Australian Council on Children and the Media

Racing Stripes

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 5s (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Racing Stripes
  • a review of Racing Stripes completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 January 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended the help through a couple of scary scenes.
Children aged 5-8 Some children aged between 5 and 8 may need some parental reassurance with the scary scenes listed in the body of the review.
Children over the age of 8 Children over the age of 8 could see this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Racing Stripes
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A travelling circus troupe get caught in a storm at night and accidentally leave a zebra foal behind on the road, separating him from his parents. A kindly farmer and former racehorse trainer, Nolan Walsh, happens to drive by and rescues the young zebra. To the delight of his daughter, Channing, the farmer agrees to keep and raise the foal, who has been given the name Stripes. Stripes gains a number of other surrogate parents, by way of the other farmyard animals, who encourage his desire to become a racehorse.

Years pass and the now adolescent Stripes has ambitions to race in the Kentucky Open, not realising he is in fact a zebra. He is constantly rejected, bullied and teased by the horses in the neighbouring racehorse training stables, but is undeterred and tries harder to reach his goal. He develops a crush on Sandy, the equestrian-trained filly next door.

Sixteen year old Channing Walsh (whose own mother died as a jockey in a race accident) must also overcome her father’s objections to her riding horses, in order to train and race Stripes in the big race. She faces additional objections and taunts from her father’s former boss and competing racehorse owner, Clara Dalrymple.

Further revelations and incidents gives rise to a loss of self-belief for Stripes, and threatens to undo all the gains of his hard work and training. His friends band together to give Stripes and Channing a chance to fulfil their ambitions and dreams.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie:

  • Just before race day, Stripes is set upon by a large group of racehorses. We see Stripes encircled and then are shown a large horse jumping up to kick Stripes. We are never shown what actually happens, but in the next scene Stripes is unconscious and beaten on the ground.
  • “Goose”, the pelican on the run from city thugs, is shown for comical effect to fly into a barnyard door. Later, while trying to damage a motor bike, he causes a small explosion and gets singed in the process.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above mentioned scenes, the following scenes could disturb some very young children:

  • As a young foal, Stripes is accidentally left behind on the road at night during an electrical storm. He watches on as the truck he had been on drives off, separating him from his parents.
  • There are also brief shots of caged roaring lions, who give one of the circus artists a scare.
  • Sir Trenton, the champion racehorse, is a somewhat menacing presence, seemingly scaring his own son and his friends.
  • Stripes’ first race takes place at night at the unofficial ‘Blue Moon Races’. There is a sense of danger and Stripes is clearly outsized and outnumbered by the other trained racehorses. He himself is not scared by the setting or the opposition.
  • Channing falls off Stripes during time trials, but is not seriously hurt.
  • While meeting with Sandy, the filly, at night, Stripes is set upon by a large group of racehorses led by Sir Trenton. Sandy is threatened and led away by two horses. Although not shown, Stripes is assaulted by the other horses. The scene is darkly lit and music is ominous. We next see Stripes in the morning, unconscious, dirty and battered.
  • Stripes is bullied and jostled by the other horses, particularly at the race’s starting gate. During the race, he and Channing are often pushed against the inside railings.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children over the age of eight would not be scared by this movie.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen would not be scared by this movie.

Product placement

During the Kentucky Open, sponsorship boards from Kodak and Fed Ex express were noticeable.

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

None

Coarse language

While there is no coarse language, the film contains many put-downs

  • Sir Trenton calls Roughshod, one of his son’s friends, ‘an idiot’.
  • Stripes tells Trenton’s Pride (Sir Trenton’s son) that he’s going to “ kick your butt” during the Blue Moon Races.
  • The farmyard animals occasionally tell each other to “shut up”.
  • Channing refers to Clara Dalrymple as a “pain in the butt” during a conversation with her father.
  • The phrase “pain in the butt” is also used between the comical flies, Buzz and Scuzz, and is by one of Stripes’ farmyard friends to describe Goose.

In a nutshell

The film’s message is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what others say, if you have enough self belief, courage and put in the hard work, you can achieve your dreams.

Values to encourage :

  • Stripes and Channing show courage and determination to achieve their goals. They both persevere despite opposition and adversity.
  • The importance of family and friends.
  • The Walsh family, friends and farmyard animals show loyalty and faith in Stripes and each other’s abilities. They cooperate well to get Stripes to and through the race.
  • Sandy tells Stripes that she doesn’t care what he is on the outside, she values his character on the inside. The farmyard animals accept Stripes for what he is.

The following content could be used by parents to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of some actions and attitudes:

  • Sir Trenton wants his son to win at any cost and uses violent means to get his way.
  • The racehorses tease, bully and threaten Stripes because of his appearance.
  • Sir Trenton doesn’t want his son to associate with Stripes because he is “different”.
  • Channing disobeys and at times, openly defies her father’s instructions.
  • Name-calling, albeit for comic effect, amongst the farmyard animals.

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