Genre Grandeur – The Running Man (1987)

For my 1st of 3 reviews for this month’s Genre Grandeur – 80’s action, here’s my thoughts on The Running Man (1987)

Next month’s Genre will be Holiday movies (it can be any film about any holiday). To participate, just send me your review by 23rd of December to and I’ll post it!


running man“This is television, that’s all it is. It has nothing to do with people, it’s to do with ratings! For fifty years, we’ve told them what to eat, what to drink, what to wear… for Christ’s sake, Ben, don’t you understand? Americans love television. They wean their kids on it. Listen. They love game shows, they love wrestling, they love sports and violence. So what do we do? We give ’em *what they want*! We’re number one, Ben, that’s all that counts, believe me. I’ve been in the business for thirty years. ” – Damon Killlian

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (Theater in ’87, cable, video, DVD and 25 Nov 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A disgraced and imprisoned former police officer is forced to participate in a sadistic game show in order to be granted a pardon.

My Take on it – In the 80’s there were numerous actors who made it to action hero stardom status.  One of the most prominent and successful of the lot was Arnold Schwarzenegger who went from world champion bodybuilder, became a part of the Kennedy family dynasty and became one of the go-to names for action hero movies.

This movie is perhaps my favorite movie of his because of the concept and also because of the way it was made.

The story is based on a Stephen King (when he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman) novella that I loved when I read it.

I actually recall doing a book report on it the year this movie came out and my English teacher Mrs. Moses made me promise not to see the movie until after I submitted my book report.  Truth is, she was correct in doing so because the book and movie have very little in common eventhough they are both excellent.

The concept of the movie is in the near future (for us at least) in 2019,  the most popular TV show on TV is a reality show where the contestants are prisoners who must survive against real life gladiators in order to get a pardon for their crimes.

It’s actually scary how much reality TV has evolved in the 27 years since this movie was made.  Granted, there is no real death on TV, but the world is so addicted to the genre that it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets there at some point.

It actually reminds me of a “set” by the late great George Carlin who discussed having public executions on TV.

Check it out here..

Richard Dawson is great as the TV show MC, Killian.  I’m really glad they chose him because he did it amazingly!

Like all great 80’s movies, this movie has a very cheesy and great song as its theme song at the end; Running Away with You by John Parr.

Listen to it here…

Bottom Line – One of Arnie’s best non Terminator movies.  Scary how reality TV has evolved in the last 27 years to a point where this is closer to fact than fiction.  Dawson is a great choice for the MC.  Great cheesy 80’s theme song. Highly Recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy


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11 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – The Running Man (1987)

  1. I would have loved to have seen The Running Man in the cinema when it came out as I saw it the other day as part of an Arnie Marathon and it was incredible! Having only seen it once before in pretty low quality it was a great experience, nice post

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Genre Grandeur November Finale – Big Trouble in Little China (1986) |

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