The story revolves around Joey, a horse that becomes part of a farm family. Joey is cared for by a loving teenage boy, who is heartbroken when his father sells the horse to the military so it can go into battle during World War I.
"War Horse" follows Joey's journey, and it's quite a dramatic one. Spielberg says despite the fact that the movie takes place during wartime, it's not a war movie.
"There's only really about 10 or 11 minutes of actual combat in a movie that's over two hours, so I don't really consider this a war film before I consider this a human interest story," Spielberg said.
Spielberg said his challenge was finding a way to create a film aimed toward families.
"That was the real creative challenge, and that was fun for me because I was able to do things without showing you what was happening, but indicate what had happened," Spielberg said.
Spielberg's wife and daughter both ride horses, and they have some that live on their property. He said horses all express themselves in different ways, but one thing they have in common is that they are soulful.
With "War Horse," Spielberg said he hopes to show the public the hearts of horses as never seen on screen before.
"When they look at you, you really know they're looking at you. That no one else they're looking at except for you, and I kept thinking, if I could only get that on camera," Spielberg said.