Running Man / 1987

Running Man / 1987

3.3 7
Director: Paul Michael Glaser

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Richard Dawson


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Directed by former Starsky and Hutch TV star Paul Michael Glaser, this post-apocalyptic science fiction yarn satirized American entertainment, mocking pro wrestling, game shows, and law-and-order reality programming. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Ben Richards, a cop in the totalitarianSee more details below


Directed by former Starsky and Hutch TV star Paul Michael Glaser, this post-apocalyptic science fiction yarn satirized American entertainment, mocking pro wrestling, game shows, and law-and-order reality programming. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Ben Richards, a cop in the totalitarian America of 2019, framed for massacring rioting civilians during a famine. After escaping from jail, Richards tries to prove his innocence, but his efforts are thwarted at every turn by a regime in need of a scapegoat. Richards is captured along with an innocent civilian, Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), and they are forced to participate in a violent game show called "The Running Man" hosted by the unctuous Damon Killian (Richard Dawson). The object of the game for Richards and Mendez: obtain freedom by staying alive against a gauntlet of skillful assassins like "Subzero" (Professor Toru Tanaka) and "Captain Freedom" (Jesse Ventura), each armed with unique weapons like razor-sharp hockey sticks and chainsaws. With the help of some fellow "contestants," Richards is able to tap into government computers and prove his innocence. The Running Man was very loosely based on a short story by Stephen King, who wrote it under the name Richard Bachman.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Based on a fanciful page-turner written (pseudonymously) by Stephen King, this futuristic thriller -- crammed with action and breathlessly paced -- shows Arnold Schwarzenegger at his bone-crunching best. The Running Man, originally released in 1987, took a drubbing from overly sensitive critics who fretted that it glorified violence and wallowed in gore. Their protests certainly didn’t inhibit the film’s box-office performance, as it proved an international smash and enhanced Arnold’s burgeoning rep as a top draw. It also influenced at least a half dozen similarly themed sci-fi flicks that have followed. It takes place in the year 2019, with the United States under totalitarian control and its increasingly restive populace thirsting for violent entertainment. Unfairly imprisoned Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is chosen to participate in a bizarre show that pits convicts against ruthless assassins known as "stalkers." Prisoners who evade their murderous pursuers can earn their freedom, and Ben is determined to make the most of his opportunity. Directed with verve by former cop-show star Paul Michael Glaser (The Cutting Edge), Running Man doesn’t offer much by way of social commentary. It does, though, dazzle viewers with a series of bloody battles and mind-blowing stunts. Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, and Jim Brown all afford Schwarzenegger able support, with Richard Dawson (parodying his TV-host trade) and Jesse Ventura (in his WWF prime) both adding to the fun. Unabashedly trashy, The Running Man is mindless fun that shows one of the screen’s greatest action heroes in peak form.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
One of the better adaptations of novelist and short story writer Stephen King's fiction to the screen, this tongue-in-cheek science fiction-adventure ranks among the best of star Arnold Schwarzenegger's futuristic film efforts; its success likely influenced the tone of his later, quite similar Total Recall (1990). Screenwriters Steven E. de Souza and John Herzfeld take a jaundiced but delightfully jovial and cynically twisted view of the public's passion for professional wrestling, game shows, and bloody reality programming (all of which would become even more popular in the years after this film's release). The result is a vision of a dystopian future that will be familiar to fans of such 1970s fare as Logan's Run (1976) and Soylent Green (1973), but with a decidedly late '80s sense of humor. Schwarzenegger and his wrestling co-stars (including future governor Jesse Ventura) provide their usual qualities: hulking, muscle-bound menace. They do what they were hired to do, which is essentially smash the living heck out of each other, vehicles, walls, etc. The sole acting performance is a great one from former actor and game show host Richard Dawson, wickedly sending up his own image in a savagely funny fashion. The Running Man is definitely not the type of film to take home Oscars, but it's enormous fun for both those who "get" the film's sly lacerating of the modern zeitgeist and those who don't.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate

Special Features

Audio Commentary by Director Paul Michael Glaser and Producer Tim Zinnemann; ; Audio Commentary by Executive Producer Rob Coen; "Game Theory" Featurette; "Lockdown on Main Street" Featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Arnold Schwarzenegger Ben "Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards
Maria Conchita Alonso Amber Mendez
Richard Dawson Damon Killian, Running Man Game-Show Host
Yaphet Kotto Laughlin
Jim Brown Fireball, Stalker
Jesse Ventura Capt. Freedom
Erland Van Lidth Dynamo, Stalker
Marvin J. McIntyre Weiss
Gus Rethwisch Buzzsaw, Stalker
Toru Tanaka Subzero, Stalker
Mick Fleetwood Mic, Underground Resistance Leader
Dweezil Zappa Stevie, Mic's Son
Karen Leigh Hopkins Brenda, Damon's Assistant
Sven Ole Thorsen Sven
Kerry Brennan Dancer
Paula Jean Brown Dancer
Tony Brubaker Soldier
Rodger Bumpass Phil Hiton
Roger Bumpass Don Pardo
Edward Bunker Lenny
Mario Celario Barrio Foreman
Sidney Chankin Custodian
Franco Columbu 911 Security Officer
Jon Cutler Underground Tech
Jesse Captain Freedom Actor
Kurt Fuller Tony
Megan Gallivan Dancer
Wayne Grace 911 Security Officer
Donna Hardy Mrs. McArdle
Suzie Hardy Dancer
Sondra Holt Suzie Checkpoint
Melissa Hurley Dancer
John William James Barrio Bettor
Roger Kern Travel Pass Guard
Boyd Kestner Yuppie Yeller
Bryan Kestner Med Tech
Joel Kramer Soldier
Joe Leahy Orchestra Narrator
Ken Lerner Actor
Greg Lewis Locker Room Manager
Billy Lucas Soldier
Barbara Lux Elderly Lady
Bill Margolin Leon
Mary Ann Oedy Dancer
Kim Pawlik Newscaster
Anthony Penya Valdez
Charlie Phillips Teen-Age Punk
Tommy Rosales Chico
Lin Shaye Propaganda Officer
Lynne Stewart Edith Wiggins
George Wilbur Lt. Saunders
Dey Young Amy

Technical Credits
Paul Michael Glaser Director
Paula Abdul Choreography
Keith Barish Executive Producer
Richard G. Berger Set Decoration/Design
Robert Blackman Costumes/Costume Designer
Jackie Burch Casting
Burman Studio Makeup Special Effects
Chris Casady Special Effects
Lawrence James Cavanaugh Special Effects
Rob Cohen Executive Producer
Jack T. Collis Production Designer
Gary Daigler Production Manager
Jeff Dawn Makeup
Steven E. de Souza Screenwriter
Bennie E. Dobbins Stunts
Jim Duffy Set Decoration/Design
Harold Faltermeyer Score Composer
Richard Bryce Goodman Sound/Sound Designer
Gary Gutierrez Special Effects Supervisor
John Herzfeld Screenwriter
George Linder Producer
Nick Navarro Set Decoration/Design
Nancy Patton Set Decoration/Design
Thomas del Ruth Cinematographer
R. Bruce Steinheimer Special Effects,Special Effects Supervisor
John Stoll Production Designer
Reynaldo Villalobos Cinematographer
Mark Warner Editor
Edward Warschilka Editor
John Wright Editor
Tim Zinnemann Producer
Stephen King Source Author

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