The Running Man

November 13th, 1987


The Running Man

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A wrongly-convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a TV game show.

Release Year: 1987

Rating: 6.5/10 (51,037 voted)

Director: Paul Michael Glaser

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto

Set in a totalitarian society. Ben Richards is a cop who was blamed for a massacre which wasn't his fault. He would be sent to prison and breaks out with some other inmates. He tries to escape but the woman whom he dragged into his plan turns him over to the authorities. Damon Killian, who is the host of THE RUNNING MAN a game show wherein convicted felons are given the chance to run to freedom but have to elude the stalkers; men who hunt them down and kill them in gruesome manners. When he learns that Richards has been caught, he wants him to be the show's next contestant. After being brought to Killian, Richards turns him down, Killian then reveals to Richards that his two friends who were in prison with him and who broke out with him have been caught, so unless Richards does the show they will. But on the night of the show, Richards is set to go but Killian also reveals that Richards two friends are going with him. Richards tells Killian that he will be back. But first !

Writers: Stephen King, Steven E. de Souza

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 (as Bernard Gus Rethwisch)
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)

Taglines: It is the year 2017. "The Running Man" is a deadly game no one has ever survived. But..... Schwarzenegger has yet to play.

Release Date: 13 November 1987

Filming Locations: Belmont Tunnel - 1304 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $38,122,105 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Rob Cohen purchased the rights to the Richard Bachman novella 'The Running Man', he had no idea that Bachman was actually a pseudonym for 'Stephen King'.

Revealing mistakes: A springboard launches Ben when Dynamo shoots with a lightning bolt.

[Damon Killian is talking to the operator on the telephone]
Damon Killian: Hello, this is Killian. Give me the Justice Department, Entertainment Division.

User Review


Rating: 8/10

I entered my first comment on this film almost five years ago. Then, the ideas presented in the movie still seemed mostly fictional, if indeed they could ever transpire at all. Not any longer. Now, the politics, society, and media in The Running Man seem very close to home indeed.

Consider the following factors, which were mostly absent in 1987 (the year The Running Man came out) that are present today:

Concern with, as Richard Dawson's character Damon Killian puts it, "traditional morality." CHECK

Entertainment in the form of extreme reality, including pain, fear, and discomfort on the part of contestants. CHECK

Cameras everywhere. CHECK

Restricted travel for citizens at the whim of the government, controlled by a centralized computer system complete with barcoded passports ("travel passes" in the movie) and sanctioned under the guise of national security. CHECK

An increased intermingling, bordering on incestuous, of government and media. CHECK

Computer-generated graphics that are advanced enough to manipulate real film footage (such as the "digital matting" of Ben Richards' image onto the stunt double). CHECK

Jailing of conscientious objectors or detractors of the current administration. CHECK

Flagging economy further widening the gulf between the wealthy and not-so-wealthy; increasing numbers of fringe groups reacting to the tightening noose of big government; civil unrest brewing just under or at the surface of nearly every sizable public event regardless of its origin or intent. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK

Then again, maybe it's just a movie based on a Stephen King novella. But just to be safe, I'm moving to Switzerland.


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