!The film:

* AntiClimaxBoss: Sven.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Dynamo uses electricity as his gimmick, so naturally he sings the aria from Act III of ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'' in his introduction.
** [[spoiler:Buzz-Saw's high pitched girly screams when he gets killed from having his own chainsaw shoved up his crotch in one Hell of a nasty GroinAttack may smack as this.]]
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: '''CLAP IF YOU LOVE ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy8rT8oHCbI DYNAMO!!!]]'''''
* FridgeHorror: The bodies of [[spoiler: Whitman, Price, and Haddad ("Last season's winners? No, last season's ''losers''.")]] could be an ''inversion'' of FridgeHorror, as it's unlikely that those three were innocent like Richards, who was an exception to the show's "no political prisoners" arrangement with the justice system. At least if they're ReleasedToElsewhere, they've ''not'' been set loose to resume whatever crimes got them the death penalty in the first place.\\
One of the possible prizes is a "trial by jury" so we can infer that prisoners rarely if ever get a fair trial. It's also likely that even if the contestants actually got the prize, any jury would be biased against them and send them back to prison. Quite frankly, no one would ever get out even if the contest were fair. Considering also that this is a police state that probably considers [[JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife jaywalking]] [[AllCrimesAreEqual a capital offence]], it doesn't take long for potential FridgeHorror to return.
** People getting their kicks off human suffering reality TV style (see HarsherinHindsight).
* HarsherInHindsight: The film (and the book it was based on) basically foresaw the coming of reality TV. May also count as FridgeHorror.
* HilariousInHindsight
** Killian has a video broadcast of Captain Freedom fighting and killing what appears to the in-universe audience to be Richards and Amber - it's actually stunt doubles with the two characters' faces digitally superimposed over the doubles. A radical notion in a late 1980s film, but common practice by film effects artists today. Even a few years after The Running Man was released, the effects team for Jurassic Park would use the same technique to cover up a stunt double's face.
** The fistfight between leotard-wearing Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger is much funnier, knowing that they have each since become U.S. Governors.
** There's one minor character named [[MortalKombat Sub-Zero]]. Good luck listening to Arnold say "[[MemeticMutation Here is Sub-Zero...now plain Zero!]]" without thinking of the ice-manipulating [[MortalKombat Lin Kuei warrior]]. While on Sub-Zero, consider this: [[Film/BatmanAndRobin Arnold and a foe skating on ice]].
** At one point Arnold, a long time supporter of the Republican Party, jokes "I'm not into politics, I'm into survival." A little less than 20 years later he was Governor of California.
* MagnificentBastard: Damon Killian.
* SoBadItsGood
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped
** The movie may have been an escapist action flick starring The Governator, but it (in its own way) taught about the negative aspects of completely turning off your brain in favor of pure, violent escapism, how soul-destroying humanity's bloodlust can be, and the need to question the version of reality that TV presnts. It also teaches about the value of tenacity and standing up for yourself. As well as to not believe everything you see on TV.
** [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-the-running-man-teaches-you-about-life/ 4 Things 'The Running Man' Teaches You About Life]], courtesy of Website/{{Cracked}}.
* SpiritualLicensee: The film has one in the form of the 2009 film ''Film/{{Gamer}}''.
** Earlier still was ''SmashTV''.
* {{Woolseyism}}: The Mexican Spanish subbed version has the ''He is Sub-Zero, Now, just plain Zero!'' line changed. In that translation, that line was changed to ''Aqui esta Sub-Zero, Ahora es un cero a la izquierda'', Being ''cero a la izquierda'' a Spanish phrase meaning "worthless".[[note]]It literally means a ''zero to the left'', after the mathematical term to use a zero before a decimal point, who normally doesn't mean anything, hence the phrase[[/note]] The Mexican Spanish dub left the original phrase translated literally from English.
** Another odd change in the Mexican Spanish sub, and also overlap with UnusualEuphemism despise that subbed version used [[SpiceUpTheSubtitles more profanity than the original English version]] replace Amber's insult to Dynamo ''Dickless moron'' to ''Eunuco'' (Spanish for ''Eunuch'') While ''Eunuch'' has the same meaning as in English in Spanish, in the Mexican dialect it's also a antiquated synonym for ''baby'', as she's basically calling him an ''inmature asshole'' in his face.
** Again with the Mexican Spanish sub: When Richards [[spoiler:sends Killian to his death]] the ''You Bastard! Drop Dead!'' line became ''ĦHijo de puta! ĦMuerete!'' (You son of a bitch! Die!). On the other hand, the Mexican Spanish dub translate the phrase more or less literally.
* WTHCastingAgency: The leader of the underground resistance movement is played by... [[Music/FleetwoodMac Mick Fleetwood]]. Unexpected choice. Presumably they really wanted to add [[CastingGag the scene where he complains that his music was banned for being too political...]]

!The book:
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Shows what will happen if Reality TV shows go that one extra step and actually start hurting people.... but probably directly inspired the British Game Show [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanted_%28game_show%29 Wanted]] and the Japanese Game RunForMoneyTousouchuu.
* HarsherInHindsight: The ending where [[spoiler:Richards flies the plane straight into the Games Building brings up some unfortunate connotations for those reading the book post September 11th, 2001.]]
* HilariousInHindsight: Richards' video camera and blank tapes together weigh about ''six pounds''. And fit into a coat pocket without a bulge.
* MoralEventHorizon: The book makes it clear throughout that the cops in ''Running Man's'' world are not exactly very nice people, but what sends them clean over this is when they [[spoiler: try to take down both Richards and the innocent civilian woman in the car with him. One who was just ''begging them not to shoot'']]
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: The book mocks reality television show like ''Hard Copy'' that demonize people to make the audience hate them. (And keep in mind, this was written nearly 20 years before ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' and ''BigBrother'' spared a boom in just that type of reality game show.)