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The Running Man (1987)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Sci-Fi  |  13 November 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 106,549 users  
Reviews: 221 user | 121 critic

A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.


(novel) (as Richard Bachman) , (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erland van Lidth ...
Dynamo (as Erland Van Lidth)
Marvin J. McIntyre ...
Gus Rethwisch ...
Professor Toru Tanaka ...
Sven (as Sven Thorsen)
Lenny (as Eddie Bunker)


Set in a totalitarian society. Ben Richards is a cop who was blamed for a massacre which wasn't his fault. He would be sent to prison and breaks out with some other inmates. He tries to escape but the woman whom he dragged into his plan turns him over to the authorities. Damon Killian, who is the host of THE RUNNING MAN a game show wherein convicted felons are given the chance to run to freedom but have to elude the stalkers; men who hunt them down and kill them in gruesome manners. When he learns that Richards has been caught, he wants him to be the show's next contestant. After being brought to Killian, Richards turns him down, Killian then reveals to Richards that his two friends who were in prison with him and who broke out with him have been caught, so unless Richards does the show they will. But on the night of the show, Richards is set to go but Killian also reveals that Richards' two friends are going with him. Richards tells Killian that he will be back. But first ! Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


2019. A game nobody survives. This year might be the exception. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El sobreviviente  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)


$38,122,105 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In Killian's office there is a poster for a fake TV show called "Hate Boat." In real life, Richard Dawson had a role in the TV series The Love Boat (1977). See more »


When Richards is fighting Fireball, he throws several 55 gal barrels at him. The barrels he picks up are made of lightweight polyethylene; however in the following shot, they have been replaced by much heavier steel drums. See more »


Ben Richards: Killian, here's your Subzero, now plain zero.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Announcer's voiceover: "The Running Man has been brought to you by: Breakaway Paramilitary Uniforms, Orthopure Pure Procreation Pills, and Cadre Cola - it hits the spot. Promotional considerations paid for by Kelton Flame Throwers, Wainwright Electrical Launchers, and Hammond & Gage Chain Saws. Damon Killian's wardrobe by Chez Antoine, 19th century craftsmanship for the 21st century man. Cadre trooper and studio guard's sidearms provided by Colchester, the pistol of patriots. Remember, tickets for the ICS studio tour are always available for class A citizens in good standing. If you'd like to be a contestant on The Running Man, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to ICS Talent Hunt, care of your local affiliate, and then go out and do something really despicable! I'm Phil Hilton. Good night and take care!" See more »


Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: Nighthawks (2010) See more »


Theme from Gilligan's Island
By Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The future IS the 80's
6 May 2004 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

Of all Arnold's mid-'80s movies who would have thought that most relevant today would be The Running Man. A chilling and surprisingly realistic tale of reality TV gone mad. It may have been far-fetched back then but not so now. Not when you think about it. Currently, Reality TV shows are either scraping the bottom of the barrel or desperate to raise the bar. If the next one isn't more controversial as the last, it's a dud. How long will it be before we really do see shows like The Running Man? How long before we have 'court-appointed theatrical attorneys' or the entertainment division of the Justice Department? There is so much satire and intelligence in this movie that may have been missed back in 1987 that is desperate to be seen again considering the current state of TV shows.

The biggest message of all is 'You are being lied to'. It's no secret that the Government and the media work in cahoots. And the masses believe what the media tells them to believe. It's a very scary state of affairs and unless more accurate representations of the truth emerge we may easily accept a brutal show like the Running Man in the near future. It's no secret that Reality TV is not very realistic. It's edited and reshaped before being aired and it's only what the networks want you to see. Usually it's far from the real truth.

Although rather different than Stephen King's book (the ending is completely changed) the script does conform to the typical Arnie formula. Yes, he does have numerous and very corny one-liners and he does say 'I'll be back' (which he never REALLY said that often anyway, when you think about it) in the most ironic situation yet but he's still a zillion times better in the role then Christopher Reeve or Dolph Lundgren would have been (these two were considered BEFORE Arnie believe it or not).

The director is none other than Dave Starsky himself (Paul Michael Glaser). It may not be artistic but it is still strong enough to generate excitement and his use of neon and flourescent colors gives each individual set a pretty cool look. Andrew Davis (not a director I particularly like) was attached before Glaser, though no matter who directs, the film is still marred by a very heavy 80's feel.

First of all, Harold Faltermeyer's score (remember him?) is incredibly dated and robs the action scenes of any timeless integrity. And the fashion sense of the movie is far too excessive to be convincingly set in the future. Apart from the dated feel, the only other thing that bugs me is the poorly staged shoot-out that passes as the climax.

This new DVD is a zillion times better than the original release. Gone is the horrid letterbox picture. In its place is a brand new hi-definition 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The colors sparkle and literally pop from the screen. The new Dolby 5.1 EX and DTS ES soundtrack are also amazing. There constant use of the surround channels to great effect and the bass is strong and powerful. Definitely one of the best re-masters I've seen so far. Two intriguing documentaries, a trailer and a 'Meet the Stalkers' gimmick are included in this 2-disc set that comes in a rather neat slip case.

94 of 105 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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