The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Synopsis: A rebellious youth, sentenced to 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.
Genre: Drama, Sport
Director(s): Tony Richardson
Production: Continental
  Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

Running has always been

a big thing in our family,

especially running away from the police.

It's hard to understand.

All I know is that you've got to run,

run without knowing why,

through fields and woods.

And the winning post's no end,

even though barmy crowds

might be cheering themselves daft.

That's what the loneliness

of the long distance runner feels like.

Cheer up, wack, it'll soon be Christmas.

Miserable sort of bloke, isn't he?

Back home again.

Nice little bunch we got this time.

What? This lot?

They'll all be over the hill within a week.

- Cheerful, aren't you?

- You know, I sometimes wonder

if I believe in all this setup.

When you've been in it as long as I have,

you stop asking yourself that question.

- Get back!

- What the hell are those fools trying to do?

- I'll get out and give you a lift, mate.

- I might have guessed.

It's that imbecile, Houghton, again.

It's a waste of time,

but I hope the officer books him.

What a garbage dump.

It looks like the bloody place

they shut Monte Cristo up in.

I'll tell you what, it looks like our house.

Cor, look at that, a right stackers Borstal.

- Do what?

- Long term place, mate.

Come on, sit down,

let's get these bracelets off you.

Bloody wrist is dropping off here.

- Look at that...

- Let's hope it's better than

- that detention center.

- I hope me Ma's got the dinner on.

- Hang on.

- Come on, then, we haven't got all day.

- All right.

- Say, "sir," when speaking to an officer.

- Wants teaching a bloody lesson, that one.

- In here, lads.

Line up in front of the officer.

Hello, Harry. Still busy?

Still working for that pension,

such as it is.

Aren't we all?

Get your hands out of your pockets, lad.

Come on, line up!

Here you are. Six new receptions,

and a right lot they are, too.

Yeah. Looks as if

we're gonna have to fumigate.

Keep it quiet.

What do you think this is, a holiday camp?

Now, lads, listen to your numbers.

988, 989, 990, 991, 992, and 993.

- All right, all yours, Mr. Craig.

- All correct, Mr. Fenton.

Right, get your clothes off, all of you.

Put them on the floor. Come on, move!

- Underwear as well, sir?

- lf it's not too much trouble, lad.

Get them off! Come on.

We're gonna put you in the latest fashions.

Pint-sized loudmouth.

Soon take care of him.


Come on, step on it.

The Governor's waiting to see you.


- Chief, this is a great day for us.

- How is that, sir?

Well, something I've been hoping

for a long time.

Gives one a real sense of achievement.

Come in.

Fall in here! Look sharp!

Line up in front of the Governor.

Chins in, chests out.

Arms by your side, shoulders back.

- Where's your tie?

- I...

Don't answer back!

- What's your name, lad?

- Elliot, sir.

- And yours?

- Smith.

Say, "sir," when you answer the Governor.

Sir Smith.

That won't get you far here, lad.

Well, all I have to say to you is this.

I don't have to know what you've done.

You are here for us

to try and make something of you,

to turn you into

industrious and honest citizens.

Well, as we see it,

that shouldn't be too difficult.

We like things to run smoothly here,

of course.

Both for you and for us.

The sooner we have your cooperation,

the sooner you'll be out of here.

If you'll play ball with us,

we'll play ball with you.

We want you to work hard and play hard.

Good athletics, sports,

inter-house competition.

We believe in all that.

Come in.

Ah, there you are, Stacey. Just a moment.

Well, as I was saying,

we're divided into houses.

Now, none of you is proud of being here,

but there's no reason why

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Alan Sillitoe

Alan Sillitoe (4 March 1928 – 25 April 2010) was an English writer and one of the so-called "angry young men" of the 1950s. He disliked the label, as did most of the other writers to whom it was applied. He is best known for his debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and early short story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, both of which were adapted into films. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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