The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay) is a rebellious teen with a huge chip on his shoulder. Too lazy to work, he drifts into petty thievery. He is unsatisfied at home and he resents the promiscuity of his mother, who spends more time on her back than she does standing up for her children. Colin's criminal activities end when he winds up being sent to Borstal, an institutional gathering place for juvenile offenders. After plenty of time running from police, Colin is chosen to represent Borstal in a cross country race against a public school. He resents '"the system", especially the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"More allegory from the depths of the British kitchen sink."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"One of the best of the British 'Angry Young Man films.'"
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"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."
‑ , Film4
"The counter-Hollywood bloody-mindedness packs a knockout punch."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Most of the period hallmarks of the British New Wave are paraded here."
‑ , Time Out
"Ultimately, Richardson's pot-shots at consumerism and class have lost some urgency, but the nihilistic, punky buzz packs an immortal wallop. Classic."
‑ Simon Crook, Total Film
"An iconic representation of a time, less so now."
‑ Chris Barsanti,
"If anything contributes to its lasting influence, it's not all this lefty stuff, rather the brilliant performance by Tom Courtenay."
‑ Keith H. Brown, Eye for Film
"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."
‑ Stephen Applebaum,
"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."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"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."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"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."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"It's provocative and enjoyable, but not a classic."
‑ Patrick Peters, Empire Magazine
More reviews for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner on Rotten Tomatoes