6.7/10
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280 user 155 critic

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
1,929 ( 21)
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:

Welcome to America in 2019, when the best men 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

Marvin J. McIntyre and director of photography, Thomas Del Ruth previously collaborated on Fandango (1985). See more »

Goofs

It has been stated that Mick's group couldn't have obtained the photos of the deceased Whitman, Price and Haddad which they included in their "Killian is Lying" montage shown to the studio audience in the film's final act. The deaths of the three previous "winners" were closely guarded secrets by I.C.S., so it was assumed that there were no surveillance cameras in the area where their remains were discovered and where Fireball met his fate; nor did Ben Richards or Amber carry any photo or video equipment. However, this assumption may be incorrect, as the audience is seen loudly cheering at Fireball's on-screen death, implying that they were able to see the entire fight and that there must have been cameras inside the room. And if there was footage of the fight, the resistance could have easily obtained a few screenshots of the dead runners. 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.
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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

Referenced in T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ride of the Valkyries
from "The Valkyries"
Music by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

 
The future IS the 80's

Of all Arnold's mid-'80s movies who would have thought that most relevant today would be The Running Man. A chilling and surprisingly realistic tale of reality TV gone mad. It may have been far-fetched back then but not so now. Not when you think about it. Currently, Reality TV shows are either scraping the bottom of the barrel or desperate to raise the bar. If the next one isn't more controversial as the last, it's a dud. How long will it be before we really do see shows like The Running Man? How long before we have 'court-appointed theatrical attorneys' or the entertainment division of the Justice Department? There is so much satire and intelligence in this movie that may have been missed back in 1987 that is desperate to be seen again considering the current state of TV shows.

The biggest message of all is 'You are being lied to'. It's no secret that the Government and the media work in cahoots. And the masses believe what the media tells them to believe. It's a very scary state of affairs and unless more accurate representations of the truth emerge we may easily accept a brutal show like the Running Man in the near future. It's no secret that Reality TV is not very realistic. It's edited and reshaped before being aired and it's only what the networks want you to see. Usually it's far from the real truth.

Although rather different than Stephen King's book (the ending is completely changed) the script does conform to the typical Arnie formula. Yes, he does have numerous and very corny one-liners and he does say 'I'll be back' (which he never REALLY said that often anyway, when you think about it) in the most ironic situation yet but he's still a zillion times better in the role then Christopher Reeve or Dolph Lundgren would have been (these two were considered BEFORE Arnie believe it or not).

The director is none other than Dave Starsky himself (Paul Michael Glaser). It may not be artistic but it is still strong enough to generate excitement and his use of neon and flourescent colors gives each individual set a pretty cool look. Andrew Davis (not a director I particularly like) was attached before Glaser, though no matter who directs, the film is still marred by a very heavy 80's feel.

First of all, Harold Faltermeyer's score (remember him?) is incredibly dated and robs the action scenes of any timeless integrity. And the fashion sense of the movie is far too excessive to be convincingly set in the future. Apart from the dated feel, the only other thing that bugs me is the poorly staged shoot-out that passes as the climax.

This new DVD is a zillion times better than the original release. Gone is the horrid letterbox picture. In its place is a brand new hi-definition 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The colors sparkle and literally pop from the screen. The new Dolby 5.1 EX and DTS ES soundtrack are also amazing. There constant use of the surround channels to great effect and the bass is strong and powerful. Definitely one of the best re-masters I've seen so far. Two intriguing documentaries, a trailer and a 'Meet the Stalkers' gimmick are included in this 2-disc set that comes in a rather neat slip case.


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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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