The Running Man was one of those classic, cheesy action films released in the 80s when Arnold Schwarzenegger was a big star and everyone flocked to see the next Arnie movie at the box office. The film sees his character forced to take part in a vicious game show where the aim is to avoid being killed horribly! Let’s take a look back at this enjoyable film with some facts you probably didn’t know…
1. It was written by a horror great
The Running Man was based on the novella of the same name by Richard Bachman. “Who?” I hear you ask. Richard Bachman was a well-known pseudonym for Stephen King!
2. A lot of people never knew this
When the rights to The Running Man were purchased to make in to a movie by producer Rob Cohen, Cohen had no idea that Richard Bachman was actually Stephen King!
3. The title was used to good effect years later
When Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for the position of Governor of California, he went around in a campaign bus which he named “The Running Man”.
4. It inspired a hit show
The Running Man was the main inspiration for American Gladiators, which became a massive hit and saw Gladiators shows pop up around the World with the UKs being especially popular.
5. It also inspired a hit video game
No, we’re not talking about The Running Man: The Video Game which was released around the same time on platforms like the Atari ST, but we’re talking about Smash TV, which saw contestants thrust in to a game show arena, facing ever tougher enemies and picking up prizes like new TVs as they went!
6. There was a big-name cameo that most people missed
In The Running Man, the leader of The Underground ,Mick, is played by Mick Fleetwood, the drummer from the hit band, Fleetwood Mac!
7. There were issues finding a director
There were several directors connected to The Running Man, with Paul Michael Glaser actually being the 5th person officially hired to direct the film!
8. Most of the rest were fired!
Out of the other 4 directors who were hired first, George P. Cosmatos, Ferdinand Fairfax and Andrew Davis were all fired for taking the film in the wrong direction or not directing it in a way that Rob Cohen liked, and Carl Schenkel turned the opportunity down.
9. It featured 2 future politicians
Everyone knows that Arnie went on to become Governor of California, but Jesse Ventura, who also starred in The Running Man, also went on to become a Governor, of Minnesota.
10. There was a nod to a big TV Show
In Killian’s office, we briefly see a poster for a made-up TV show, Hate Boat. This is a nod to the fact that actor, Richard Dawson, appeared in TV’s Love Boat.
11. It should be happening now!
The Running Man is set between the years of 2017 and 2019, meaning that somewhere the events depicted should be taking place right now!
12. It was based on a real show!
Terrifyingly, The Running Man game show seen in the film took inspiration from a real Japanese quiz show, “Trans American Ultra Quiz” from the early 80s in which contestants were basically tortured and the one who lasted the longest would win!
What did you think of The Running Man? Is it an Arnie Classic, or doesn’t it hold up against his bigger films like Terminator 2 and True Lies? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments as always!