7.6/10
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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 8 October 1962 (USA)
A juvenile offender (Sir Tom Courtenay) at a tough reform school impresses its Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave) 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)
Reviews
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 (Sir Tom Courtenay), 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 (Sir Michael Redgrave's) prize runner.

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

Theatrical movie debut of Julia Foster (Gladys). 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

Jerusalem
Music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (uncredited)
Lyrics by William Blake (uncredited)
Sung by the lads in the audience at the close of the concert scene
Several instrumental variations of the melody are heard throughout the soundtrack
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Between the 50s and 60s...
1 March 2002 | by Quag7See all my reviews

I caught this film late at night on cable, and it is the first movie I've seen with Tom Courtenay in it, who is excellent (Either by coincidence or design, King Rat was on only a few nights later).

I'd never heard of this film before, but I was immediately transfixed by its look; something here is remarkable about the way black and white is used to further the overall feel and design of the film.

Having never been to the UK, I don't have a really good sense of how time passes there; to an American, England appears to age barely at all as seen through the cinema. But the themes here and the use of silence and the overall look of the film convey a society in the midst of change; as much as there is here that reminds one of the 1950s, there is an overwhelming 60s theme here about conformity and authority and society which is inescapable. I found myself cheering a bit at the end in the same way I cheered for Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke; here, as in that film, is the story of an individual who refused to be "broken."

I'd definitely rate this film as a key 1960s film, black and white, and yet thoroughly modern and not at all dated. A lot of care was put into this film from the performances to the camerawork, and while it is not something that would keep you on the edge of your seat, it is certainly a compelling story, compellingly told.


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