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Maria Arielle Johnna Veronica G. Del Rosario


Professor Falgui
English 10
13 May 2014
The movie The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is about a rebellious young man, Colin
Smith or simply Col, who was sent to a juvenile detention center in the form of a reform school because
he stole some money from a bakery. During his stay he quickly becomes the prized stallion of the
Governor of the school because of his prowess in long distance running. The film revolves around Cols
struggle with authority and the events that lead to the fateful moment at the end, where he chooses to lose
the race despite a comfortable lead towards the finish line and the expectations of the Governor and his
school mates. Ultimately, Cols decision to not cross the finish line was foreshadowed by the death of his
father, the indifference of his mother and the Governors favoritism.
Col has a penchant for getting in to trouble, however from what I observed the gravity of his
misdeeds seemed to escalate as his fathers condition worsened. We see his life outside of the detention
center through flashbacks that are virtually indistinguishable from the present timeline unless you actually
pay attention to the story. This gives the viewers an idea of what it feels like to lose their sense of time,
which prisoners experience as a consequence of their incarceration. Col went from borrowing (he
actually returned the car after he and his friend took it for a ride) cars and cheating gambling machines to
robbing a bakery all in the span of the weeks leading up to his fathers death. He is also extremely
bothered at the absence of grieving in their household when his father dies, especially when his mother
takes her lover to their home. Cols resistance to submit to authoritative figures begins here as he insists
that he must take the place of his father not his mother or her lover. An argument between Col and his
mothers lover about who controls the television is actually what drives Col to rebel and rob the bakery
which sends him to juvie.
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In the reform school, Cols continual struggle with authority is evident in his relationship with
Stacy, the leader of their house and champion long distance runner which he quickly overthrows and
the Governor. The Governor favors Col because he (the Governor) believes Col can win the long distance
race for their school. Col immediately expresses his plan to make the Governor and other school
authorities think that hes on their side when he really isnt. This plan was fully realized in the race when
he chose to lose. A few meters from the finish line, Col begins to experience a flood of memories that
leads him to one seemingly stupid but epic realization: he must stop and lose the race. And just to rub it in
the face of the Governor he stops within a few inches from the finish line. This was what he was fighting
for throughout the whole movie. He was fighting for his freedom to make decisions for himself and be his
own boss. Free from his fathers shadow, his mothers betrayal, and the Governors expectations. In the
end we see him with a smile on his face - a smile of a contented boy who had just become a man by
standing up for himself.
The long distance runner is indeed a lonely man (or woman) because he waits for no one and
neither does he submit to anyone. The movie The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is one of
those films that, to the impatient child of the modern word, are dreary because of its lack of color and
deep subject. But it is usually these kinds of films that leave a lasting impression and may or may not
change your life.






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Works Cited
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Dir. Tony Richardson. Perf.Tom Courtenay,
Michael Redgrave, James Bolam. Continental, 1962. Film.