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The Running Man (1987)

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


(novel) (as Richard Bachman), (screenplay)
2,958 ( 964)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dynamo (as Erland Van Lidth)
Marvin J. McIntyre ...
Sven (as Sven Thorsen)
Lenny (as Eddie Bunker)


In the year 2017, the world economy has collapsed. The great freedoms of the United States are no longer, as the once great nation has sealed off its borders and become a militarized police state, censoring all film, art, literature, and communications. Even so, a small resistance force led by two revolutionaries manages to fight the oppression. With full control over the media, the government attempts to quell the nation's yearning for freedom by broadcasting a number of game shows on which convicted criminals fight for their lives. The most popular and sadistic of these programs is "The Running Man," hosted by Damon Killian. When a peaceful protest of starving citizens gathers in Bakersfield, California, a police officer named Ben Richards is ordered to fire on the crowd, which he refuses to do. Subdued by the other officers, the attack is carried out, and Richards is framed for the murder of almost a hundred unarmed civilians. Following a daring jail break months later, Richards is... Written by Curly Q. Link

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It is the year 2019. "The Running Man" is a deadly game no one has ever survived. But..... Schwarzenegger has yet to play. 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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,117,465, 15 November 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cinematographer Thomas Del Ruth previously worked with Ken Lerner on Best Kept Secrets (1984). See more »


In the beginning of the film, Weiss is shown looking at a computer monitor while a guard enters a code to deactivate the security system. He's wearing a shirt with the word "trusty" printed across it. The word that's much more frequently used is "trustee", because it has a more legal connotation . . . See more »


Dispatcher: Proceed with plan alpha. Eliminate anything moving.
Ben Richards: I said the crowd is unarmed. There are a lot of women and children down there. All they want is food for God's sake!
Dispatcher: As you were, Richards. Proceed with plan alpha. All rioters must be eliminated.
Ben Richards: The hell with you. I will not fire on helpless people. Abort mission. We return back to base.
Dispatcher: Lieutenant Sanders, do you copy?
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Crazy Credits

Continue watching the credits and towards the end you will hear a running man commercial similar to what would play at the end of a game show. See more »


Referenced in Stay Tuned (1992) See more »


The Death March
Written and Produced by Jackie Jackson and Glen Barbee
Performed by Jackie Jackson and Glen Barbee
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Came up with a rather bizarre movie that differs greatly from the story it was taken from.
21 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Arnold stars as a wrongly convicted federal criminal who escapes a futuristic prison. Once out he promptly is recaptured and put on a television show called the Running Man. A show where one must make his way through a labyrinth being pursued by trackers that include a chainsaw wielding maniac to a hockey playing sumo. It makes for an entertaining ride though it differs greatly from the Richard Bachman novel from which it came from (aka Stephen King). In that story there was no game show arena, rather you just went to the outside world trying to elude the trackers as best you could and the longer you kept hidden from them the more money your family got. Here it is different and look who is in it. With Arnold you need larger than life villains to go against him and also of note is Richard Dawson who is actually rather good as the host of the demented show. Let's face it though, he isn't exactly differing drastically from what he used to do all the time. So what do you get here? Lot's of action and wham bam finish and a little social commentary thrown in for good measure. You also get an entertaining movie that won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but will pass some time in a fun way.

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