Trivia / The Running Man

The film:

  • Actor Allusion
    • Just before he's launched into the Zone, Richards promises that "I'll be back." To say nothing of Richard Dawson's role as a game show host.
    • Sub Zero is introduced as "Professor Sub Zero," a nod to the ring name of his actor, former pro wrestler Toru Tanaka.
    • Killian refers to Fireball as the "number one rusher"; Jim Brown, who played Fireball, was the running back for the Cleveland Browns, and once held the record for the most career rushing yards. Fireball also yells "Win one for the Zero", a play on the famous Knute Rockne quote, "Win one for the Gipper."
  • The Cast Showoff: When Dynamo (Erland van Lidth) sings the aria from Act III of The Marriage of Figaro, he's actually singing in that scene.
    • van Lidth was an accomplished opera singer before his (unfortunately) brief foray into acting.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • The Survivor (Mexico/Venezuela/Brazil)
    • The Invincible (Greece)
    • Refugee (Poland)
    • Racer (Serbia)
    • Final Chance (Denmark)
    • The Gladiator (Portugal)
    • Battle Runner (Japan)
    • L'implacabile (Italy)
    • Juokse tai kuole (Finland - English: Run or Die)
  • The Danza: Sven, Killian's bodyguard, is played by Sven Ole-Thorsen. Also, Mic is played by Mick Fleetwood.
  • Defictionalization: The technology used to frame Richards by digitally swapping his face with that of the real killer is now completely real.
    • Likewise, while the computer graphics technology to simulate all the other fake footage entirely from scratch is still rather expensive, the software and technical skill necessary to do so are all available to Hollywood and anyone else who can afford them, as recently demonstrated with Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing's likenesses in Rogue One. When this technology gets less expensive and more widely available to the public, we may never again be absolutely certain that any video record of anything hasn't been fabricated.
      • Also a case of Technology Marches On: Many of Richards' "escape" methods wouldn't happen today, in a world of cell phone cameras and GPS. And much of the technology in the movie seems to consist of blinking lights.
    • Also, as of 2016, there is a TV series called The Runner, with a rather similar (though presumably non-lethal) premise to the version of the game in the original story.
  • Dueling Movies: Not so much at the time, but in retrospect with RoboCop. Both movies:
    • Were released in 1987, take place twenty minutes in the future, and are set in a dystopic society where an elite few live in luxury while the masses live around them in squalor. Possibly intentional but both could be seen as satire of Reagan's America.
    • Despite their future setting the hairstyles, fashions, music, and other things are so '80s it's painful.
    • Are ultraviolent movies with an undertone that violence as a form of entertainment is bad.
    • Feature two villains who (at the time) were playing against type. Richard Dawson and Jim Brown in Running Man and Ronny Cox and Kurtwood Smith in RoboCop.
  • Technology Marches On: Most notable with the "tapes" which are shown to be in containers about the size of 3.5" floppy disks. Ironically, these are actually much larger than some of the Micro-SD cards we have right now which can easily store an entire DVD image containing both sides of this movie's double-sided DVD (containing both a full-screen and wide-screen version of the movie, and lots of extras). Some of those cards even have enough storage space that they could easily fit an uncompressed version of this movie a dozen times over, never mind the few minutes of digital footage from Richards' last mission these "tapes" contained.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Dolph Lundgren and Christopher Reeve were both considered for the role of Ben Richards. Can you imagine Ivan Drago or Clark Kent taking a chainsaw to a guy's genitals?
      • The Running Man starring Christopher Reeve probably would have been a little more faithful to the novel than the version featuring Arnold
    • Andrew Davis was originally going to direct the film (after three previous directors pulled out) but was fired a week into production due to going overbudget and being four days behind schedule. Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky from Starsky & Hutch) finished the film.

The book:

  • Anachronism Stew: Curiously, while passing time counting cars, Richards mentions Studebaker automobiles. Studebaker had already been out of business for more than 15 years when the book was written; possibly this anticipated a situation like Cuba in which old vehicles were kept running indefinitely, but the book also shows hover cars...
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