Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner [1962]

A bleak, but powerful 1960 British film that ranks as one of the most important United Kingdom imports of the decade. Director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) tells the story of a rebellious social misfit and petty thief played by Tom Courtenay (The Dresser) who is picked to run on the track team at a reform school for boys. He finds he must balance his spirit and desire to win with his anger and frustration at the life he has led. At times a wrenching character study with no easy answers, Courtenay's performance is a touching portrait of a young man and the journey he takes as he tries to run not only for an unclear future, but from a past he cannot forget. A film indicative of the working class expressionism that came out of England in the early 1960s, Richardson's films stands alone as a downbeat, but insightful story of one man's struggle to determine who he is. --Robert Lane

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