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->''"They say the history of the West was written from the saddle of a horse, but it's never been told from the heart of one... not 'till now."''

'''''Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron''''' is a film by Creator/DreamworksAnimation; one of their last traditionally animated features before they made the switch to CGI.

The film is about a feral horse who is born on the American prairie and has encounters -- both positive and negative -- with the humans who also live there. Spirit is captured and taken away from his herd by American soldiers, resisting their attempts to tame him. At the camp he befriends an Indian named Little Creek, though their relationship is [[VitriolicBestBuds far from affectionate]]. Together they escape from the soldiers' camp, but the spread of the white man continues to plague them throughout the story.

Besides the main story of a horse returning to his herd, the film is really about the domestication of the American wilderness. The Colonel, the main antagonist of the film, represents Western civilization invading the North American landscape and changing the land to suit its needs. Although Spirit ostensibly gets a happy ending, [[RealitySubtext history really makes it a foregone conclusion...]]

Compare {{Disney}}'s ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'', which has had many of the same criticisms leveled against it and was originally going to have the same format -- a narrator, and lots of music, but no talking animals.
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!!''Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AccidentalKiss: [[{{Squick}} An interspecies example]] occurs early in the movie when a drunken wrangler is being mouth-examined by Spirit in his sleep and he apparently mistakes him for a girl.
* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: Esperanza has a tendency to fiddle with her son's forelock. In a rather [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming heartwarming]] callback, she playfully musses it when he's born and straightens it when [[spoiler:he returns home.]]
* AllThereInTheScript: Spirit's mother's name is Esperanza.
* AllThereInTheManual: There was a book called ''Esperanza'' that was a prequel based around Spirit's parents. Spirit's dad is a black stallion named Strider
* AlternateAnimalAffection: The horses mostly nuzzle each other and cross necks to show affection. Little Creek gets a "hug" off Spirit in this fashion near the end.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Well, naturally. The directors even lampshade this in the commentary for the train sequence. In terms of amplified animal athleticism, Spirit leaps about fifty feet across a canyon, and without his front legs snapping like twigs upon landing, though he did wind up crashing.
* AmusingInjuries: Poor Murphy. Even the horses were laughing at him.
* AnimalsLackAttributes: Averted. The male horses do have genitalia, it's just drawn very subtly.
* AntiVillain: The Colonel is stern and somewhat obsessive, but not really evil. He even has the sense of honor and respect to [[spoiler:let Spirit and Little Creek go once they've beaten him.]]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: Both Spirit and Rain are seen rearing while doing a 360 degree turn at different points. Horses can't do that.
** The animators explained giving the horses eyebrows to better have them express emotion.
** During his segment as a colt, Spirit at one point drinks water like a dog. This might have been added for cuteness effect.
* AwardBaitSong: The movie arguably has several of these, but there are two that fit best - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4ZxQiRqUBU "Here I Am"]], which is both the opening song as well as playing over the credits, and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8bH1WjhekU "I Will Always Return"]], which plays as the finale of the movie. And to top it off, BOTH are sung by Music/BryanAdams.
* BigBadassBirdOfPrey: The eagle.
* BloodlessCarnage: There's no blood visible [[spoiler:when Rain is shot,]] though they do show a subtle bullet wound.
* ABoyAndHisX: Subverted that it's not Little Creek and Spirit - but Rain.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: Spirit refers to humans as "two-leggeds".
* {{Cartoony Eye|s}}brows: Although the horses are otherwise anatomically sound. But the man-eyebrows get distracting after a while in the same manner as [[Disney/{{Dinosaur}} Aladar's beak-lips]]. And generally speaking, to have that visibly white scleras, the horses would all have to carry certain spotting genetics which they don't show any sign of.
* CleanPrettyChildbirth: We see Esperanza having contractions, followed by baby Spirit coming into view clean and neat.
* ColonelBadass: The nameless Colonel is a variation; the film's focus on horses denies him any opportunity to show this trope in a more conventional fight, but he is a formidable enemy.
* ConspicuousCGI: Shows up quite a bit, actually -- the film was intended to be an about even blend of CGI and traditional animation. [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome Sometimes it meshes well]] (Just ''try'' to spot, in the scene where Spirit's on a hill overlooking the herd, the moments in which he changes from a CGI render to a drawing and back to a CGI render) and sometimes it... doesn't. The locomotive in particular is pretty glaring. Even the early shot of the running herd is noticeable if you have a sharp eye and can tell hand-painted CelShading from the computer-automated kind.
* CoolHorse: Well, duh.
* CurseCutShort: When Spirit accidentally wakes two men, there are two right after another.
--> "What the-!" / "Son-of-a-!"
** The first guy is clearly shaping his mouth [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar as if he were about to say "F**k".]]
* CutSong: At least two: "Brothers Under the Sun" and "The Long Road Home". The music for both appears in the film proper, and they're on the soundtrack (and "Brothers Under the Sun" also plays at the very end of the end credits).
* DeadpanSnarker: Spirit
* {{Determinator}}: "Spirit Who Could Not Be Broken", indeed.
* DisappearedDad: Spirit's father was never seen.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:The horse Rain]]. The character was originally going to die for good, but the creators decided to go for the happy ending.
* {{Disneyesque}}
* DistractedByTheSexy: Rain does a VERY good job of this for Spirit. She literally sweeps him off his feet!
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: All the horses the Cavarly owns are dark brown. They hate their riders, long to be free and will run away from them at any chance given.
* ADogNamedDog: The main character is usually called "Mustang" until he gets properly named at the end.
* DoubleEntendre: In the Norwegian dub, Spirit doesn't monologue "Mares..." in plural when Rain "scolds" him, but "Mare..!" instead. This is due to the Norwegian word for "mare" also being a rude name for women. The Norwegian Spirit basically calls her "bitch".
* DoubleMeaning: The song "Get Off My Back" is meant both figuratively and literally in Spirit's case.
* DramaticWind
* [[ObjectTrackingShot Eagle Tracking Shot]]
* EvilOverlooker: It's pretty bizarre to see the Colonel's face being used like this on some DVD covers, especially since he looks so damn benevolent.
* HeldGaze: Spirit and Rain have a deep gaze into each other's eyes under a tree. Spirit also does this with Little Creek about three times.
* HeroicBSOD: Spirit, after [[spoiler:Rain]]'s supposed demise and his third capture. It takes him hallucinating about his herd and reminding him of what he is fighting for to knock him out of it.
* AHeroIsBorn: The first scene after the opening narration is Spirit's mother in the final stages of labour.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: The Colonel is ([[AnonymousRinger an unnamed]]) [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Armstrong_Custer George Armstrong Custer]].
* HorseJump
** InASingleBound: Make a guess.
* InevitableWaterfall
* InterspeciesFriendship: The title character appears to be friends with an unnamed bald eagle and he later befriends a human.
* ISurrenderSuckers: When the Colonel rides Spirit in his attempt to break him, he proves too difficult to buck off and hangs on until Spirit gives up. As the Colonel then gives a gloating speech about how any horse can be broken, Spirits thinks "sometimes a horse has got to do what a horse has got to do", then immediately shocks the Colonel with a surprise buck, throwing him off.
* JustTrainWrong: The Northern Pacific Railroad never built track in Nebraska, or connected with Utah; that was the Union Pacific.
** That's because Spirit destroyed it, duh...
* {{Keet}}: The young Spirit.
* KnowWhenToFoldThem: [[spoiler:Just after Spirit and Little Creek jump over the gorge, one of the Union soldiers aims to shoot them. But the Colonel makes him put down his gun, and wordlessly lets the horse and Indian go.]]
* MeaningfulName: [[MurphysLaw Murphy.]] If it can go wrong while he works with the horses...
* MisplacedWildlife: We can only assume that the Bald Eagle living ''[[SomewhereAnOrnithologistIsCrying in the middle of a dry upland prairie]]'' is only there due to Creator/DreamWorks' patriotic fervor.
** [[NoisyNature An Eagle's Cry Must Be Awesome!]]: This too.
* MoodyMount: Spirit, {{justified|Trope}} as he was taken from the wild and treated harshly.
* MusicalisInterruptus
** In "You Can't Take Me". [[BrickJoke It gets to finish near the end of the movie]].
** Later, around the film's midpoint, Spirit thinks he can finally go back to his homeland, with a proud section of "Run Free" blaring -- when the mare he's tied to stops as abruptly as the music at the edge of the Lakota village.
* NamelessNarrative: The main character isn't actually named until the end of the film.
* OhCrap: When Spirit tosses the cougar to the ground and rears over it, the look of terror on its face is palpable.
* OneDimensionalThinking: Averted. Spirit has to escape a train falling down a hill behind him, and it's impossible for him to run to either side as they're covered with large piles of timber the entire way down.
* TheOner: The oh-so-pretty opening tracking shot. It was one of the first sequences started during production and one of the last to be finished.
* PetTheDog: [[spoiler:When the Colonel has witnessed Spirit's jump for freedom, he stops one of his soldiers from shooting him and signalizes to Spirit that he's free to go.]]
* PoundsAreAnimalPrisons: Played with --- as far as the wild horse is concerned, yes, stables are pony prison, but the horses at the regiment are seen to be treated more or less reasonably; Spirit is only maltreated insofar as he misbehaves. And the animals ridden by the natives are treated quite well, as are the horses used by the railroad; the man leading Spirit into and off the train is shown as reassuring and gentle with him.
* PopStarComposer: Music/BryanAdams wrote the songs.
* RewrittenPopVersion: In the film proper, "I Will Always Return" is about family and homeland, and its refrain at the end powers the triumphant conclusion. The credits version? [[AwardBaitSong A love song]].
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Spirit as a young colt.
* SatelliteLoveInterest: Rain. She loves Little Creek, she loves Spirit, Spirit loves her (despite the fact that she won't initially allow him to leave captivity), and that's about the extent of her character.
* SceneryPorn
* ShooTheDog
* ShownTheirWork: Like the animators themselves point out; horses are one of the most difficult things you can draw, and not only did they have to draw horses all day long for a few years, they had to ''animate'' them as well. The result is nothing short of stunning.
* SilenceIsGolden: There are no talking animals in this film aside from a few narration parts from Matt Damon's character. The film had to have the animators pantomime conversations with the horses with their body language and the expression on their faces. The horses just neigh throughout the film. There also are not that many conversation scenes with the human characters.
* StockFootage: The final scene with Spirit and Rain galloping uphill and then watching the herd below together is actually the same scene from the beginning when Spirit does all of it alone, only with Rain pasted in.
* StockholmSyndrome: Spirit picks up a touch of it where Rain and Little Creek are concerned, though not enough to stop him from taking off when Little Creek first sets him free.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry: Fortunately, this mostly happens in the lyrics to the songs and the narration... but there are a ''lot'' of songs and a '''lot''' of narration...
* TitleDrop: In a sense. "Take care of her... Spirit Who Could Not Be Broken."
* TongueOnTheFlagpole: As a colt, Spirit gets his tongue stuck to a large icicle. He then snaps it off and carries it away with him.
* {{Tsundere}}
** Rain, Spirit's LoveInterest. Summed up hilariously by Spirit to anyone who knows anything about horses: "''Mares.''"
** Spirit too, to a degree.
* TrueCompanions: Implied by the herd.
* UnreliableNarrator: This story is truly told through the perspective of a wild horse, and it shows in how he views humans.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Little Creek.
* WorthyOpponent: How the Colonel views Spirit by the end of the film, as evidenced by his respectful nod to him.
* {{Xenofiction}}
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