The credits of Arrival list Frank Gauthier as the film's Horse Wrangler. Why did the film need such a person? I don't remember any horses in the film. Were there horses in the background of a shot?

Frank Gauthier's credit

Extra question: Who decided to name the position "Horse Wrangler" instead "Horse Handler"?

  • 3
    It's worth noting that just because there are no horses on screen doesn't mean there weren't horses that needed wrangling off-screen. As I recall a large portion of the film was shot in the wilds of Canada/Quebec...it's not inconceivable that there were animals that needs attention there.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 9:58
  • Also there are 5 people (VFX credit) with wrangler in their title. It's just a another term for person in charge...although the origin is probably from the 'cowboy' era. Wrangling just used to mean 'round up'.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 10:04
  • It might also be worth searching on the cutting room floor.
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 11:30
  • 5
    Possibly a deleted scene? The daughter is shown when she's very young dressed as a cowboy and riding a cloth horse, so perhaps they also shot scenes as she was older and riding a real horse?
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


There is a horse in the movie, it's just shown out of focus or in extreme close up. This is one of Louise's memories of her daughter, when she exits the ship after deciding to take off her suit to interact with the aliens in person: she remembers her daughter interacting with a horse in a stable. Says the film's editor Joe Walker:

Many things were just grabbed moments that were sort of very emotive and beautiful, a hand touching a baby’s hand in a cart, or an out-of-focus shot of a horse in a stable. They could have gone anywhere. Trying to build that into the narrative and marble this narrative through with these little glimpses of a memory, if you like.

Says the film's director Denis Villeneuve:

For me, the scene that expresses most the movie, is the way the little girl is seeing the world, when she sees nature. The one shot that is very important to me, there is a shot where she sees a horse. That is one of the most important shots of the movie.

The usage of out of focus shots and extreme close-ups is prevalent in these scenes and conveys the personal yet amorphous nature of memories. You can see the horse (and also hear its hooves and see a silhouette of a hand holding its reins) right before the 50 minute mark. Here are images of the horse in the background and its muzzle up close:

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  • 1
    Why is this not the accepted answer? The currently accepted one doesnt answer the question at all. It just asks more questions!
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 9:40
  • 2
    @bobbyalex Well, probably because I just posted it. ;) And the OP hasn't been around for at least a week. But ta for the comment.
    – Walt
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 9:44

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