7.7/10
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54 user 34 critic

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

A juvenile offender at a tough reform school impresses its governor with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (short story)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Avis Bunnage ...
Mrs. Smith
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Roach
Dervis Ward ...
Detective
Topsy Jane ...
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Storyline

A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor's prize runner. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rebel with a Cause  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to cinematographer Walter Lassally, when production began, all the "spade work" had already been done, including all the decisions about where and how to shoot the film and all the technical details of the cinematic approach, because they had figured out most of that on the previous film he made with Tony Richardson, A Taste of Honey (1961). "So we went into Loneliness with relatively little preparation, except for the things that were demanded by the subject itself." See more »

Goofs

When the boys are doing gardening work one character calls another "you mug" (meaning gullible idiot). This is incorrectly recorded in the subtitles as "you muppet" but the word "muppet" - meaning an idiot - was not in use when the film was made. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Colin Smith: Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like.
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Soundtracks

Jerusalem
(uncredited)
Music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
Lyrics by William Blake
Sung by the lads in the audience at the close of the concert scene
Several instrumental variations of the melody are heard throughout the soundtrack
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User Reviews

 
Between the 50s and 60s...
1 March 2002 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

I caught this film late at night on cable, and it is the first movie I've seen with Tom Courtenay in it, who is excellent (Either by coincidence or design, King Rat was on only a few nights later).

I'd never heard of this film before, but I was immediately transfixed by its look; something here is remarkable about the way black and white is used to further the overall feel and design of the film.

Having never been to the UK, I don't have a really good sense of how time passes there; to an American, England appears to age barely at all as seen through the cinema. But the themes here and the use of silence and the overall look of the film convey a society in the midst of change; as much as there is here that reminds one of the 1950s, there is an overwhelming 60s theme here about conformity and authority and society which is inescapable. I found myself cheering a bit at the end in the same way I cheered for Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke; here, as in that film, is the story of an individual who refused to be "broken."

I'd definitely rate this film as a key 1960s film, black and white, and yet thoroughly modern and not at all dated. A lot of care was put into this film from the performances to the camerawork, and while it is not something that would keep you on the edge of your seat, it is certainly a compelling story, compellingly told.


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