The story begins with several odd occurrences at the farm where the Black, Alec (Kelly Reno), and his mother (Teri Garr) live. A suspicious barn fire is followed by the theft of the horse. From the point of view of Ishak (Ferdy Mayne), the sheik who took him, this is property retrieval; the horse was originally his, and the Black's name is Shetan. Although he learns that the horse is being returned to the sheik's kingdom in the Moroccan desert, Alec goes after the sheik, stowing away in a plane to Casablanca.
In Morocco, after being found on the plane, Alec is taken to the American embassy, where the police plan on sending him home. At the stables, he makes some friends who disguise him as a local Casablancan. They take him to a man named Kurr (Allen Garfield), who is very interested in the horse and the sheik, and allows Alec to go with him and his companion. But after getting a flat tire, they abandon Alec in the desert. He is found by the driver of another truck and given a ride. Aboard the truck, he meets Raj (Vincent Spano), who tells him the Black will probably compete in "The Great Race." The two become friends and travel across the desert on foot with Meslar (Woody Strode), Raj's friend and mentor. Then a rogue tribe kidnaps Meslar, and Raj and Alec defend themselves against the harsh elements. After running out of water, they collapse from dehydration but recover when they find a river. Raj's tribe discovers them, welcoming Raj home and Alec to the tribe. Raj takes Alec to the outskirts of Ishak's home, and he reunites with the Black.
While attempting to retrieve the horse, Alec is apprehended by Ishak's men. He pleads his case to Ishak, who is sympathetic but will not give up the horse. He plans to race the Black in the "Great Race" with his granddaughter Tabari (Jodi Thelen) as jockey. Alec insists the Black can win the race only if he, not Tabari, rides him. Denied the position, he coaches Tabari on riding the horse, but the Black throws her off. A rogue tribe led by Kurr then captures the Black and Alec and takes them away. Later, Alec escapes with the Black. As they flee, Alec discovers that Meslar is alive and being held prisoner. He gives Meslar his pocket knife to help him get free of his bonds. Alec and the Black escape and go back to Ishak's home. As a reward for the safe return of the horse, Alec is allowed to ride him in the race.
On the day of the race, Alec reunites with Raj, who is also competing, and they begin their run across the desert along with the other riders. The rogue tribe's rider tries to kill Alec, but he and the Black escape. Alec discovers that the rogue rider pushed Raj off his horse, and he brings Raj's mount back to him. They race against the rogue rider until Meslar appears and spooks the rider's horse, unseating him. Suddenly, Kurr shows up in his truck and chases Raj and Alec, shooting at them. However, he takes a wrong turn and the truck crashes into a ditch.
Alec wins the race, then pleads with Ishak to allow Raj to keep the horse that he rode, despite the condition that the winning rider's sheik is allowed to keep any horses that he wants. Ishak grants the reprieve, which allows Alec to repay Raj for his kindness. Meslar returns with Kurr, his riding companion, and the rogue rider as his prisoners, and they are taken to face judgement.
Although Ishak gives the Black back to Alec, he decides to leave him in Morocco, where he feels he is more at home.Kelly Reno as Alec
Vincent Spano as Raj
Allen Garfield as Kurr
Woody Strode as Meslar
Ferdy Mayne as Abu Ben Ishak
Jodi Thelen as Tabari
Teri Garr as Alec's Mother
Hoyt Axton as Narrator (voice)
Cass Ole / El Mokhtar as The Black
The filming locations for "The Black Stallion Returns" took place in Djanet, Algeria, Abiquiu, New Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Santa Clarita & Los Angeles, California and New York City. The role of the Black Stallion was played by Cass Ole (who starred in the first film) and El Mokhtar, who was used in the racing scenes of the film, but he passed away from colic during the making of the movie.
"The Black Stallion Returns" debuted at #5 at the box office, grossing $2,923,297 during its opening weekend, coming in behind films High Road to China and Tootsie. Domestically, the film grossed $12,049,108.
The film was given an audience score of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 7,130 user ratings with an average rating of 3.55. Vincent Canby from the New York Times said it was "funny, unpretentious and fast-paced. It has a kind of comicbook appreciation for direct action and no time whatsoever for mysticism or for scenery for its own sake, though most of it was shot in Morocco and is fun to look at". The Boston Globe called it a "slow-paced, incompetently directed film with both eyes focused on the box office". Variety magazine said, "The Black Stallion Returns is little more than a contrived, cornball story that most audiences will find to be an interminable bore". Roger Ebert complained about the film's stereotypical portrayal of Arab characters in his review, while noting that Allen Garfield was miscast.
Young Artist AwardsBest Young Motion Picture Actor in a Feature Film: Kelly Reno (nominated)