The Rider (film)

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The Rider
The Rider.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChloé Zhao
Written byChloé Zhao
Produced by
  • Chloé Zhao
  • Mollye Asher
  • Bert Hamelinck
  • Sacha Ben Harroche
  • Brady Jandreau
  • Lilly Jandreau
  • Tim Jandreau
  • Lane Scott
  • Cat Clifford
CinematographyJoshua James Richards
Edited byAlex O'Flinn
Music byNathan Halpern
  • Caviar
  • Highwayman
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • May 20, 2017 (2017-05-20) (Cannes)
  • April 13, 2018 (2018-04-13) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4.2 million[1]

The Rider is a 2017 American contemporary western film written, produced and directed by Chloé Zhao. The film stars Brady Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lane Scott, and Cat Clifford and was shot in the Badlands of South Dakota. It premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2017,[2][3] where it won the Art Cinema Award.[4] It was released in theaters in the United States on April 13, 2018. It grossed $4.2 million, making it a small commercial success. The film was critically praised for its story, performances, and its depiction of the people and events that influenced the film.


All of the characters are Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation.[5] Brady lives in poverty with his father Wayne and his autistic teenaged sister, Lilly. Once a rising rodeo star, Brady suffered brain damage from a rodeo accident, weakening his right hand and leaving him prone to seizures. Doctors have told him that riding will make them worse.

Brady regularly visits his friend, Lane, who lives in a care facility after suffering brain damage from a similar accident. Brady's father does little for the family, spending their income on drinking and gambling. Once, to fund their trailer, he sells their horse, Gus, infuriating Brady.

Brady takes a job in a local convenience store to raise money for the family. He also makes some money breaking in horses. With his savings, he intends to buy another horse, specifically a temperamental horse named Apollo, but his father actually buys it for him and Brady bonds with it, as he had with Gus. However, his riding and refusal to rest cause him to have a near-fatal seizure. Doctors warn him that more riding could be fatal. Upon returning home, Brady finds that his horse has had an accident, permanently injuring a leg. Knowing that the horse will never be able to be ridden ever again, and not being able to bring himself to put his own horse down, he must have his father to do it for him.

After an argument with his father, Brady decides to take part in a rodeo competition, despite the doctors' warnings. At the competition, just before he competes, he sees his family watching him. He finally decides to walk away from the competition and life as a rodeo rider.


  • Brady Jandreau as Brady Blackburn
  • Tim Jandreau as Wayne Blackburn
  • Lilly Jandreau as Lilly Blackburn
  • Cat Clifford as Cat Clifford
  • Terri Dawn Pourier as Terri Dawn Pourier
  • Lane Scott as Lane Scott
  • Tanner Langdeau as Tanner Langdeau
  • James Calhoon as James Calhoon


Sony Pictures Classics acquired the distribution rights in the U.S. and other territories two days following its premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.[6]


Box office

The Rider grossed $2.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $4.2 million.[1]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 184 reviews, and an average rating of 8.50/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Rider's hard-hitting drama is only made more effective through writer-director Chloé Zhao's use of untrained actors to tell the movie's fact-based tale."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 92 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[8]

Godfrey Cheshire of gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, writing that its "style, its sense of light and landscape and mood, simultaneously give it the mesmerizing force of the most confident cinematic poetry."[9]

Former United States President Barack Obama listed The Rider among his favorite films of 2018, in his annual list of favorite films.[10]

Top ten lists

The Rider was listed on numerous critics' top ten lists for 2018.[11]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref.
Film Independent Spirit Awards March 3, 2018 Best Feature Mollye Asher, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bert Hamelinck and Chloé Zhao Nominated [12]
Best Director Chloé Zhao Nominated
Best Editing Alex O'Flinn Nominated
Best Cinematography Joshua James Richards Nominated
Gotham Independent Film Award November 26, 2018 Best Feature The Rider Won [13][14]
Audience Award The Rider Nominated
British Independent Film Awards December 8, 2018 Best Foreign Independent Film Chloé Zhao, Mollye Asher, Sacha Ben Harroche and Bert Hamelinck Nominated [15]
National Board of Review January 8, 2019 Top Ten Independent Films The Rider Won [16]
National Society of Film Critics January 5, 2019 Best Picture The Rider Won [17]
Best Director Chloé Zhao Nominated


  1. ^ a b "The Rider (2018) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Fortnight 2017: The 49th Directors' Fortnight Selection". Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (April 19, 2016). "Cannes: Juliette Binoche-Gerard Depardieu Drama to Kick Off Directors Fortnight". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Hopewell, John (May 26, 2017). "Cannes: Chloe Zhao's 'The Rider' Tops Cannes' Directors' Fortnight". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  5. ^ Cheshire, Godfrey. "The Rider movie review". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (May 23, 2017). "Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Cowboy Drama 'The Rider' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Rider (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  8. ^ "The Rider Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Cheshire, Godfrey (April 13, 2018). "The Rider". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  10. ^ Sharf, Zack (December 28, 2018). "Barack Obama's Favorite Movies of 2018 List Is Here, and It's Pretty Damn Amazing". Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "Best of 2018: Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 21, 2017). "Spirit Award Nominations: 'Call Me By Your Name', 'Lady Bird', 'Get Out', 'The Rider', 'Florida Project' Best Pics". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  13. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (November 26, 2018). "Gotham Awards: A24 Sweeps With Five Wins, Including 'First Reformed,' 'Eighth Grade' (Full Winners List)". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Mandinach, Zach (October 18, 2018). "Nominations Announced for the 28th Annual IFP Gotham Awards". Independent Filmmaker Project. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Brown, Mark (October 31, 2018). "The Favourite dominates British independent film award nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Lewis, Hilary (November 27, 2018). "'Green Book' Named Best Film by National Board of Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 5, 2019). "National Society Of Film Critics Names Chloe Zhao's 'The Rider' As Best Picture". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 6, 2019.

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