7.7/10
6,893
60 user 42 critic

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Redgrave ... Ruxton Towers Reformatory Governor
Tom Courtenay ... Colin Smith
Avis Bunnage Avis Bunnage ... Mrs. Smith
Alec McCowen ... Mr. Brown
James Bolam ... Mike
Joe Robinson ... Mr. 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

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

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

Early in the movie, when the new boys are in the van on the way to the borstal, they are shown in handcuffs and chains; when they emerge from the van, the restraints are gone. However, one of their guards is heard referring to removing their restraints after they pass through the outer gate. 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Free Cinema (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Rhona Roy Dresses (TV Advertisement)
(uncredited)
Music by Johnny Johnston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Black & White rules!
6 October 2006 | by gingergurl75See all my reviews

I saw the last few minutes of this flick on Tyne Tees telly a couple of years after its theater rounds. In that part of England in those days there was only subsequent run at the Odeon, ABC and Majestic and I never got the chance to see it on a big screen. I can always hope.

I also remember the lurid cover on the paperback as it sat on the rack at Boots alongside Brendan Behan's "Borstal Boy." I had to settle for Mickey Spillane or Ian Fleming instead.

The film is far more gritty than Billy Liar, but Courtenay is identical in both roles in that he has to triumph over adversity in both films. In this role he rejects the life of his father which was subservience to the mill in favor of living large, but not very. In short he aspired to be a spiv just to blend in. But he needs to impress a couple of birds too, and that takes money -- and love of money is the root of all evil.

Then he gets a mini-vacation in a castle stolen by Oliver Cromwell and eventually converted to a government-owned barracks to meet the conveniences of World War II. I have never seen the concrete post with barbed wire any other place than England. In this boot camp styled borstal he has to confront his demons and decide just exactly who he wants to be. The Head has an ax to grind with the local school and naively hopes that sports is the way to channel these boys' anger. Should that fail, there are posters plastering the walls touting a man's life in the army. And that's why this film doesn't waste a scene.

Americans watching this film might have some trouble with an almost extinct dialect, but human nature does not change.

Favorite scenes 1) when he burns the pound note and 2) the romp on the dunes at Skegness.


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