The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, watching the video all these years later, I found it a little slow for my taste, especially since I already knew the ending. And, also, as with many British films on video, I sometimes wish there were subtitles. But this is a film that makes me think. I think about choices I've made in my own life. I think about how they turned out. And I think about the message of the film - still fresh after all this time. Recommended.
Courtenay's character is saturated with events in his life for which he has no control. He lives in poverty, his father dies, his mother's waiting in the wings-boyfriend is a jerk, and he has no job skills or future. He is ultimately placed in a youth detention facility where he finds, to his warden's joy, that he has athletic ability. He is ambivalent about this skill, but he can obtain privileges and possible early freedom if only he wins the running trophy for the warden.
The Burt Reynolds film, centered on his character developing an interest in his fellow prisoners to decide on how to respond to the warden's promised rewards and punishments. The British version focuses almost completely on the character's internal conflict. Ultimately, his decision is based on how he could best gain an aspect of control in his life. His decision is based not for his peers, and not for the authorities, but for his own sense of self. Aspects of the youth prison may seem funny by today's standard, but the story remains fresh and interesting. I highly recommend it.
Avis Bunnage lends a biting performance as Smith's mother: a woman hardened by her straitened life circumstance as the working class widow of a resentful factory worker, struggling on welfare to raise her children in a grimy, shabbily built, claustrophobic low-income dwelling. Alec McCowen, as the borstal's pyschologist, deftly adds depth to the story as a well-meaning advocate of fresh approaches to rehabilitating inmates, whose efforts are trumped by the warden's timeworn methods. As the warden Michael Redgrave communicates all that's right - and wrong - about the upper reaches of the class pyramid.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a film I'd studied at school. It was great to see it again, years later when I could appreciate the theme of it as an adult. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It was very disturbing to watch it again after all these years, Magnificent acting, as always.Published 11 months ago by Sandra Kramer
A powerful film that has retained its power over the years. Brutally true and deftly told, the story of why Colin stops before the finish line defines an important kind of courage... Read morePublished 16 months ago by librich
Old movie, Difficult to understand dialogue.............and not just because they're British. Didn't finish watching it.Published 17 months ago by Merrill G. Clark