Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The (1962)

Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The (1962)

A rebellious youth, sentenced to Ruxton Towers, a boy’s reformatory, for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner.

During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor’s prize runner.

longdistancerunner

There are great performances by Tom Courtenay (pictured at right) and James Bolam as the two borstal boys.

Colin (Courtenay in his debut performance) is an embittered delinquent with nihilistically rejects everything around him, much like Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1961).

The story of Colin’s refusal to fit into the pattern of ‘model prisoner’ or ‘consumer’ is well conveyed by director Tony Richardson and the scenes which follow Colin’s runs through the woods are beautifully shot.

While the film represents class through the use of stereotypes (such as the ‘progressive’ prison governor and the patronising employer) it remains as powerful and relevant today as it ever was.

Colin Smith
Tom Courtenay
Mrs Smith 

Avis Bunnage
Gordon 

Raymond Dyer
Governor 

Michael Redgrave
Housemaster (Brown) 

Alec McCowen
Mike 

James Bolam
Roach 

Joe Robinson
Audrey 

Topsy Jane
Gladys 

Julia Foster
Green 

John Brooking
Ronalds 

John Bull
Mr Jones 

James Cairncross
Detective 

Dervis Ward
Doctor 

Peter Duguid
Gunthorpe 

James Fox
Johnny Smith 

William Ash Hammond
Scott 

Peter Kriss
Mr Smith 

Peter Madden
Stacy 

Philip Martin
Craig 

Arthur Mullard
Bill Smith 

Christopher Parker
Fenton 

Anthony Sagar
Bosworth 

John Thaw
Tory Politician 

Robert Percival

Director 
Tony Richardson