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  • The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [DVD] [1962]
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The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [DVD] [1962]


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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay, Avis Bunnage, Alec McCowen, James Bolam
  • Directors: Tony Richardson
  • Writers: Alan Sillitoe
  • Producers: Tony Richardson, Michael Holden
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089ASP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,957 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

1960s British drama which centres on Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), a cynical working class youth, who finds himself in a boys' reformatory for robbing a bakery. The governor in charge of the reform school (Michael Redgrave) preaches to his inmates that exercise and physical challenge can permanently destroy a boy's rebellious streak. But Colin is fortunate enough to be on the boss's good side due to his natural running prowess and is offered the chance to train for a race against the local public school. Tensions build as the big day approaches and after a lot of time spent thinking on his lonely runs, Colin might just reconsider his naturally rebellious instincts.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Aug. 2005
Format: DVD
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 By R. Pearce on 26 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
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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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "black_ant_king" on 6 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD
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 By Captain Pugwash on 18 May 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 April 2009
Format: Blu-ray
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 By Deb on 27 Dec. 2012
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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