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The Running Man (1987)

Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
In a dystopian America, a falsely convicted policeman gets his shot at freedom when he must forcibly participate in a TV game show where convicts, runners, must battle killers for their freedom.

Writers:

Stephen King (novel) (as Richard Bachman), Steven E. de Souza (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,508 ( 338)
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 2019, 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arnold Schwarzenegger thought Paul Michael Glaser was a terrible choice to direct, what with Glaser coming from a TV background, and having no film experience as a director at all. He thought Glaser shot this film like a TV show, losing all of the script's deeper themes; Schwarzenegger suspected that because Glaser was a last-minute replacement, he didn't have time to research this future he was depicting, unlike James Cameron had with The Terminator (1984); also in television, they hire you and the very next week you shoot, so he didn't place all of the blame at Glaser's feet. See more »

Goofs

Flipped shot: When Ben is fighting Buzzsaw, the name on Ben's jumpsuit moves to the other side and is mirrored. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a helicopter is flying at night]
Man: [over radio] Yankee-nine-niner, what are your coordinates?
Ben Richards: 0-2-0, flight level 1-5. We're above release point Echo-Bravo-one.
Man: [over radio] Move in and check it out.
Ben Richards: Roger. Moving in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Announcer's voiceover: "The Running Man has been brought to you by: Breakaway Paramilitary Uniforms, Orthopure Pure Procreation Pills, and Cadre Cola - it hits the spot. Promotional considerations paid for by Kelton Flame Throwers, Wainwright Electrical Launchers, and Hammond & Gage Chain Saws. Damon Killian's wardrobe by Chez Antoine, 19th-century craftsmanship for the 21st-century man. Cadre trooper and studio guard's sidearms provided by Colchester, the pistol of patriots. Remember, tickets for the ICS studio tour are always available for class A citizens in good standing. If you'd like to be a contestant on The Running Man, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to ICS Talent Hunt, care of your local affiliate, and then go out and do something really despicable! I'm Phil Hilton. Good night and take care!" 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

Spoofs Love, American Style (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Paula's Theme
Written and Produced by Jackie Jackson and Glen Barbee
Performed by Jackie Jackson and Glen Barbee
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User Reviews

 
I'm into survival not politics
11 December 2009 | by sol1218See all my reviews

**SPOILERS** Futuristic film about a totalitarian government that had taken over the US and uses the media to keep the public in line and satisfied with blood lust-like shows. The most popular being the brutal "Running Man" hosted by its giggling psycho host Damon Killian, Richard Dawson.

It's when Killian saw a news clip of former L.A cop Ben Richards, Arnold Schwartznegger, running from the police with his bulging muscles and perfect physique he saw his lagging ratings for his show-The Running Man-jump up at least 10 points. Richards had been framed for the notorious Bakersville Massacre where, during a food riot, some 60 civilians were gunned down by the L.A.P.D police helicopter that he commanded. With Richards now in custody he'll be the feature act in the next Running Man show where survive of the contestants, like Richards, is almost non-existent.

Getting away from all the preliminaries leading up to the main event the film really gets started when Richards is given the chance to save his life by withstanding and defeating all the stalkers on the show who are out to finish him off. Right away Richards sees what a lying lowlife swine Killian is by him having his two friends Laughlin & Weiss, Yaphet Kotto & Marvin J. McIntire, who escaped along with him from a government gulag put in the same position that he's in: Fighting for their lives against impossible odds as contestants on the show. That was something that Killian promise Richards he wouldn't do if he agreed to participate and go on the show.

With his new found girlfriend-whom he picked up along the way- Amber, Maria Alonso, Richards takes on the best and most effective stalkers that Killian could throw at him making mince meat fried chicken and Susi out of them. This doesn't save either Laughlin and Weiss who in the end are killed during the savage and brutal game.

***SPOILERS*** Richards who was only interested in his own survival turned his interest to overthrowing the ruthless and Nazi-like government when he saw first hand what they've been doing to him and his fellow Americans in enslaving them in both body as well as mind. With a new outlook on life and the sorry state that America is in Richards after dispatching the stalker squad that was out to kill both him and Amber turned his attention on Killian, who with his gang of goons no longer around to protect him, and gave him a taste of his own medicine!

P.S Even more effective then surviving the game of "Running Man" Richards with the help of his late friend Weiss, who was an electronic genius, was able the break the secret code that controls the broadcasts of the country's media-via satellite-outlets. By him doing that the American public were finally able to get the truth of how their Fascist Government lies to as well as manipulates them! And even more important they'll also be able, by rising up against it, to finally put a stop to it! One of those truths that comes to the surface is just how Richards himself was railroaded by the government in taking responsibility in the Bakersville Massacre. Which in fact as the original news video tapes showed, before they were altered, he tried to stop!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$38,122,105

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,122,105
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Company Credits

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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
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