stripe for the big race and finally encourage 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's 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), an 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.
- Trenton's Pride (Joshua Jackson), Sir Trenton's son, who is a bully and picks on Stripes every chance he gets. However, by the end of the film, he makes up 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, 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 oversees the Bluemoon races.
- Phil Proctor
- 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
Plot details and coincidences
- Main article: Racing Stripes (soundtrack)
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: "Racing Stripes might be good for a few laps with younger viewers, but it's too blandly predictable to truly recommend for an all-ages audience." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 43 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.