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The Loneliest Runner (1976)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  20 December 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 259 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

A fourteen year old bed wetter runs home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother has hung from his bedroom window to punish him. He races to get there before any of his ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Curtis as a Youth
Arnold Curtis
DeAnn Mears ...
Alice Curtis
Nancy Rizzi
John Curtis as an Adult
Walker Edmiston ...
Dr. Claymor
Clifford A. Pellow ...
George Sanders (as Cliff Pellow)
Fred Dawkins (as Neil Russell)
Randy Faustino ...
Robert Hackman ...
Mr. Rizzi
Barbara Collentine ...
Miss King
Herb Vigran ...
Hank Stohl ...
Assistant Director


A fourteen year old bed wetter runs home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother has hung from his bedroom window to punish him. He races to get there before any of his friends pass the house. This enforced training prepares him to become a competitive runner. The script, by 'Michael Landon', is autobiographical Written by Frank Wallace <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sport





Release Date:

20 December 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El corredor solitario  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Brutal But Well-Made Movie
19 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's no way I would have ever come across this movie but for belonging to a film club that views movies dealing with the theme of running. Landon has admitted that this poignant bed wetting story was autobiographical; frankly I doubt the squeamish subject matter would have ever been broached (let alone made into a feature length TV movie) without the backing of someone as powerful in television as Landon was in the 70s. Obviously the pain of the experience stayed with Landon because there are strong psychological conflicts and images at work here that seem likely to have come from real life, including the stained bedsheets hanging out the window and the pained, carefully modulated performance by Brian Keith as the father who can't quite stand up to his castrating and selfish wife or his own private demons.

Is it credible and well acted? Definitely. Does Landon demonstrate startling balls and emotion in his blazingly frank depiction of the material? Unquestionably. Is this studiously observed treatise on the ultimate in childhood embarrassment and ridicule going to be uncomfortable and maybe even a bit of a bummer for you? Probably.

The mother and ostensible villain of the piece is overly caricatured and some of the attitudes of the 1940s are oversimplified but still, I have to admit I was moved by the story. The ending packs power and Landon the writer provides Landon the actor (looking very Bruce Jenner-like in his Olympics clothing) with a wonderful line when Rafer Johnson asks him how he got into running and Landon responds by saying he owes it to his parents. That line cuts in several directions at once. Good movie for fans of Landon or Keith, who both turn in excellent work and whose lives were both ironically cut short years later.

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