The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Alan Sillitoe's fiction fuelled the excellent Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but this one started life as a short story and grew flabbier for the screen. Courtenay's Borstal boy is crabbed and corroded by class hatred, and his only moment of satisfaction comes when he throws a cross-country race against a local public school to spite the upper class Governor (Redgrave). Chariots of Bile. Even in this softened-up version, Time found the hero 'prolier-than-thou'. Most of the period hallmarks of the British New Wave are paraded here. The disaffected hero treats us to Hoggartian interior monologues and climbs the nearest hill so that we can see the hopeless urban sprawl - Nottingham, in this case - laid out like his future. He gets the obligatory lyrical day off, a bracing trip to Skegness. Courting couples snog beside the barbed wire, and there's no shortage of editing between lads being flogged and choirs singing 'Jerusalem'. The general thrust is that Britain provides no sustenance for the working class soul, and consumerism spearheaded by telly comes in for some stick. It all seems a long time ago.

Release details

Rated: PG
Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tony Richardson
Screenwriter: Alan Sillitoe
Cast: James Bolam
Topsy Jane
Alec McCowen
Michael Redgrave
Tom Courtenay
Joe Robinson
Frank Finlay
Avis Bunnage
James Fox
John Thaw
Julia Foster

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

your actual comments on this are part correct but slightly amateur . people who watch this film or who seek to watch this film should watch and take a look at what in common we have with today !. working class people who generally feel disenchanted with there lives and young people who rebel against any sort of discipline does this sound old to you ? yes the film was made in the sixties but the acting superb and undertones are still at the core of our society today . after watching the film ask yourself why does he run ? , if you still dont get it read the book !!!


You say at the beginning that "Courtenay's Borstal boy is crabbed and corroded by class hatred" and at the end that "It all seems a long time ago." The interesting question would be why it seems that way.