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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

tomatometer

74

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 19
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 5

Dry and full of angst, this British New Wave classic features potent social commentary and a star making performance by Tom Courtenay as a textbook example of the "angry young man."

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

Dry and full of angst, this British New Wave classic features potent social commentary and a star making performance by Tom Courtenay as a textbook example of the "angry young man."

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 2,333

My Rating

Movie Info

One of the key "angry young man" films which helped define the British "Kitchen Sink Drama" style of the late 1950's and early 60's, this story centers on Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), a bitter young man from a working-class family. Uninterested in school and determined not to follow his father into factory work, Colin and his friend Mike (James Bolam) make their pocket money through petty crime, until they're arrested after the robbery of a baker's shop and sentenced to Borstal (British reform

Unrated,

Drama, Classics

Alan Sillitoe

Feb 13, 2007

Continental

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (5) | DVD (11)

The performance of Tom Courtenay and the imaginative, if sometimes overfussy, direction of Tony Richardson, plus some standout lensing by Walter Lassally makes this a worthwhile pic.

August 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Most of the period hallmarks of the British New Wave are paraded here.

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

While this show of compassion may not sit comfortably with those who distrust social agitation and too easy sympathy, it must be said that a splendid presentation is made by Mr. Richardson.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More allegory from the depths of the British kitchen sink.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately, Richardson's pot-shots at consumerism and class have lost some urgency, but the nihilistic, punky buzz packs an immortal wallop. Classic.

August 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

In attempting to straddle dramatic realism, Richardson tried hard to avoid moralizing on the hypocrisies of adults or exaggerating the experiences of youth, but in striving for the middle ground, he also strive for mediocrity.

August 4, 2008

One of the best of the British 'Angry Young Man films.'

August 4, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An iconic representation of a time, less so now.

February 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Splendidly directed by Tony Richardson (just before Tom Jones), this highlight of the working-class British cinema (aka "Young Angry Men" films) features a stunning debut performance by Tom Courtenay that put him at the forefornt of British actors.

February 14, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A landmark in British cinema, which not only launched Courtenay's career, but also continued the trend of assertively incorporating contemporary social issues into film drama.

February 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

If anything contributes to its lasting influence, it's not all this lefty stuff, rather the brilliant performance by Tom Courtenay.

April 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

It's provocative and enjoyable, but not a classic.

March 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The counter-Hollywood bloody-mindedness packs a knockout punch.

November 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

The film, with its grim Nottingham setting and working class milieu, must have seemed fresh in its day. Now, though, it looks and sounds like a relic from a bygone era.

October 7, 2002 Full Review Source: BBC.com

Audience Reviews for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Another exquisite film from 1962, the year that brought you Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird and King Kong vs. Godzilla. Tony Richardson knows how to make a motion picture and this is unequivocally one of his best.
June 28, 2012
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

While The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a beautifully bleak story about a reform school kid and for good or ill, the choices he makes. Great direction and cinematography along with a great debut performance by Tom Courtenay are definitely the highlights of this movie, but what I really liked was the flashback-told story and buildup to a truly well-done finale. Out of all the "angry young man" movies I've seen, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner was the best because it actually explained WHY its protagonist was the way he was as opposed to making you endure the behavior of a raving dipshit.
April 7, 2011
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

Ahh Mother,why oh why oh why oh why, don't they make them like they used to? Forget your Guy Richie crime capers,'Loneliness of the long distance runner' is British cinema at its best. I can't explain why I love this film (erm so why I am I here?), whenever I try to explain the plot to friends they look perplexed as to why the film should be so good. Tom Courtenay is in his element in his portrayal as the 'loveable rogue'. Has 'Jerusalem' ever been more poignantly sung as it has here? Im not urging you to go out and purchase the film, but if you have a spare 90 odd minutes and it comes on television then watch it. Ta.
February 10, 2011
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

Colin Smith is a rebel with a cause, the furious voice and spirit of the proletariat, the people who have to suffer for the privileged and get nothing in exchange but a terrible burden.

A battle against an opressive system, depicted in a fiery and emotive way. Magnificent characters and story, and phenomenal Tom Courtenay.

One of the crown jewels of British cinema.
March 28, 2009
pier007

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Einsamkeit des Langstreckenläufers (DE)
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) (CA)
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