A girl dealing with the loss of her parents bonds with her horse.
A wild mustang narrates her life from birth. She explains that her mother taught her about everything, even what happens to horses when they expire; they fly into the sky and rest among the stars. One day, the mustang accidentally alerts some cowboys who proceed to wrangle her entire herd, resulting in the mustang never seeing her mother again. A horse trainer named John Manly arrives and purchases the mustang and takes her to Birtwick, a horse sanctuary. While she likes John due to his toughened and experienced spirit, the mustang continues to toy with him and refuses to cooperate with him, who nevertheless remains patient. The mustang ends up befriending two other horses named Ginger and Merrylegs.
John is informed that his sister and her husband have died in a car accident; leaving him to take in his niece, Jo Green. Jo wants nothing to do with John, especially since he rarely visited them, but becomes entranced with the mustang who continues to act difficult. However, the mustang recognizes Jo's pain as similar to her own and ends up connecting with her. Jo learns to tame the mustang and names her Black Beauty, or Beauty for short. John manages to get through to Jo by having her work in the stables and tend to Beauty on a regular basis. They popularize the phrase "partnering" a horse as opposed to "breaking" a horse. John informs Jo that they will eventually have to sell Beauty, but Jo refuses.
One night, a fire breaks out due to a distracted stable handler leaving a heater on and the horses have to be evacuated. With Birtwick losing money, Jo is concerned over Beauty having to be sold, but works out a deal with John's boss, Henry Gordon, so that she can work extra to earn the money to buy beauty, though he states that they might lease her. The upper class Winthorp Family arrive to purchase horses for their estate with the daughter Georgina immediately choosing Beauty to be leased. John manages to convince them to have Jo come along as her tenant. At the Earlshall estate, Beauty learns that her friend Ginger was purchased for the Winthorp's son George, who unlike Georgina, is kind and takes an interest in Jo.
Georgina is cruel and rude to Beauty who resists the urge to harm her as it would get her and Jo in trouble. Jo discovers that Beauty has serious injuries and George tries to have Jo be closer with her, but his mother puts an end to it. A race is held at a social gathering where Georgina's poor horse riding results in Beauty injuring one of her legs. George stands up to his mother and the Winthorps choose to return Beauty. However, John arrives to inform Jo that Birtwick is closing down and all the horses have to be sold. Beauty is taken away without Jo getting a chance to say goodbye to her. She becomes determined to find and buy her again.
Beauty is sold to a ranger named Terry and together go on daring rescue missions in the wilderness including rescuing a man from a raging river. Terry decides to retire and Beauty is given to a farmer who uses old tools, forcing her to work harder. She is soon given to a kind carriage driver in New York City named Jerry whose daughter chooses to name her Lady. On a particularly cold and snowy night, Beauty is reunited with Ginger who was sold without George's knowledge. She sadly tells her that she and Merrylegs were her only friends. She dies shortly afterwards. All this time, Beauty continues to think about Jo, who has not given up on finding her.
When Jerry becomes sick, Beauty is sold to another carriage company who are cruel and illegally sell the horses. While out driving, Beauty becomes tired and broken, which gains attention in the media. The company attempt to sell Beauty, but a kind stable boy named Manuel alerts the police of the activities and Jo finds Beauty and reunites with her. Jo reveals that she has managed to rebuild Birtwick in full and now works with John and George to help rehabilitate horses full time. Beauty happily continues to ride with Jo for the rest of her life.
- Kate Winslet as Black Beauty (voice)
- Spirit as Black Beauty
- Jenny as Black Beauty
- Awards as Black Beauty
- Rosie as Black Beauty
- Mackenzie Foy as Jo Green
- Faith Bodington as Jo Green (age 12)
- Iain Glen as John Manly
- Calam Lynch as George Winthorp
- Claire Forlani as Mrs. Winthorp
- Fern Deacon as Georgina Winthorp
- Matt Rippy as Henry Gordon
- David Sherwood as Mr. York
- Bjorn Steinbach as Mario
- Patrick Lyster as Mr. Winthorp
- Max Raphael as James
- Hakeem Kae-Kazeem as Terry
- Craig Hawks as Walker
- Katja Hopkins as Jill
- Greg Parvess as Jerry
- Sascha Nastasi as Jennifer
- Alex Jeaven as Jasmine
- Nahum Hughes as Manuel
It was announced in May 2019 that a new adaptation of the Anna Sewell novel was in development, with Ashley Avis writing and directing the film.
Filming began in South Africa on October 2019.
Differences from the original novel
- Black Beauty is portrayed as a mare instead of a stallion in this film.
- In the movie, Jo is a girl and John Manly's niece who lost her parents in a car accident. In the book, Joe is a boy who is not related to John.
- The film is set in the 21st century, as opposed to the original novel being set in the 19th century.
- In the book, Black Beauty was born on a farm and had always been with humans. In the movie, she was born as a wild horse and gets captured.
- In the book, the horses are taken away from Birtwick Park because Gordon's wife got sick. In the movie, Black Beauty has to move away after a fire ravages the stables.
- In the movie, Jo goes to Earshal Park to take care of Beauty. This never happens at the book.
- At the end of the movie, Jo takes Beauty back to Birtwick, where she lives the rest of her life. In the book, Beauty is bought by three kind women and reunites with Joe (who works at the women's property).
- This is Disney's first ever film adaptation of Black Beauty, and it is the first time Black Beauty is a mare.
- This is one of several film adaptations of the novel, coming out twenty-six years after the 1994 Warner Bros. film (here in which the horse also only spoke through narration, provided by Alan Cumming).