Running Man, The DVD movie collectible [Barcode 057373205037] - Main Image 1
Running Man, The
The Running Man -
Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser
Produced by: George Linder, &
Tim Zinnemann
Screenplay by: Steven E. de Souza
Based on: The Running Man
by Stephen King
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Richard Dawson
María Conchita Alonso
Yaphet Kotto
Music by: Harold Faltermeyer
Cinematography: Thomas Del Ruth
Editing by: John Wright, Mark Roy Warner, Edward A. Warschilka
Studio: Republic Pictures
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release date: 11/13/1987
Running time: 101 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $27 million
Box office: $38,122,105

The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on 1982 novel of the same name, written by Stephen King. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso, Jesse Ventura, Jim Brown, and Richard Dawson. Director Andrew Davis was fired one week into filming and replaced by Glaser. Schwarzenegger has stated this was a ”terrible decision” as Glaser ”shot the movie like it was a television show, losing all the deeper themes.” Schwarzenegger believes this hurt the movie. Paula Abdul is credited with the choreography of the Running Man dance troupe.

The film, set in a dystopian America between 2017 and 2019, is about a television show called The Running Man, where convicted criminal ”runners” must escape death at the hands of professional killers.


By 2017, the global economy has collapsed and American society has become a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the populace by broadcasting a number of game shows in which convicted criminals fight for their lives, including the gladiator-style The Running Man, hosted by the ruthless Damon Killian, where ”runners” attempt to evade ”stalkers” and near-certain death for a chance to be pardoned and set free.

In 2019 Ben Richards, a police pilot who was convicted of a massacre (in the process of suppressing a food riot in Bakersfield, California) in which he actually refused to participate, escapes from a labor camp with other inmates and flees to a shanty town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Declining an offer to join the resistance movement, Richards instead seeks shelter at his brother’s apartment. He finds it is now occupied by Amber Mendez, a composer for ICS, the network that broadcasts The Running Man. Richards attempts to flee to Hawaii with Amber as a hostage, but she alerts airport security and Richards is captured and taken to the ICS studios. Killian coerces him to compete in The Running Man with the threat that if he declines, his two weaker escapee friends—Laughlin and Weiss—will be put on the show instead. Richards complies, but as the show begins, Killian reveals that Laughlin and Weiss have been enrolled as runners anyway. Richards and his friends are attacked by the first stalker, ”Subzero”, but Laughlin and Richards fight back, with Richards killing Subzero using barbed wire as a garrotte. This shocks the audience, as this is the first stalker to ever die on the show.

Laughlin and Weiss, both members of the resistance movement, seek to exploit their situation by searching for the network’s uplink facilities, which they realize are in the game zone. Amber begins to question the media’s veracity after watching a falsified news report on Richards’ capture. At the television studio she discovers the truth about the massacre, but is captured and sent into the game zone. The runners split up, each pair pursued by a different stalker. Laughlin is wounded by the stalker ”Buzzsaw”, whom Richards kills with his own chainsaw. Weiss and Amber locate the uplink and learn the access codes, but Weiss is electrocuted by the stalker ”Dynamo”. Amber’s screams lead Richards to her, and as the two evade the stalker, Dynamo’s buggy flips, trapping him inside. Richards then stuns the audience by leaving Dynamo alive, pinned in his vehicle, proclaiming that he will not kill a helpless man.

Amber and Richards return to Laughlin, who, before dying, reveals that the resistance has a hideout within the game zone. Back at the ICS studio, Killian sees Richards’ popularity growing, with viewers betting on Richards to win instead of the stalkers. Off-camera, Killian offers Richards a job as a stalker, which Richards refuses. The next stalker, ”Fireball”, pursues Amber and Richards into an abandoned factory, where Amber finds the charred bodies of the previous season’s ”winners.” Fireball attempts to kill Amber, but Richards rescues her and kills Fireball with his own weaponry. Running out of options, a frustrated Killian uses computer-generated imagery to fake the deaths of Richards and Amber in the final match of the episode, a battle against retired stalker ”Captain Freedom”, who has so far refused to go into battle against Richards.

In the game zone, Richards and Amber are captured by the resistance and taken to their hideout, where they learn of their ”deaths” on the show. Using the access codes provided by Amber, the resistance takes over the ICS satellite. Richards leads the rebels to the ICS studios where they seize the control room, allowing the resistance to broadcast unedited footage of Richards’ part in the Bakersfield massacre, as well as footage revealing that past alleged ”victors” of The Running Man were in fact killed anyway. Richards then heads to the main studio floor, shocking the audience and home viewers who had watched him supposedly die. Amber encounters and fights Dynamo, killing him when an errant gunshot sets off the sprinkler system, electrocuting him. Richards confronts Killian, who desperately attempts to defend himself by explaining that he created the show to appease America’s love of television and violence. Ignoring the excuse, Richards sends Killian to the game zone aboard a rocket sled, which impacts a billboard and explodes, much to the delight of the television audience. Richards and Amber sharing a kiss as they walk out of the studio.


Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards.
María Conchita Alonso as Amber Mendez.
Richard Dawson as Damon Killian.
Yaphet Kotto as William Laughlin, a resistance member who allies himself with Richards.
Marvin J. McIntyre as Harold Weiss, a resistance member who also joins Richards.
Mick Fleetwood as Mic, the secret leader of the resistance.
Professor Toru Tanaka as Professor Subzero, a stalker who uses a hockey-stick capable of cutting steel, exploding pucks, and a hockey rink zone specially fitted for him.
Gus Rethwisch as Eddie ”Buzzsaw” Vatowski, a stalker who uses a specially reinforced chainsaw and a motorcycle.
Jesse Ventura as Captain Freedom, a ten-time former Running Man stalker champion.
Jim Brown as Fireball, a stalker who is armed with a flamethrower and jetpack.
Erland Van Lidth De Jeude as Dynamo, an opera-singing stalker who drives a buggy and wears a suit that allows him to arc electricity.
Dweezil Zappa as Stevie, one of Mic’s men. His name is a reference to Fleetwood’s bandmate Stevie Nicks.
Kurt Fuller as Tony, a talent agent for The Running Man.
Rodger Bumpass as Phil, the studio announcer for The Running Man.
Sven-Ole Thorsen as Sven, Killian’s head of security.


Although most critics praised Richard Dawson’s performance as Killian, overall critical reaction to the film was mixed. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 61% based on reviews from 33 critics, with an average score of 5.5/10.

In The Running Man’s opening weekend, it was released in 1,692 theaters and grossed $8,117,465. The film’s total domestic gross was $38,122,105,

Video game:

A video game based on the film was released for the MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, and Atari ST. The game was developed by Emerald Software Ltd and published by Grandslam Entertainment. A 1990 video game called Smash TV was inspired by The Running Man.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Paul Michael Glaser
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Country of Purchase:
United States
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Snap Case
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Date Added:
2018-02-07 18:06:45
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