The Running Man (1987)

running man poster 1987 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Richard Dawson, good story

Dated looking, typical Schwarzenegger acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Running Man

Studio:  Republic Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  November 13, 1987

MPAA Rating:  R


I’ll be back!

Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been accused of a heinous crime.  He’s gunned down innocent, unarmed protestors and now finds himself imprisoned for the attack.  Ben, however, is a victim of the system which cannot allow him to prove that he was framed.  Now, Ben finds himself shoved in the nation’s most popular show The Running Man and he is fighting for his life…winning might gain him his freedom but Ben Richards wants his good name back!

Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, The Running Man is an adaptation of the 1982 short story by Stephen King.  The novella was published under the pen name Richard Bachman and published as one fourth of The Bachman Books in 1985.  The movie received mix reviews from critics but has gained a cult following over the years.


Ouch…spikes hurt!

The Running Man was released as Arnold Schwarzenegger was becoming the premiere action star.  I can remember renting The Running Man over and over again and even watching it now, I feel that the movie was pretty ahead of its time.

When The Running Man was released, most people felt that the concept of a game where killed for entertainment was unrealistic.  As we get more and more reality shows, The Running Man’s plot doesn’t feel as extreme.  This concept has been used multiple times since The Running Man’s release with movies like The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and Series 7The Running Man was an original.


I’m going to light you up!

Schwarzenegger is Schwarzenegger and the script is loaded with one liners for him.  There is a good supporting cast with Richard Dawson stealing the show as the game show host which feels like a more extreme version of his Family Feud persona.  The movie also has Jesse Ventura, Maria Conchita, Dweezil Zappa, Professor Toru Tanka, Jim Brown, and Fleetwood Mac performer Mick Fleetwood.

The movie does feel rather dated.  The special effects aren’t great and the high tech sci-fi world of the movie didn’t feel that hi-tech when it was even released.  I could easily see this movie remade, though it probably shouldn’t be.

The Running Man probably won’t impress younger viewers who will want the higher energy of movern versions of this story.  I can still get behind The Running Man.  It is pretty smart (despite Arnold) and rather a prediction of what television has evolved into…or at least close.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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