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Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The (1962, Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay)



One of the most influential and important films of British cinema’s ’60s New Wave, Tony Richardson’s gritty look at lower-class life in England heralded the talent of both its director (Tom Jones) and star Tom Courtenay (Dr. Zhivago). Courtenay plays Colin, a rebellious boy sentenced to a reformatory for robbing a bakery, and becomes a favorite of the borstal’s governor (Michael Redgrave) due to his natural telent as a cross-country runner. As he trains for an important race against a private school, Colin recalls his life before his incarceration, reflections that cause a surprising act of defiance at the conclusion of the film.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner was the auspicious film debut of actor Tom Courtenay, whose performance earned him the British Academy’s Most Promising Newcomer Award.

production details
Michael Redgrave as Ruxton Towers Reformatory Governor
Tom Courtenay as Colin Smith
Avis Bunnage as Mrs. Smith
Alec McCowen as Brown, House Master
James Bolam as Mike
Joe Robinson as Roach
Dervis Ward as Detective
Topsy Jane as Audrey
Julia Foster as Gladys
Philip Martin as Stacy (uncredited)
James Fox as Willy Gunthorpe – Ranley School Runner
John Thaw as Bosworth
Arthur Mullard as Chief Borstal Officer
John Brooking as Green
Raymond Dyer as Gordon
Anthony Sagar as Fenton
Peter Kriss as Scott
Peter Madden as Mr Smith
Dallas Cavell as Lord Jaspers
James Cairncross as Mr Jones
Frank Finlay as Booking Office Clerk
Derek Fowlds as Borstal Inmate
Robert Percival as Tory Politician
Ray Austin as Craig

Director: Tony Richardson
Producer: Tony Richardson
Director of Photography: Walter Lassally
Editor: Anthony Gibbs
Music: John Addison
Script: Alan Sillitoe
Production Design: Ralph Brinton

UK / 104 minutes / 1962