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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.


Stephen King (novel) (as Richard Bachman), Steven E. de Souza (screenplay)
1,731 ( 178)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Schwarzenegger ... Ben Richards
Maria Conchita Alonso ... Amber Mendez
Yaphet Kotto ... William Laughlin
Jim Brown ... Fireball
Jesse Ventura ... Captain Freedom
Erland van Lidth ... Dynamo (as Erland Van Lidth)
Marvin J. McIntyre ... Harold Weiss
Gus Rethwisch ... Buzzsaw
Professor Toru Tanaka ... Subzero
Mick Fleetwood ... Mic
Dweezil Zappa ... Stevie
Richard Dawson ... Damon Killian
Karen Leigh Hopkins ... Brenda
Sven-Ole Thorsen ... Sven (as Sven Thorsen)
Edward Bunker ... 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


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

13 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Running Man See more »


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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The character - Mrs. McArdle -, The host (Damon Killian) of the show's 'number one fan', is an homage to Mrs. Miller, a long-time fixture of many series, including The Merv Griffin Show, whose entire claim to fame (seriously) was her coming almost every day to the tapings. The real Mrs. Miller - who was not a young woman - actually parlayed her notoriety into several ventures, including recording an (entire) album, entitled - what else - 'Mrs. Miller Sings'. It's an album which is only heard on Dr. Demento-type shows. See more »


When Ben confronted Amber about who she was and Amber revealed that she took over the apartment a month ago from the brother since he was getting "re-educated", since Ben used the same pass-code and it worked with no issues, wouldn't a new tenant either get a new pass-code or if not change the current one to be safe. See more »


Mic: Mr. Spock, you have the com.
Underground Tech: Who is Mr. Spock?
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

The German Video-version (FSK-16) is heavily cut (about 10 Minutes) to remove extreme violence. See more »


Referenced in The Starving Games (2013) See more »


Music by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A classic futurustic sports sci-fi action flick - one of Schwarzenegger's decent and underrated films
5 October 2018 | by rambofan4lifeSee all my reviews

I do not think this movie is average, bad, slow or terrible, I disagree with critics who dislike this movie. This movie is fast paced, entertaining,, decent sci-fi futuristic action flick from the 80's that Schwarzenegger started it and he was decent! I love this film to death and it is my fourth personal favorite Schwarzenegger movie. You want to dislike Schwarzenegger movie? Go and watch Maggie, Sabotage, Aftermath, Terminator Genisys, The Expendables 3 and Killing Gunther those movies incredible suck!!!!!!! The Running Man is near bad as people are claiming. No the movie is a classic futuristic sports sci-fi action film that evolves around a game show in the future it is filed with action and blood squibs.

I grew up watching this movie I have this film on Blu-ray I used to had it on VHS but not anymore. It is part of my childhood and I have grave up watching this movie. I have enjoy it and I still do. I am huge Schwarzenegger fan from my childhood and I am definitely going to consider this movie as my all time favorite film. It is decent and excellent performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger in which he has to play against his will in a game show called "The Running Man" and he is the only man who can survive the game. The film is very loosely based on the 1982 novel of the same name written by Stephen King.

The film's story, set in a dystopian United States between 2017 and 2019, is about a television show called The Running Man, where convicted criminal "runners" must escape death at the hands of professional killers. "The Running Man" has convicts in which they have to run while the stalkers are chasing them and are killing them. The Stalkers are: Subzro (Professor Toru Tanaka), Dynamo (Erland Van Lidth), Captain Freedom (Jesse Ventura) , Buzzsaw (Gus Rethwisch) and Fireball (Jim Brown). The Runners are: Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger), William Laughlin (Yaphet Kotto), Harold Weiss (Marvin J. McIntyre) and Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso).

Maria Conchita Alonso was a great babe as Ben Richards love interest I love her in this movie so much. She was also in Predator 2. Jesse Ventura was excellent as Captain Freedom he played in Predator with Schwarzenegger and he played in Batman & Robin third time with Schwarzenegger in the row. You have Kurt Fuller from Ghostbusters II in this movie and he is excellent. Paul Michael Glaser directed well the film and showed us a future we living it. Richard Dawson as Damon Killian was a great bad guy and I have enjoyed him as an actor in the film.

I really love this film to death I love the music from Harold Faltermeyer which was an excellent score. I love the soundtrack to this movie Restless Heart by John Parr in which it is bad-ass song I have ever hear about it. I love showgirls in this movie I love the action. I love Ben Richards fighting with Buzzzsaw (Gus Rethwisch) with a chainsaw like in a horror slasher movie. Ben fighting against Subzero (Professor Toru Tanaka) in which Subzero was a hockey player. Those stalkers chassed their competitors. While Ben Richards and his friends are trying to out run them. The show host was Damon Killian (Richard Dawson) who pit it Ben Richards against his stalkers. Of course Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) said Killian "I will be back." I really love Schwarzenegger famous lines. Ben Richards is an ex cop who was framed for a massacre he never committed he escaped from prison but got captured and pitted in a game show.

9 score this movie not bad or average like people are claiming it is Schwarzenegger's solid sci-fi action entertaining film and yea not a and one at all. It is my fourth favorite Schwarzenegger film the first one will always be Terminator 2: Judgment Day, second one will be Predator, Third one will be Commando and the fourth one will be The Running Man.

I really miss movies like this, special effect are good for the 80's it is Rated R it has bloody squibs it come out the same year as RoboCop, Predator and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors.

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