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The Running Man (1987)



Average Rating: 4.5/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 79,622

My Rating

Movie Info

An unjustly accused prisoner in 2019 is given a slim chance at freedom if he enters a battle-to-the-death on a television game show. Dawson steals the show as the slimy host!

May 25, 1999

Vestron Video

Watch It Now


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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (13) | DVD (20)

Schwarzenegger sadistically dispatches the baddies, enunciating typical wisecrack remarks (many repeated from his previous films), but it's all too easy.

April 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pretty warmed-over stuff, this future world of the terminal TV game shows, and director Glaser fails to muster much pace and punch.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not quite Network, but then it also doesn't take itself too seriously.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's problem is that all of the action scenes are versions of the same scenario.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (3)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You want to know if The Running Man is a good-time macho show, right? Stay at home and watch professional wrestling.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The message is irrelevant. It's still the Olympian myth, albeit in a Lycra leotard, that counts with the Arn Man.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Give the movie credit for being prescient: Given the disgusting rise and success of reality TV, it's not difficult at all to imagine fans of garbage like Survivor or Jersey Shore easily turning into the audience for a deathsport show like The Running Man.

May 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

A brainless, breathless thrill.

April 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's an arcade-game romp done with flair.

April 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Only Richard Dawson -- brilliantly cast -- redeems this mess with a superior performance.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The fun of the movie is really in its premise, its cool confrontations between Arny & villains, the cheezy one-liners and Maria Conchita-Alonso in tights!

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Richard Dawson's best performance in a film.

December 21, 2004
Greenwich Village Gazette

The licenses taken with King's original tale only serve to make a more effective movie.

August 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The story concept is good, and the film has plenty of fun and campy moments, but it’s also a little goofy.

May 14, 2004

We can only hope network execs that are watching don't get any funny ideas.

February 5, 2004 Full Review Source:

Cheesy, witty, enjoyable Arnold pic.

January 29, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Another guilty pleasure from the Schwarzenegger catalog

November 15, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

The picture fails to please beyond its glossy surface, cheap thrills, and crazed Richard Dawson cameo. Hmm ... maybe that's not such a bad thing.

August 4, 2002
Juicy Cerebellum

The movie lacks any real tension and seems to be a host of fight scenes hastily added together.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Audience Reviews for The Running Man

Effective Sci Fi action that manages to be entertaining despite its lack of originality, The Running Man is another Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that I would recommend purely for fans of the actor. Although far from perfect, this is a pleasant popcorn film that is pure 80's. The film looks a bit dated; nonetheless, there are still relevant aspects that ring out today. Arnie's performance is pretty good, but I have to admit, it's not one of his best either. The Running Man, is your typical ass kicking Schwarzenegger film, and it does the trick, and for genre fans, it's a must watch. Despite the movie's shortcomings, it's worth seeing if you enjoy 80's action flicks, then give this one a shot. The story is well executed, but like I said, is never anything original. The film nonetheless works due to Schwarzenegger's performance, which has the unique touch that he always brings to his roles. Sure, it's not his best work, but it's fun for what it tries accomplish, and it's a movie that is action packed from start to finish. And for action buffs, you can't ask for more. Some elements of the film stand out, and it's one of those movies that seems to be forgotten from Schwarzenegger, and unless you're a diehard fan of his work, then this one seems to pop up. Well, it's a flawed film for sure, and it's a bit predictable too, but it's 80's action for what it is, and genre films likes nowadays are rare. So, if you enjoy a good old fashioned action picture or you're a fan of Schwarzenegger, then buckle up for an entertaining roller coaster ride that's worth taking.
May 23, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

It is the year 2017. "The Running Man" is a deadly game no one has ever survived. But..... Schwarzenegger has yet to play.

Good Movie! Loved the 80's look on everyone involved. The story was unique and original. I love 80's films!

In the year 2017, the world economy has collapsed. The great freedoms of the United States are no longer, as the once great nation has sealed off its borders and become a militarized police state, censoring all film, art, literature, and communications. Even so, a small resistance force led by two revolutionaries manages to fight the oppression. With full control over the media, the government attempts to quell the nation's yearning for freedom by broadcasting a number of game shows on which convicted criminals fight for their lives. The most popular and sadistic of these programs is "The Running Man," hosted by Damon Killian. When a peaceful protest of starving citizens gathers in Bakersfield, California, a police officer named Ben Richards is ordered to fire on the crowd, which he refuses to do. Subdued by the other officers, the attack is carried out, and Richards is framed for the murder of almost a hundred unarmed civilians. Following a daring jail break months later, Richards is captured once again and forced to appear on "The Running Man" with three other convicts. With their help, he fights his way through a cadre of sadistic gladiators hunting them down through the ruins of a Los Angeles earthquake, but not promising Killian that he'll return to settle the score when the show's host double-crosses him. In the meantime, the contestants must search through the ruins for the resistance in the hopes of finally broadcasting the truth about the government.
May 11, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Based on a story written by Stephen King, choreographed by Paula Abdul, directed by Paul Michael Glaser, this criticism of television is simultaneously worst and better than it means to be, gaining a savoury cheesy feel in the process. Schwartzenegger is in his standard hero mode but its the late Richard Dawson as the smiling face of evil who makes this worth watching.
August 8, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Amber Mendez: They were last season's winners!
    2. Fireball Stalker: No, last season's losers.
    – Submitted by Matthew D (12 months ago)
    1. Dynamo Stalker: You thought it was funny out there in the zone? What's the matter now, bitch! Why aren't you laughing?
    – Submitted by Matthew D (12 months ago)
    1. Damon Killian Running Man Game-Show Host: You bastard! Drop dead!
    2. Ben "Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards: I don't do requests.
    – Submitted by Matthew D (12 months ago)
    1. Ben "Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards: Hello there, Cutie pie. One of us is in deep trouble.
    – Submitted by Matthew D (20 months ago)
    1. Damon Killian Running Man Game-Show Host: Ladies & Gentlemen, if you just bear with us, we are experiencing technical difficulties.
    2. Elderly Lady: Bullshit!
    – Submitted by Matthew D (20 months ago)
    1. Ben "Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards: It's showtime.
    – Submitted by Matthew D (20 months ago)
View all quotes (22)

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