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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.

Writers:

Stephen King (novel) (as Richard Bachman), Steven E. de Souza (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,706 ( 162)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The year is 2019. The finest men in America don't run for President. They run for their lives. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Running Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$38,122,105
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prior to Paul Michael Glaser being hired as director, executive producer Rob Cohen had hired four other directors in his attempts to make the movie. The first was George P. Cosmatos, who had impressed Cohen with his work on Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). However, when Cosmatos announced that he wanted to relocate the entire film to a shopping mall, Cohen let him go, feeling that Cosmatos was taking the script in an unacceptable direction. Cohen next offered the project to German director Carl Schenkel, having been impressed with Abwärts (1984), but Schenkel turned him down as he didn't feel comfortable taking on such a large project. Next, Cohen hired Ferdinand Fairfax, based upon his work on Savage Islands (1983). Like Cosmatos, however, Fairfax began to take the screenplay in a direction which Cohen disliked, so once again, he let him go. Cohen then turned to Andrew Davis, having enjoyed Davis' movie Code of Silence (1985). Davis actually got the project off the ground and into production, but only eight days into the shoot, he was already $8 million over budget and four days behind schedule. As such Cohen let Davis go, and ultimately hired Glaser, whom he had worked with on the first season of Miami Vice (1984). See more »

Goofs

During the opening dance number for The Running Man game show, one spectator is seen twice, in two different places, at the same time. See more »

Quotes

Damon Killian: And that's why I'd like you to volunteer to appear on tomorrow night's episode of The Running Man.
Ben Richards: [beat] Fuck you!
Damon Killian: [chuckles] You're a brilliant conversationalist, Ben. A trifle limited, but brilliant.
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

When the film aired on TV3 in New Zealand in the early 1990s, graphic scenes of violence and profanity were cut for censorship: The "F' words are missing. The graphic violent scenes in the film that were cut is as follows: Digo's head exploding in the opening prison breakout sequence is missing. The graphic close-up shot of Sub-Zero's throat being sliced by barb wire is missing. Buzzsaw's death was edited which blood splattering on his face and his high pitched scream is removed. Ben's fake death was also edited, which the shot of the spikes impaling his body is removed and an innocent bystander being shot and killed by a ICS soldier in climatic shootout sequence at the end of the movie is missing. See more »

Connections

References Knight Rider (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

THE RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES
(from THE VALKYRIES)
Music by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
He Said He'd Be Back..."The Running Man" is Fun No Matter How You Slice and Dice it...
28 March 2003 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

"The Running Man" is based on a story by Richard Bachman, a.k.a. Stephen King writing under pseudonym.

It takes place in the near future, where everything is run by the media and the government. Kind of like right now. In the future, there isn't much selection on television. All there is is "The Running Man"--hosted by Damon Killian (Richard Dawson, host of "Family Fortune" in real life)--a show that features convicts, or "runners" being chased by madmen, or "stalkers." It's a bit like a futuristic gladiator sport. No one ever, ever wins the show. But Schwarzenegger has yet to play. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards, also known as The Butcher of Bakersfield, for firing upon a crowd of humans in a food strike. Only one problem. He's been framed--he never shot anyone. After Arnie escapes from jail, Damon Killian wants his hands on him for the show--so they hunt him down and bring him in. Damon offers Ben a deal--if he goes on the show, he'll let his friends from jail go free. But if he doesn't...he puts his friends on. So Richards agrees to play the game, only to find that Damon has put his friends-from-jail in the show anyway. Right before being launched in the arena, Ben Richards says to Damon, "Hey, Damon. I'll be back." There is a pause. "Only in a rerun," Damon says. Yeah, right.

This movie is about as action-packed and adrenaline-punched an action movie you're going to see in a while. We see an excuse for Schwarzenegger being thrown into an arena with killers, where he must use his brains, strategy, and most of all muscles, to kill the stalkers. But the thing is, the excuse for throwing Schwarzenegger in the arena is a good one. They didn't completely ignore the plot; they don't even throw him in the arena until at least a half hour into the film. They set up the plot first, which is nice.

Arnold proves his acting talent is not just in his muscles once again. Too many people make fun of Schwarzenegger's acting skills, but to tell you the truth, I prefer him over Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone any day. Bruce and Sly are mumblers, in my opinion. Anyway, I like Arnold in this movie, because unlike in "The Terminator" where he is an indestructible cyborg, he is a vincible human with emotions in this film. We see a different side to Schwarzenegger, and it's pretty nice.

Richard Dawson is surprisingly good as Damon. I love his charisma on screen. Of course he's good at playing a gameshow host--he himself was one--but he also has a very good acting talent. Check out the scene where he offers Arnold a deal for going on the show. Look how smug he is in that scene, and how well he delivers his lines. He envelops his character very well. An underrated actor if ever I saw one. He comes off slightly creepy and slightly likable.

This movie is good fun no matter how you slice and dice it. I've often noticed it has a bit of a weird vibe to it, but then I realized that's just the sci-fi/futuristic vibe of the film. I've felt it before when watching sci-fi films. There's something about them. When I watch a film, or a certain genre, I get different vibes. Sci-fi gives me a weird vibe that is undescribable. This film gives that vibe to me. It sounds weird, but I think a lot of people get "vibes" and don't realize it.

I recently viewed this movie twice in less than a day; once at night and once in the morning. It just goes to show how easy it is to watch. It is strictly a fun, action film with lots of imagination and charisma. Easy to watch with a high re-watch factor.

What would you rather do with 90 minutes of your life on a Friday night then watch Arnold Schwarzenegger get to knock some skulls together in a gladiator arena? Exactly.

4/5 stars -


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