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The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [Blu-ray] [1962]

Tom Courtenay    Suitable for 12 years and over   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Tom Courtenay
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Mar 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001FP9EII
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,695 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

An intense 1960s drama which centres on Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), a cynical working class youth, who finds himself in Borstal for robbing a bakery. The man in charge of the reform school believes exercise and physical challenge can destroy a rebellious streak; Smith is a natural runner, so he trains for the big race against the local public school.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of all time 7 Aug 2005
By A Customer
Ever since I first saw this film, I found it unforgettable. It is based on a short story by Alan Sillitoe, and does a wonderful job of bringing the unique atmosphere of his story to the screen (Sillitoe wrote the screenplay himself). There is a lot to admire in this film: the b&w cinematography (its power especially evident in the lyrical running sequences);the realistic presentation of the environment of the English working class at the time; brilliant acting, especially in the scenes of the confrontations between the - both masterful - Tom Courtenay and Michael Redgrave. All these ingredients provide for a richly textured study of the fine complications of emotion, experience and self-analysis. I would, of course, be in some ways inclined to agree that this film is outdated, but the main theme, that of the titular loneliness of the individual caused by the inadequacy of human means of communication, is something that can be still be felt in the modern times. Although the movement that spawned this film, the British Free Cinema, lasted for only a brief period of time, "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" has become the key British film of the 60s and a masterpiece of world cinema that,if you are a lover of classic films,you cannot allow yourself NOT to have.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the borstall system - first hand 26 Mar 2007
Good acting , good direction and an accurate storyline. This workmanlike british film of the fifties is enjoyable and interesting. By far the biggest atribute , in my own personal eyes , is its accuracy and authenticity to the borstal system. Being a borstal officer during this period , many of the situations and incidents contained within the film are equal to many I have encountered over the years. The "feel" of the film is very authentic indeed. Good performances by Redgrave , Courtney and a fledgling John Thaw .

Not exactly a film to relax with but nevertheless enjoyable
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you never felt this way before? 6 Mar 2005
I don't understand why another reviewer has said that this film is dated. The school system may not be the same, but the battle of wills that plays out in the film is being played out not just in every school, but on every factory floor, every office, every lab, football team, choir, everywhere. This is one of the supreme human stories and if you don't have this film, you have no excuse. It's an element of what makes people people.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Running up that hill 18 May 2009
Tom Courtenay is the archetypal 'Angry Young Man' in this Sixties kitchen sink drama. Made in the heyday of British cinema it is a true classic and arguably the finest of its genre. The disaffection, depression and disenfranchisement of a working-class Northern lad with no prospects apart from poverty or jail, are the cement in a bleak but necessary piece of film-making. With strong support from Michael Redgrave, James Bolam and James Fox, amongst others, this is one of those films you really ought to see at least once. Powerful, emotive and gripping stuff.

The DVD extras on here are pretty good too, as mentioned above. It's worth mentioning that the film is also in its original black and white; hence the DVD cover pictured above.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...You Think You're Above Us Now...Do You..." 23 April 2009
This is the fully restored British Film Institute version of Tony Richardson's 1962 classic - and it's beautifully done - clean from start to finish. Even as the credits roll - it's spotless - a truly fantastic restoration job.

Because the clean up is so good it also pummels home the austerity of post-war England in almost every scene, while the black & white film stock and the hand-held camera work only add to its gritty and downbeat feel. We also get to properly see the intensity of Tom Courtney's extraordinary performance - all working class defiance and mind games. Another noticeable improvement is the music. The brass band stuff that accompanies every running shot is very punchy now - its either military or patriotic - or both. It acts as a sort of sneering backdrop, like "If..." almost...

The internal Borstal scenes are well done, as is Tom's appallingly claustrophobic home life - all that family repression and rage building up to his final racing sabotage. There are also many famous faces in there - John Thaw, James Bolam, Michael Redgrave - even a cameo by Edward Fox as runner number 7 towards the end. Having said all of that, it's not a film you warm to easily - it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea to sit down to this unrelenting feast of "it's grim up north..."

The extras are interesting too. First there's a commentary on the movie (On or Off whichever you want), second is a sort of "making of" named after the principal cameraman "Walter Lasally Video Essay" in which he explains why certain shots were filmed in certain ways. He also references other Richardson work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of our heritage 27 Dec 2012
By Deb
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was prompted to buy this after seeing a powerful production in a local theatre. Sensitive updating, excellent acting and impressive athletic strength of the main character made it vibrant, and exciting to watch. The film, in comparison is clearly from the time in which it was written, and a significant part of our culture. I'd recommend it to those with an interest in sport, equality, and British film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A true British classic
One of the great British films not only from this era but any really. Like most of them, it wears it's politics on its sleeve, but it's incredibly powerful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by addison de witt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very pleased lovely story just a bit confusing as to DVD and Blue Ray
Published 1 month ago by Shirley Lovatt
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
A great film from the early 60's, I enjoyed watching again. Tom Courtney plays the hero perfectly and the 60's are brought back to life.
Published 14 months ago by Jack McCabe
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
How could I decline a recline. Fair point well made Jimbo ;

Excellent film. One not to be missed at any cost.
Published 20 months ago by steve fletcher
Published 23 months ago by STEVIE
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! The for runner of Scum.
A brilliant film, brilliant acting and brilliant photography and at last on Blu Ray. So why are not more classics like this not also on Blu Ray?.
Published on 18 Aug 2012 by Jimbo
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good reminder of the real flavour of Britain's sixties...
Tom Courtenay as Colin in the lead role is excellent. Alan Stillitoe's novel of the 1960s borstal boy is a classic and the film does the book justice. Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2012 by "Belgo Geordie"
1.0 out of 5 stars loneliness of the long distance runner
the bluray of this film is terrible the worst i have seen on blu-ray without a doubt it looks no better than a vhs version the guy from reckless records should go to the opticians... Read more
Published on 9 April 2012 by margaret
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the runners has legs
Fantastic Movie of The Woodfall Company. Here is another BFI-cover in a special way of presentation. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by Stefan Prediger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great early 60's Brit drama
Made in 1962, this great "kitchen sink" drama is in my opinion the best example of the genre.

The main character of the film, Colin (a great film debut by Tom Courtenay)... Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2010 by Colin Smith "keep on running"
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