We love running films – so here is a list!

run-fat-boy-runAfter my last blog I got thinking about how much we (yes all of us) love movies that involve running. May not all like running but when we watch someone win a race or an unexpected character complete what seemed inpossible we get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

I started doing a little reseach of running films to see what was out there and thought it might be of interest for others to jot down a list. The list includes acting greats such as Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Jared Leto, Tom Hanks, Simon Pegg, Donald Sutherland, and Kevin Kostner. It is also interesting to note that very few of the films in the list below feature women…

Also If you are a runner then The Guardian is hot on the topic. Here is a link to their best running documentaries (with trailers) – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2013/mar/01/ten-best-running-documentariesAnd a link to the best running films (with trailers) – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2013/feb/18/10-best-running-movies. They also have a story on this crazy chap (me) – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2015/apr/08/why-jamie-is-running-18000km-to-get-to-the-church-on-time

**** I did not write the blurbs – shamelessly copied from Google ****

  1. The Lonlieness of a Long Distance Runner – Fleet-footed Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay) is a rebellious teenager in the poverty-stricken town of Nottingham, in northern England, who enjoys running as an escape from his harsh reality. Caught stealing cash from a bakery, Colin is sent to a reform school where the manipulative governor (Michael Redgrave) promotes sports as rehabilitation by enlisting Colin in a foot race against a prestigious rival school. What the governor doesn’t realize is that Colin is not so easily disciplined.
  2. Marathon Man – Thomas “Babe” Levy (Dustin Hoffman) is a Columbia graduate student and long-distance runner who is oblivious to the fact that his older brother, Doc (Roy Scheider), is a government agent chasing down a Nazi war criminal (Laurence Olivier) — that is, until Doc is murdered and Babe finds himself knee-deep in a tangle of stolen gems and sadistic madmen. Even his girlfriend, Elsa (Marthe Keller), becomes a suspect as everything Babe believed to be true is suddenly turned upside down.
  3. Forrest Gump – After his childhood love turns down his marriage proposal, simpleton Forrest (Tom Hanks) embarks upon a three-year run across America, earning celebrity status along the way.
  4. My Way (Korean) – In World War II-era Korea, rival runners, one Korean (Jang Dong-gun) and one Japanese (Joe Odagiri), go to war together against the Soviets.
  5. Unbroken – As a boy, Louis “Louie” Zamperini is always in trouble, but with the help of his older brother, he turns his life around and channels his energy into running, later qualifying for the 1936 Olympics. When World War II breaks out, Louie enlists in the military. After his plane crashes in the Pacific, he survives an incredible 47 days adrift in a raft, until his capture by the Japanese navy. Sent to a POW camp, Louie becomes the favorite target of a particularly cruel prison commander.
  6. Prefontaine – Olympic defeat matures a selfish distance runner (Jared Leto) into a sports activist before his 1975 death in a car crash.
  7. The Robber – This film follows the true story of Johann Kastenberger, a marathon runner whose penchant for bank robbery leads to his demise.
  8. Run Fatboy Run – Five years earlier, nervous bridegroom Dennis (Simon Pegg) leaves his pregnant girlfriend, Libby (Thandie Newton), at the altar. Now he realizes he made a big mistake and wants to win her back. Unfortunately, Libby is involved with a handsome, attentive and fit financier (Hank Azaria), who plans to run in a charity marathon. Out-of-shape Dennis enters the race — hoping to impress Libby — even though he only has three weeks to prepare.
  9. Chariots of Fire – In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian born to Scottish missionaries in China, sees running as part of his worship of God’s glory and refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias, but neglects his beloved sweetheart Sybil (Alice Krige) in his single-minded quest.
  10. Running the Sahara – Filmmakers follow three men as they run across the Sahara Desert, a journey of 111 days and more than 4,300 miles of challenging terrain.
  11. The Jericho Mile – Larry Murphy (Peter Strauss), an inmate serving a life sentence for murdering his father, is given a shot at Olympic trials after a warden realises his potential during his sprints around the prison yard.
  12. The Athlete – After losing the use of his legs in a car accident, marathon runner Abebe Bikila (Rasselas Lakew) finds a new outlet for his athletic ability and competitive nature in archery and a type of sled-dog racing.
  13. Without Limits – Before Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) makes it to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he is an unlikely track star at the University of Oregon. At school, after Steve initially clashes with coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) over his style of front-running — running the race at maximum speed from beginning to end — he develops a strong bond with the man. Steve also has a profound effect on a beautiful co-ed named Mary (Monica Potter), who becomes the object of his affection.
  14. Running Brave – Dakota runner Billy Mills (Robby Benson) leaves his reservation for college and wins a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
  15. Running on the Sun – Filmmaker Mel Stuart chronicles marathon participants on a 135-mile race through Death Valley and up Mount Whitney.
  16. McFarland USA – Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California’s Central Valley. Coach White and his new students find that they have much to learn about one another, but things begin to change when White realizes the boys’ exceptional running ability. More than just physical prowess drives the teens to succeed; their strong family ties, incredible work ethic and commitment to their team all play a factor in forging these novice runners into champions.
  17. Running America – The life and accomplishments of Marshall Ulrich, the first person to be an ultra runner, an adventure racer and extreme mountain climber.
  18. Transcend – Long-distance running allowed Wesley Korir to escape the grinding poverty of Kenya. But after winning multiple American marathons, including taking running’s most cherished prize – the Boston Marathon, he risks it all and returns home to help his fellow Kenyans create better lives for themselves. In what promises to be the most challenging race of his career, Wesley takes on a well-financed, big-party candidate to run for a seat in Kenyan parliament. attempting to balance the frenzy of campaigning with the demands of marathon training.
  19. Running – Once-promising long-distance runner Michael Andropolis (Michael Douglas) is given one last shot to prove himself when he’s allowed a chance to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. Incapable of competing without somehow sabotaging himself — either on the field or in real life — Michael has alienated both his wife, Janet (Susan Anspach), and his training coach (Lawrence Dane). But, knowing that this is his very last shot at greatness, he endeavors to give it everything he can.
  20. Across the Tracks – When Billy returns from reform school he has to attend a different high school at the other side of town. He tries to start with a clean slate but his old rival doesn’t make it easy on him and his buddy Louie tries to make him go astray again. His brother Joe, quite the opposite of Billy, is a good runner and determined to win a track scholarship. He suggests Billy to join his school’s track team, which pits the two brothers against each other.
  21. Saint Ralph – The year 1954 finds teen outcast Ralph Walker (Adam Butcher) getting in trouble at the Catholic school he attends in Ontario, Canada. When the headmaster (Gordon Pinsent) catches Ralph smoking, he puts the boy on the school’s cross-county team to force him to put his time to better use. When Ralph discovers that his hospitalized mother has slipped into a coma, he decides to run in the Boston Marathon, hoping that, if he wins, God will grant him a miracle and make his mother well again.
  22. 4 Minute Mile – A former track coach decides to train a student with natural athletic talent. Tragedy strikes right before the biggest race of his life, forcing him to confront everything that has been holding him back.
  23. Unbreakable – the Western States – In 2010, four of the greatest undefeated mountain runners on earth toed the starting line at the Western States 100-mile endurance run, the oldest and most prestigious 100-mile foot race in the world. While their lives may be quite different, the goal is the same: win the Western States 100-mile run. A win will require breaking the course record and running the fastest time in the history of the race. An epic showdown ensues, from Squaw Valley, CA in Lake Tahoe, up though the high snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountains, down through the extreme heat of the American River Canyons and finishing in Auburn, CA. Though all four are undefeated, three must break and only one can remain unbreakable.
  24. 100 seconds to beat the world – Documentary telling the story of Kenyan athlete David Rudisha, the greatest 800m runner the world has ever seen, and his highly unusual coach, the Irish Catholic missionary Brother Colm O’Connell.
  25. Endurance – This docudrama focuses on the life and accomplishments of Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. The revered athlete appears as himself, as do his parents, though scenes of his early years are dramatized and depict the aspiring young runner (Yonas Zergaw) learning how to channel his talent in rural Ethiopia. Most notably, however, the film presents footage of Gebrselassie’s exciting Olympic win in the 10,000-meter category.
  26. On the Edge – Banned from competition 20 years ago for exposing payoffs in amateur athletics, former long-distance runner Wes Holman (Bruce Dern) decides to enter the Cielo-Sea Race, a punishing, mountainous footrace in the Pacific Northwest. The competition has bested many younger runners, but by seeking the help of his old coach (John Marley) and reconnecting with his ex-lover (Pam Grier) and father (Bill Bailey), the middle-aged Wes may be ready to take on more than a race.
  27. Personal Best – Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track star Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly). At first the two women form a friendship as Tory and her coach (Scott Glenn) help Chris with her training. Gradually, Tory and Chris start having a sexual relationship and become very close. Their intimacy becomes complicated when Chris’ improvement causes them to be competitors for the Olympic team.
  28. Spirit of the Marathon – Runners, comprising three amateurs and two elite racers, train and compete in the Chicago Marathon
  29. Fire on the track – Pre” embodied the spirit of athletic excellence. He had a belief in self and sport that transcended all but the outer reaches of human speed and endurance. As a freshman, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which hailed him as “America’s Distance Prodigy”. By the time he died in a tragic auto accident at the age of 24, Pre held all 7 American records between 2,000 and 10,000 meters. Off the track, he fought relentlessly for the rights of amateur athletes to prosper for their sacrifices.
  30. Town of runners – Three children from the Ethiopian town of Bekoji move from school track to national competitions.
  31. Four Minutes – Medical student Roger Bannister (Jamie Maclachlan) becomes the first person to run one mile in less than four minutes.
  32. Gallipoli – Mel Gibson appears alongside Mark Lee in this film about two talented young sprinters who enlist in the Australian Army during the First World War and take part in the Gallipoli Campaign in the Ottoman Empire.
  33. Usain Bolt – The fastest man alive – This documentary follows the life and career of Usain Bolt
  34. Dipsea Demon – A film about a 96-year-old man, Jack Kirk, who has run the Dipsea race for 68 consecutive years. He holds the world record for the most consecutive running of any foot race.
  35. Ultramarathon Man – The inspiring journey of Dean Karnazes, an internationally recognized endurance athlete who has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits.
  36. Marathon Boy – Gemma Atwal follows a very young Indian marathon runner, Budhia Singh, as he trains from the age of 4.
  37. Run for your Life – Blending archival and contemporary footage with recollections from past champions, recreational participants, volunteers and local politicians, this documentary looks at the life and passion of Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon. From extremely humble beginnings — in 1970, less than 100 people participated in the inaugural 26.2 mile race through the five boroughs — the race evolves into a global happening, drawing competitors and spectators from all over the world.

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