Hero Essay: Seabiscuit


Topic: ‘The movie ‘Seabiscuit’ shows us that there are many different ways of being a hero. Discuss.’

Heroes have always played an important part in human history; but what does it take to be a true hero? The movie ‘Seabiscuit’ is a perfect example which displays many of the main qualities which defines the true meaning of the word hero. ‘Seabiscuit’ is set during the Great Depression; the period between 1930s and 1940s when America was a place full of financial turmoil and despair. During this time many people lost money and often, their life savings in the stockmarket when it crashed.

In the film, there are four main characters who display hero-like qualities; these characters include Charles Howard; the owner of Seabiscuit, an inventor and successful entrepreneur, Tom Smith; a horse whisperer, Red Pollard; Seabiscuit’s jockey and Seabiscuit; the undersized racehorse.

Charles Howard is a successful businessman who was able to upgrade the technology of automobiles by using his own wit and innovation. By doing this he became incredibly wealthy and became a car dealer instead of bike seller/mechanic. Charles Howard displays a number of hero-like qualities throughout the movie; these include determination, courage, dedication and bravery. Howard displays dedication and determination when he is given a new automobile to fix; he simply had no idea what to do as it didn’t come with a manual. However, he kept pressing on, learning and experimenting which was what pushed him to become a wealthy businessman. He shows courage and bravery when telling the world Seabiscuit was a great racehorse; a quote from the movie being, “Well, I just think this horse has a lot of heart. He may have been down, but he wasn’t out. He may have lost a few, but he didn’t let it get to him. I think I learned a lick or two from this little guy. Oh, and by the way, he doesn’t know he’s little. He thinks he’s the biggest horse out there.”

Tom Smith is a horse whisperer; very little about his past is revealed during the course of the movie however it is clearly apparent that he displays a number of hero-like qualities including selflessness, loyalty and sacrifice. Tom shows selflessness when he takes in an injured horse which is about to be put down under his own care; this is also an act of sacrifice as it takes away his time to perform other things which may have great importance to him. A quote from the movie highlights his selflessness towards the horse, “You don’t throw away a whole life just because he’s banged up a little.”

Red Pollard is the son of a once wealthy businessman who lost all of his fortunes due to the Great Depression. He takes up a variety of odd jobs before becoming a jockey to Seabiscuit. Red displays a number of hero-like qualities in the film including determination, loyalty and resilience. He displays determination when training Seabiscuit to become a great racehorse, he shows loyalty to Seabiscuit when he has a tragic accident where his leg is shattered; even so, he urges Charles to let Seabiscuit race to take the title of ‘America’s best racehorse’. Red also shows an amazing sense of resilience when his leg is shattered due to a riding accident; he slowly recovers and is eventually able to ride on Seabiscuit once again with the aid of a splint which he made for his leg.

Seabiscuit is an undersized racehorse who was poorly treated in its early stages of life. Seabiscuit shows a number of hero-like qualities including resilience and determination. Seabiscuit shows determination when it is clear he wants to win any race; he powers forward in front of the pack through to victory. Seabiscuit is also very resilient in the fact that he bounces back after breaking his leg after a fall during a race. He recovers with the help of Red Pollard to go on to win the Santa Anita race.

In conclusion, the film ‘Seabiscuit’ has a number of hero figures who were able to achieve great things by having their own hero-like qualities. By having these qualities, this group of four were able to achieve what many believed to be impossible.


Vincent Lam

9K (2012)


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