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Viggo Mortensen

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Lord of the Rings


Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgo

Viggo Mortensen as Frank Reynolds in Hidalgo

Release: 2004

Director: Joe Johnston
Writer(s): John Fusco
Based on: True story or legend

Runtime: 136 min

MCAA Rating: PG-13 for adventure violence and some mild innuendo

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 Open Directory

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Hidalgo Cast and Crew

Viggo Mortensen: Frank Hopkins

Other leading roles:
Omar Sharif as Sheikh Riyadh
Zuleikha Robinson as Jazira
Louise Lombard as Lady Anne Davenport

Hidalgo Synopsis

An old-fashioned tale of adventure and courage, this film pits a down-on-his-luck cowboy (Viggo Mortensen) and his unpedigreed mustang, Hidalgo, against a hostile desert environment, the purest-blooded Arabian racehorses, and their riders, some of whom are determined to win at any cost.

Hidalgo Brief Review

Though the story is implausible in spots, the movie's earthy, wholesome values, beautiful cinematography, and solid performances by Viggo, Omar Sharif and the rest of the cast make for good family entertainment.

Hidalgo Soundtrack

1. Main Title
2. Don't Waste Our Money
3. Arriving in the Desert
4. Morning of the Race
5. The Race Begins
6. The Second Half
7. Sandstorm
8. Frank Pushes On
9. Katib
10. Montage
11. The Trap
12. The Last Push
13. The Final Three
14. Let 'Er Buck

Hidalgo Articles & Interviews

The Return of the KingThe Return of the King - Native Voice, January 2004

Viggo Mortensen rides back in 'Hidalgo' - Chicago Sun-Times, February 29, 2004   []

Ageless AdventureAgeless Adventure - American Cowboy magazine, March 2004

Hidalgo Upholds Cowboy ImageHidalgo Upholds Cowboy Image - American Cowboy online review, March 2004
Descriptive review focuses on the moral depth of Hidalgo, as Frank Hopkins "chooses the narrow road and makes his motives clear to those trying to weaken his resolve or make him weak." The reviewer concludes that Hopkins embodies the best of the ideal of the American cowboy.

Viggo Mortensen interview -, March 2004
Standard Hidalgo interview with a nice quote from Viggo about working with Omar Sharif: "One of the great things about this experience was working with Omar; his casting was very important to the movie. It was already a good story, but him playing that part was a perfect piece of casting. It lifted the movie to another level, and personally it was a lot of fun to work closely with him and pester him for stories about making Lawrence of Arabia with David Lean and Peter O'Toole."

'Rings' actor riding horses in 'Hidalgo' - JAM! Movies, March 2, 2004
Interview about Hidalgo touches on politics and Viggo's choice of films. Excerpt: "I'm pretty long in the tooth," the 45-year-old says. "Money and fame don't seem very rewarding. Of course there is the 'iron is hot' argument. Who knows? Maybe in 10 years I'll look back and say I should have gone for the money," he adds with a grin.

Interview: Viggo Mortensen for Hidalgo -, March 2, 2004

IGN FilmForce interviews Viggo MortensenIGN FilmForce interviews Viggo Mortensen - IGN FilmForce, March 3, 2004
A laid-back interview about the pleasures of learning Elvish and Lakotah, purchasing his equine co-stars, and his new book, The Horse is Good. He talks about Uraeus ("Brego"), Kenny ("Hasufel") and T.J. ("Hidalgo") as unique individuals who became good friends. About Uraeus: "He kind of came into the movie similar to the way I did. You know, didn't have much preparation and was just thrown in and had to swim, basically. And it was rough on him and it took a while for us to kind of get in sync and for him to be comfortable around the set. So we got to be close and I wanted to stay in touch with him. And, you know, by the end he became almost a real ham. He became so good at it that he was just relaxed and happy."

Review: Hidalgo - The Onion A.V. Club, March 3, 2004

Rings' king Viggo Mortensen talks about celebrity, the cowboy mystique and starring solo in Hidalgo - Kalamazoo Gazette, Michigan, March 4, 2004   [Chronicles]

After AragornAfter Aragorn - Christianity Today, March 5, 2004
Interview about Hidalgo touches on mythology and philosophy of life. When asked about whether it troubles him that the facts behind the film are in question, he points out that "our identity as a nation is largely based on myth, on storytelling, making up stories, exaggerating the accomplishments of extraordinary individuals," and goes on to talk about the themes of tests and ordeals in the film.

Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen - The Onion A.V. Club, March 10, 2004
Excellent interview with Viggo Mortensen about the Hidalgo, his version of "method" acting, and how painting, writing, and fishing can take the place of resting between takes. "People talk about Method actors... The right method is whatever works for you. And what works for me on any given day is oing to be different."

Reluctant hero riding high in the saddle - The Daily Telegraph, March 18, 2004
Interview addresses Hidalgo, Viggo Mortensen's films, and his other pursuits: "As a kid, you wonder about all the adventures you are going to have and you imagine exploring the world," he says, in his soft, deliberate manner. "Most people, after a while, sort of repress that desire and instead live in a box and never attempt it but I wanted adventure, still do, and so I try a lot of things."   []

Viggo Mortensen: 60 Second Interview -, April 2004
The interview quickly turns from Hidalgo and the cost of fame into ordeals (including the interview itself) and politics. "In accepting that [all life is sorrowful] and realising you can't change it, you can also change your attitude towards it and celebrate it in a sense by making the most of life, valuing people who have gone rather than forgetting and never paying attention. If George W Bush had read anything about Churchill's involvement in Iraq in the 1920s, maybe he wouldn't have done things quite the same way."

On Steeds and Sonnets -, April 14, 2004

Comes a Horseman - Film Review Special Issue #51, April 29, 2004
"The heroic action star follows up the Lord of the Rings saga with another epic that calls upon his equestrian skills. John Millar finds out just why Hidalgo became his best friend in the desert. 'It's not only an epic adventure story but it is moving and transcends national boundaries and points of view.'"   []

Hidalgo Articles & Interviews

Viggo Mortensen and Rex Peterson on the set of HidalgoIGN Interviews Viggo Mortensen - Viggo talks with the interviewer about learning Lakota, his interaction with TJ and the horses of LOTR, and the book The Horse Is Good.
Interview: Joe Johnston, John Fusco and Viggo Mortensen - Four-page interview with Hidalgo director Joe Johnston, screenwriter John Fusco and star Viggo Mortensen. Johnston: "Frank goes [to Arabia] in a very humble way. To say, 'I'm here to race and go home.' He's not there to show them all about American superiority. In the end, he makes peace with everyone, even his biggest competitor, the prince.... He even gives Omar Sharif a gun at the end and goes home.'"

Hidalgo Fan Sites

Frank and His HorseFrank and His Horse - Hidalgo fan site includes quotes, bloopers, guest-written reviews, samples from the soundtrack, and a small but active forum. Many images, including wallpaper and a assortments of avatars and Photoshop brushes.

Hidalgo Photo Galleries

production cameras capture horses in Hidalgo - Almost 100 images from Hidalgo, including 15 production shots. Interesting to see how the cameras are rigged for action scenes of horses. Most photographs are offered at high resolution (e.g., 1400x900). Nice large thumbnails make it easy to see what you're getting. Site also has movie review in German.
Viggo Mortensen in HidalgoVal's Screencaps: Hidalgo - Almost 300 screen captures of Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgo. Mostly full-screen, some cropped. Larger than the average screencap, good clarity.

Hidalgo Resources

American Humane Association Film & TV Unit logoAmerican Humane Association Film Unit Review: Hidalgo - Fascinating analysis of the care, training and use of horses and other animals Hidalgo. Describes in great detail how several scenes were shot so as to minimize the risk to the animals. Even the locusts were well cared-for ("120 locusts came to the set and all of them left alive and well at the end of the day"). The AHA monitored the filming and rates Hidalgo as Acceptable.
Viggo Mortensen and 3 extras during the filming of HidalgoDaily Movie News: Filming Hidalgo - Several photographs taken by one of the extras during the filming at the Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs SD. Brief notes from the photographer include: "Viggo was so down to earth and one of the most friendly actors I have ever met...."
Frank HopkinsFrank Hopkins Official Tribute Site - Tribute to the legend and lore of America's great distance/endurance rider and early-day champion of the Mustang horse: Frank T. Hopkins. Photographs, biography, information on the Spanish Mustangs and on Frank's training and racing techniques.
Hidalgo in Fifteen Minutes - Irreverent parody of the Hidalgo screenplay. Hidalgo - Lists upcoming showtimes for Hidalgo on US premium cable channels. Site also has a brief review and links to related websites.
official Hidalgo desktop wallpaperOfficial Hidalgo Site - The official Touchstone Pictures Hidalgo site offers the usual high-quality trailers, video clips, wallpapers, and screensavers, along with brief background information on the film, Frank Hopkins, awild mustangs. Downloadable educators' packet available in PDF format.
Viggo Mortensen in HidalgoSoundtrackNet: Hidalgo Soundtrack - Detailed description and review of James Newton Howard's Hidalgo soundtrack, including track listing and release information. Reviewer Brian McVickar speaks highly of the score's excitement, joy, sensuous melodies, and its use of Native American and Middle Eastern elements. He also tips his hat to the star, saying "I had the distinct impression that Viggo Mortensen could continue to star in Westerns and never want for anything else in his film career. The man could have been serious competition for male Western stars in the genre's heyday of the 1930's through the 1960's, more contemplative than John Wayne, better with fisticuffs than Gary Cooper and more mysterious than William Holden."
The Long Riders' GuildThe Long Riders' Guild: Hidalgo - Equestrian group dedicated to long-distance rides labels Hidalgo a deception, and presents its evidence that Frank T. Hopkins was a charlatan.

Hidalgo Reviews

start of the race, from HidalgoAmerican Western Magazine: Hidalgo - Detailed review aimed at horse lovers finds nits to pick in Hidalgo's plot, but rates it good entertainment nonetheless: "It's long on adventure and short on logic, but kudos must be given to the filmmakers for making a horse movie that really celebrates the horse. Hopkins really and truly loves his painted pony, and Mortensen conveys that relationship with poignant poise and pathos." Though they consider Hidalgo himself to be the star, they appreciate Viggo as well: "Mortensen's gap-toothed countenance is cowboyed up with a deeply lined tan, topped with a wide-brimmed hat, and his blue-blue eyes crackle with concern, consternation, and contentment in all the right moments. "
Viggo Mortensen on HidalgoDVD Review: Hidalgo - Guido Henkel offers a detailed review of the film, plot, cast and DVD production values, and describes the DVD extras. The only flaw he finds in the DVD is what he considers to be excessive edge enhancement. As for the film, Henkel says, "The story has a lot going for itself but sadly the overall story is very predictable and never offers many surprises.... The acting on the other hand is great with Mortensen putting in a wonderful Frank Hopkins, who is believable and tangible in his pain."
Movie Gazette: Hidalgo - Review by Gary Panton uses dry humor to describe the film and rate it as "an enjoyable, if bumpy ride." Excerpt: "Does [Viggo] really have the pulling power and screen presence to hold his own as a serious big-namer now that Pete Jackson and his Hobbits are safely back in the Shire? Hidalgo, a genre-bending western from Jumanji director Joe Johnston, is his chance to shout 'Yes!'. Or at least mumble it as, given his standard method of dialogue delivery, is probably more likely."
PopMatters Film Review: Hidalgo - Lengthy, energetic article is more of a retelling of the story than a critical review (warning: lots of spoilers). Still it's a fun read. "Lady Davenport [makes] a tentative effort to arouse Frank's manhood one dry desert night. She can't know, of course, that his heart belongs to Hidalgo."
Roger Ebert Review of Hidalgo - Generally complimentary review of Hidalgo from Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times: "Hidalgo is a throwback to a more innocent time when heroes and their horses risked everything just because life was so damned boring in the slow lane."

Hidalgo Video Clips

Unfortunately a lot of the Hidalgo promotional video clips have disappeared this past year. We're posting the ones we had archived. If you know of other video clip locations or have something archived that you would like to share, please contact us. Hidalgo Clips  «6-Jun-05» - French film site offers an assortment of Hidalgo trailers, interviews and clips (extraits) in QuickTime and RealVideo formats.
Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgohid-05: Far Rider  «17-Oct-06» - This clip was captured from DVD for a friend who wanted to hear Viggo speaking the Lakotah language. It is the scene between Frank and the old chief in which the chief explains why he calls Frank "Far Rider." The video quality isn't the greatest because the scene was at night ... very dark!
Quicktime video 320x240 (01'56, 8.2MB)
Hidalgohid-101: Hidalgo Trailer  «6-Jun-05» - Official movie preview trailer has lots of great sequences. Resolution is good enough for clips. These are BIG files, so please download once (right-click and save), thanks.
Viggo Mortensenhid-102: Hidalgo Super Bowl ad  «6-Jun-05» - Thirty-second television spot packs a punch with lots of action and nice crisp resolution. First aired during the January, 2004 Super Bowl football game.
Quicktime video 640x480 (00'30, 6.2MB)
Viggo Mortensenhid-103: Interview with Viggo Mortensen about Hidalgo  «6-Jun-05» - In this promotional video from Touchstone Pictures, Viggo Mortensen talks about the film, Frank's story, and the story's relevance to today's political situation.
Quicktime video 480x360 (01'28, 16.3MB)
Viggo Mortensenhid-105: Muslim Round Table Interview with Viggo about Hidalgo  «17-Oct-06» - If you are interested in Viggo Mortensen's perspective on the inter-cultural issues present in Hidalgo (cowboys, native Americans, Muslims), we highly recommend this video interview with Viggo about Hidalgo by Zaki Hasan of Muslim Round Table. We also enjoyed Zaki's interview with Hidalgo director Joe Johnston. Thanks to Zaki and Mr. Boy Productions for giving us permission to host these clips. Visit Zaki's Corner for commentary on current events and pop culture.
Viggo Hidalgo Interview Video  «25-Jul-05» - This 4'27" video clip interweaves scenes from the film in between interviews with Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson and director Joe Johnston. View at in Quicktime, Real or Windows Media format, or download our copy of the Quicktime version.
Quicktime video 320x240 (04'27, 17.3MB)
Sachie's Hidalgo Links  «25-Jul-05» - Sachie has links to Hidalgo video clips from around the world, including Spain, Scandinavia, Mexico, Argentina and of course Japan.

Hidalgo Photo Gallery