ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), G
Analysis Date: May 23, 2002
CAP Score: 93
CAP Influence Density: 0.12

MinMax: -21

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


Distributed by: DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Director(s): Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook
Producer(s): Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mireille Soria
Written by/Screenplay: John Fusco
Music: Bryan Adams (songs), Hans Zimmer
Special Effects: Kevin Oakley, Vincent A. Villanueva

Boxart ©DreamWorks SKG

My ten year old daughter loves horses. I guess its a girl thing because I remember my same-aged cousin Nancy from eons gone by loved horses, too. It seems that girls at or near ten years old develop a fascination for horses. If true, girls are gonna love *Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron*. Not only is this an adventure story of the courage of one horse in particular, it is a romance story as well since Spirit meets a blued-eyed blonde and takes her home to meet mamma.

The horses communicate nonverbally and do a very good job of it. Just about any child old enough to navigate his/her own box of popcorn will understand what the horses are communicating to each other. Exaggerated facial expressions of the horses ... and of the grand eagle ... are enough. A strong base in experiential maturity will not be necessary to watch this movie NOR will a piece of your children's childhood likely be stolen from them by it.

This old West story is a tale of a mustang from colt to stallion. Matt Damon narrates and touchingly begins the tale with a line of rustic wisdom: "They say the history of the old West was told from the saddle of a horse but never from the heart of one." That is the theme of the story. Incredible animation makes even mane hair flow realistic but the cartoon genre is never lost nor is there any apparent attempt to mask it. And I applaud the filmmakers for their modesty in this picture. The birth of Spirit was quite well displayed without invasion into anatomical details. Even the anatomy of the adult horses was responsibly done. Well done, DreamWorks SKG.

From birth, Spirit is a free spirit in the wild West, at home in the rolling hills. He is heir to the leadership of the herd left by his father. But soon, white man encroaches on his Oklahoma land, bent on capturing and breaking for labor the most handsome stallion in Oklahoma. Soldiers of a cavalry outpost try exactly that. The commanding Colonel (voice of James Cromwell) was set in concrete about breaking Spirit for a saddle horse.

After many attempts to break Spirit failed, the Colonel ordered three days with no food or water for Spirit. Weakened and depressed, Spirit allows the Colonel to mount him and ride him ... for a while. Amidst that and other cruelty to Spirit, similar cruelty is shown to a captured American Indian, Little Creek (voice of Daniel Studi). But together, Spirit and Little Creek help the cavalry understand the destiny of Spirit.

Many exciting adventures are there for the young and the young at heart in this 81 minute escapade into animal freedom of the old West, but I do not want to spoil any more of it if you decide to take the little ones to see it. Though it is rated G, there are a few matters the caring parent may wish to be aware of before seeing it with their kids.

There are instances of gunfire to kill, both of horses and Little Creek. And there is a depiction of a campaign from one of our two dark periods in American history as the cavalry attacks an American Indian village. Though a true part of our history, the brutal aspects of our history are best left to the history books and not in and as entertainment for the very young.

Violence is the most present element of invasive programming [Jonah 3:8], but there is an instance of brief clothing by one and *only* one of the American Indians. The rest were responsibly clothed. Maybe that is the way the true Americans dressed but that does not excuse display of it in and as entertainment. The remainder of the questionable programming includes a half empty booze bottle and smoking (once).

If you do decide to watch this movie, you are in for somewhat of an animation treat. The majestic countryside of the old West is faithfully reproduced in animation. The grandeur of the American wilderness is almost breath-taking. The highly textured depth of artistry of the energy of the Cimarron River is intense. Perspective of character motion noted even as the soldiers bob on their horses out of cadence is heretofore unequaled in my experience in animation. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is indeed a highly valued mixture or realism and cartoon.

Please be sure to read the (rather short) listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this movie is for your family.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Jonah 3:8 But let man and beast be covered [hidden, concealed] with sackcloth [worn in mourning or humiliation]. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • animal attack
  • firearm threat
  • gunfire to kill, including in a raid of an Indian village
  • a great jump for life

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • a single incomplete foul term
  • cruelty to American Indians and horses

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • brief clothing by one and *only* one of the American Indians.

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • half empty booze bottle
  • smoking, once

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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