!!The film:

* AntiClimaxBoss: Killian's bodyguard Sven. [[spoiler:He just walks away]].
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: '''CLAP IF YOU LOVE ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy8rT8oHCbI DYNAMO!!!]]'''''
* EsotericHappyEnding: Yeah, Killian's ruse has been undone, Richards' name has been cleared on national TV, and he got the girl, but it takes more than that to solve the economic and social problems still taking place in America.
* HarsherInHindsight: The film (and the book it was based on) basically foresaw the coming of reality TV, particularly in the way the genre is criticized for exploiting its subjects, using manipulative editing to coerce audience reaction, and generally provide no artistic merit beyond audience distraction.
* 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 [[Franchise/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.
** The premise of ''Climbing for Dollars'' is now a lot less ridiculous thanks to the existence of the Creator/{{ITV}}2 programme ''[[http://tangobunny.tumblr.com/post/106221698206/ive-discovered-a-new-tacky-game-show-anyone Release the Hounds]]''.
* MagnificentBastard: Damon Killian.
* MoralEventHorizon:
** The government massacred dozens of people and pinned it on a guy who [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight refused to fire on innocent people]].
** Killian was already a bastard-lying about the contestant's past, [[BadBoss verbally abusing his employees]], sending people of to die in a brutal death battle, but what sent him over the horizon was [[spoiler: lying about the supposed winners of the Running Man, claiming that had been given a pardon, when in reality they had been burned alive off camera. His audience turns against him after that]].
%%* 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.
* SpiritualLicensee:
** The film has one in the form of the 2009 film ''Film/{{Gamer}}''.
** Earlier still was ''SmashTV''.
** '' VideoGame/MadWorld'' counts too, just with less dystopia and more deconstruction on violent reality shows and those who enjoy it.
** While ''VideoGame/TheKillingGameShow'' didn't really copy the movie wholesale, the backstory of that game was lifted from this movie (and as if to prove a point, it's rework lifted it's backstory from the novel instead).
* {{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 ''immature 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 ''¡Hijo de puta! ¡Muerete!'' (You son of a whore! 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 ''Series/RunForMoneyTousouchuu''.
* HarsherInHindsight: The ending has [[spoiler:Richards flying a plane straight into the Games Building, which 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.)