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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 8 October 1962 (USA)
A juvenile offender (Sir Tom Courtenay) at a tough reform school impresses its Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave) with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

Alan Sillitoe (screenplay), Alan Sillitoe (short story)
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Redgrave ... Ruxton Towers Reformatory Governor
Tom Courtenay ... Colin Smith
Avis Bunnage Avis Bunnage ... Mrs. Smith
Alec McCowen ... Mr. Brown
James Bolam ... Mike
Joe Robinson ... Mr. Roach
Dervis Ward Dervis Ward ... Detective
Topsy Jane Topsy Jane ... Audrey
Julia Foster ... Gladys
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Storyline

A rebellious youth (Sir Tom Courtenay), sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor's (Sir Michael Redgrave's) prize runner.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rebel with a Cause See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Cinematographer Walter Lassally, when production began, all of the "spade work" had already been done, including all of the decisions about where and how to shoot the movie, and all of the technical details of the cinematic approach, because they had figured out most of that on the previous movie he made with Tony Richardson, A Taste of Honey (1961). "So we went into Loneliness with relatively little preparation, except for the things that were demanded by the subject itself." See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, when the new boys are in the van on the way to the borstal, they are shown in handcuffs and chains; when they emerge from the van, the restraints are gone. However, one of their guards is heard referring to removing their restraints after they pass through the outer gate. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Colin Smith: Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in La solitude du chanteur de fond (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Jerusalem
Music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (uncredited)
Lyrics by William Blake (uncredited)
Sung by the lads in the audience at the close of the concert scene
Several instrumental variations of the melody are heard throughout the soundtrack
See more »

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User Reviews

A great, great movie
27 May 2002 | by carloi-1See all my reviews

This is one of my very favorite pictures of all time. Courtenay was practically unknown at the time, but turns in a performance worthy of a Gielgud or an Olivier. I don't think anyone else could have conveyed the sense of alienation which is so typical of male youth at some point in their lives. The whole dramatic high point of the film is the contrast between an upper class school and the school to which Courtenay is relegated, just a shade above a reformatory, The concluding scenes, that could have been milked for bathos or easy tears, are stunning in dramatic effect and made totally believable by both Courtenay and Richardson. I'm not quite sure as how much the film will appeal to a female audience, but if you are male and remember what it was like to be in your teens and feeling that the world did not understand you, then don't miss this.


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