Synopsis: A psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, investigates the savage blinding of six horses with a metal spike in a stable in Hampshire, England. The atrocity was committed by an unassuming seventeen-year-old stable boy named Alan Strang, the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father and a genteel, religious mother. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy's demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own.
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Sidney Lumet
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
137 min


Afterwards, he says,

they always embrace.

The animal digs his sweaty brow

into his cheek,

and they stand in the dark for an hour,

like a necking couple.

And of all nonsensical things,

I keep thinking about the horse,

not the boy,

the horse,

and what he might be trying to do.

I keep seeing the huge head,

kissing him with its chained mouth,

nudging, through the metal,

some desire absolutely irrelevant

to filling its belly

or propagating its own kind.

What desire could this be?

Not to stay a horse any longer?

Not to remain reined up forever,

in those particular genetic strings?

Ls it possible, at certain moments

we cannot imagine,

a horse can add its sufferings together,

the non-stop jerks and jabs

that are its daily life...

And turn them

into grief?

What use is grief...

To a horse?

You see...

I'm lost.

What use, I should be asking,

are questions like these

to an overworked psychiatrist

in a provincial hospital?

They're worse than useless.

They are, in fact,


The thing is...

I'm wearing that horse's head myself,

all reined up in old language

and old assumptions,

straining to jump, clean-hooved,

onto a whole new track of being

I only suspect is there.

I can't see it, because my educated,

average head is being held

at the wrong angle.

I can't jump, because the bit forbids it,

and my own basic force,


Horsepower, if you like...

ls too little.

The only thing I know for sure, is this.

A horse's head is finally unknowable to me.

Yet I handle children's heads,

which I must presume to

be more complicated,

at least in the area of my chief concern.

In a way, it has nothing

to do with this boy.

The doubts have been there for years,

piling up steadily in this dreary place.

It's only the extremity of this case

that's made them active.

I know that the extremity is the point.

All the same, whatever the reasons,

these doubts are now

not just vaguely worrying,

but... but intolerable!

Forgive me.

I'm not making much sense.

Let me start properly, in order.

MARTINI All right.

Come on. Break it up. Come on!

...Through this gate, into another field.

I couldn't see it,

but I knew I had to get through that gate.

If I could get through it,

then that was it, I could see everything.

All right. All right.

Take one, Mary Ann.

I don't want one.

Mary Ann, come on.

Don't bother me.

You don't have to listen to them

all the time.

Oh, I know, but, uh...

- Why not?

- You want one, take one.

Stop being so ignorant!

All right. All right, now. Settle down.

...Sucking it up?

That's no good. Shall we smash it?

- Yeah.

- Yeah.



Come on, we'll smash it.


All right, now. Now pick up your right leg.


Pick up your right leg, man.


Because you'd please me

a great deal if you did.

I said, "No"!

Come on. Up.

Now scream! Jab it! Louder. Go on!

Scream! Scream!

That's it.

It began one Monday,

some months ago,

with Hesther's visit.

Martin, I'm sorry.

I should have called first, I know.

Not at all. You're a welcome relief.

Have a filthy coffee?

No, please, no.

It's really rather urgent.

Take a couch.

Martin, I've just come from

the most shocking case I ever tried.

My fellow magistrates wanted to send him

to prison on the spot.

I mean, luckily,

I got him remanded for a report.

Who's he?

A teenager. The name's Strang.


What's he done? Dosed some

little girl's Pepsi with Spanish fly?

What could possibly have thrown your court

into such tory convulsions?


Blinded 6 horses with a metal spike.

- Blinded?

- Yes.

All at once, or over a period?

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Peter Shaffer

Sir Peter Levin Shaffer, CBE was an English playwright and screenwriter of numerous award-winning plays, several of which have been turned into films. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Equus" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 9 May 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/equus_7709>.

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