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» » Ride a Wild Pony (1975)

Short summary

Scott, a poor farm boy, is given a wild pony from a wealthy ranch owner's herd to ride to and from school. Scott and his pony soon become an inseparable team, until one day the pony ... See full summary
Scott, a poor farm boy, is given a wild pony from a wealthy ranch owner's herd to ride to and from school. Scott and his pony soon become an inseparable team, until one day the pony suddenly disappears. Soon after, the ranch owner's handicapped daughter Josie has a wild pony especially trained to pull her cart. But Scott is convinced that Josie's pony is actually his, which leads to a court battle that divides their small Australian town. One child must ultimately lose the pony when true ownership is decided...

Trailers "Ride a Wild Pony (1975)"

Actor Robert Bettles had an accident during filming. Bettles fell off a pony on the second day of shooting and was hesitant to ride it again.

First film debut for John Meillon Jr. (son of John Meillon) who plays Kit Quayle.

This movie was the first full-length Disney film to be shot in Australia. This fact was prominently mentioned on the Australian movie poster.

This movie was made and released about only two years after its source novel "A Sporting Proposition" by James Aldridge was first published in 1973.

This picture was filmed around October and November 1974.

This movie was originally intended to have its Australian story re-worked to an American setting.

Producer Jerome Courtland believed that an Australian background would not effect this movie's box-office potential in the USA and as such retained the source novel's Australian characters and setting.

Several Welsh mountain ponies featured in the production of this film.

First film debut for then child actor Robert Bettles.

This film was one of the first movies filmed in Australia to have a budget over $1 million ($1,312,500US in 1974).

Approximately $50,000 [Australian] of the film's budget went into production design re-creating a 1920s milieu.

This American financed picture was shot mostly in Australia and utilized a mainly Australian crew there.

The cast of this American financed Australian set and filmed production featured an all-Australian cast except for two actors: Eva Griffith and Michael Craig.

First of four films that the then child actor Robert Bettles made with American director Don Chaffey and all were filmed in Australia. The other films were Harness Fever (1977), Shimmering Light (1978) and the South Australian Film Corporation's The Fourth Wish (1976).

Michael Craig received top / first billing, John Meillon received second billing, Robert Bettles received third billing and Eva Griffith received fourth billing.

The home of Scotty Pirie (Robert Bettles) was filmed at an outback location between the towns of Bingara and Barraba in New South Wales, Australia. This place was four hundred miles from Sydney, the same state's capital city.

The Ellison Ranch was portrayed by "Belltrees", a 40-room homestead which was built in 1907. It is situated along the Hunter River near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

The production had to wait a week before they could film at the Australian homestead "Belltrees". This was because Prince Charles was staying there.

This movie was filmed in two Australian states: Victoria and New South Wales.

First theatrical feature film for Australian actress Lorraine Bayly who played Mrs. Ellison.

Appearing in this movie were father and son, John Meillon and John Meillon Jr..

First of two theatrical feature films that American director Don Chaffey made in Australia. The other film was The Fourth Wish (1976).

First of four films that American director Don Chaffey made in Australia. Two were tele-movies and two were theatrical features.

This film is sometimes mistakenly known under the alternative title of "Born to Run". That title was the UK title and working title for Harness Fever (1977) which also features a period time, horses and an Australian setting as well as the same director (Don Chaffey) and child actor lead (Robert Bettles).

The pony's real name was Frank.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Impala Frozen
    My parents took me to this movie when it came out in theatres. I've yet to see it on video/DVD which is a shame as I remember being fairly enthralled by it as a child. Too many movies for children present their conflicts in black and white. Children are not encouraged to consider moral conflicts because the solutions are laid out clearly for them. This is one of the first movies I can remember seeing that made me think (a little).

    This movie concerns the struggle between two children regarding the ownership of a pony. One is a poor boy from a struggling family whose only material possession in the world is a wild pony that he tames. The pony gets lost and inadvertently ends up in the hands of a crippled girl from a wealthy family who has every material possession possible except the one thing she really wants. The pony brings joy into both children's dark lives and each fiercely resists giving him up. The power in the film is in its ability to never allow all sympathy to rest with either child. You end up feeling for both of them. Unfortunately, there's only one pony...and one of the children will end up the loser. How this conflict is finally resolved and its consequences make the film worth seeing.
  • comment
    • Author: Wenaiand
    As the face-plate reviewer has noted, children are rarely exposed to conflicts where the lines are not drawn in black and white. This Australian tale that touches on class differences, poverty and rural life ways in NSW in the early part of the 20th century has all the makings of a classic. The principle protagonist, Scottie Pirie, is as wild and untamed as the Welsh pony, Taffy, he acquires only to lose to the strong-willed little rich girl, Josie Ellison, who suffers from a crippling bout of polio and is confined to a wheel chair. When the pony runs away from Scott and rejoins his herd, he is picked out by Josie for his stink individual qualities to be trained to pull a dog cart. The eventual discovery of the pony by Scottie and the confrontation leads to a division of the rural community along class lines which is mitigated by the town's class-conscious Lawyer, Mr. Quayle, played by veteran Australian character actor, John Meillon, whom most of us remember as Crocodile Dundee's sidekick. This is a delightful family film that should be required viewing by all kids. I remember taking my son to see it in the theater the year it came out and I recently bought it on VHS for my wife. I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, relived my pleasure when I saw it again on TV and loved it when I watched it last night at home.
  • comment
    • Author: Kabandis
    I have only ever seen this film once when I was a child,but I enjoyed it so much that I have never forgotten it and would love to see it again (if it became available on DVD or VHS in the UK).It is a Disney production (which I did not find out until I began looking for the film recently)and is set in Australia.The film focuses on two children,a boy and a girl (each from different families)who both fall in love with the same pony captured for them on separate occasions from the wild.They cannot agree whom the pony belongs to,so they have a test to make the pony choose his owner.This film totally gripped me as a pony lover,seeing the children in anguish over their beloved pet.But it all ends well and has touched my heart forever.This is a film not to be missed by both adults and children who have ever had a pony.It will fill you with emotion.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Michael Craig Michael Craig - James Ellison
    John Meillon John Meillon - Charles E. Quayle
    Robert Bettles Robert Bettles - Scotty Pirie
    Eva Griffith Eva Griffith - Josie Ellison
    Graham Rouse Graham Rouse - Bluey Waters
    Alfred Bell Alfred Bell - Angus Pirie
    John Meillon Jr. John Meillon Jr. - Kit Quayle
    Roy Haddrick Roy Haddrick - J.C. Strapp
    Peter Gwynne Peter Gwynne - Sgt. Collins
    Melissa Jaffer Melissa Jaffer - Mrs. Pirie
    Lorraine Bayly Lorraine Bayly - Mrs. Ellison
    Wendy Playfair Wendy Playfair - Mrs. Quayle
    Elizabeth Alexander Elizabeth Alexander - Miss Hildebrand (teacher)
    Kate Clarkson Kate Clarkson - Jeannie Quayle
    Phillip Ross Phillip Ross
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