Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.
A rebellious youth, 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 prize runner. Written by
When the boys are doing gardening work one character calls another "you mug" (meaning gullible idiot). This is incorrectly recorded in the subtitles as "you muppet" but the word "muppet" - meaning an idiot - was not in use when the film was made. See more »
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.
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The rise of the 'angry young man' in British cinema took an interesting twist in this gritty drama. Set initially in Nottingham, Smith and his mate played by a very young James Bolam are nicked for petty theft. Sent to a borstal his athletic prowess is seized on by the Head to be mobilised in the name of the institution. Michael Redgrave's superb creation combines the stiff Britishness with a surpressed and unfulfillable desire to reform and change. This opposition creates a man at odds with his position. On the one hands he trusts and on the other he is petty and weak. Courtney's runner defines the struggle of the period between the decaying class system and the consumer led rise of the working class. His desire to run his own race, to lose because he won't win to justify Redgrave's ideology portrays that essentially English state of mind that it is better to fail than to succeed as long as you have chosen to fail. A wonderful film.
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