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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama , Sport | 8 October 1962 (USA)
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:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

Alan Sillitoe (screenplay), Alan Sillitoe (adapted from his short story by)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Michael Redgrave ... Ruxton Towers Reformatory Governor
Tom Courtenay ... Colin Smith
Avis Bunnage Avis Bunnage ... Mrs. Smith
Alec McCowen ... Brown
James Bolam ... Mike
Joe Robinson ... Roach
Dervis Ward Dervis Ward ... Detective
Topsy Jane Topsy Jane ... Audrey
Julia Foster ... Gladys
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rebel with a Cause See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Woodfall Film Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a running scene in which the camera catches both the rising sun and the setting moon. Walter Lassally recalled a critic writing of this scene: "'What consultation of ephemerides there must have been to capture that precious moment'...which only goes to show that critics don't know a great deal about how movies are made, because you can't possibly plan a thing like that. It would take forever, and fall well outside your schedule." The shot was actually one of those happy accidents that sometimes happen in filmmaking. Two cameras were set up, one with a wide angle lens and one with a long focus. It was pure luck that the two celestial bodies were caught. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie when the new boys are in the van on the way to Borstal they are shown in handcuffs and chains. When they emerge from the van the restraints are gone. 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

Under the Double Eagle
(uncredited)
Music by Josef Wagner
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User Reviews

 
Superb 60's drama. Every scene is Courtney's
22 September 2006 | by Andy HowlettSee all my reviews

"Where the bloody hell have *you* been?" I'm sure this phrase appears in every black & white British 'kitchen sink' film of the time, usually asked by the exhausted mother or father of their wayward son. Colin Smith is a lad who is on the verge of becoming uncontrollable. Low-level crime and an aversion to authority make him every mother's nightmare. When his father dies and his mother takes up with a slimy fancy-man, Colin gets even worse and rebels. When he is convicted of burglary he is sent to Borstal and expected to bow down to the harsh routine, but his talent for running is spotted by the governor and he is encouraged to train for the inter-school Cup against the local 'posh' school. Will Colin do his duty? The film takes the unusual (for its time) structure of long flashbacks to Colin's home life while he is training. This is very effective and puts life into what could have been a rather dull film. There is one joyous scene in which Colin is first allowed out of the borstal gates to train - the sun is shining, we can almost smell the cool, fresh air and the soundtrack bursts into some glorious jazz trumpet. It's such an uplifting tune and so typical of its period that this film would be worth the price of the DVD just for this moment. Despite the depressing theme and grimy visuals, this film - made at the height of the 'gritty British drama' period of the 60's - is a delight.


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