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The Running Man

The Running Man (1982) was a science fiction novel by Stephen King, under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. In 1987, the novel was adapted into a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In the story, the protagonist enters a TV contest where contestants win prizes if they manage to avoid so-called "hunters" (essentially gladiators) for a year. The contest has no set arena, so the 'runner' can travel anywhere in the world, if he can arrange transport. The hunters are aided by members of the public, who receive cash for providing information on the whereabouts of the runner. Additionally, the runner must periodically videotape messages, which are mailed to the TV show.

If the runner is caught he or she is killed live on TV. The hero of the book ultimately escapes the game by flying a plane into the headquarters of the TV network that operates the game, gaining his revenge on the corporation, but dying in the process.

The story has a similar theme to another of King's books written as Bachman, The Long Walk. The story also describes less explicitly fatal game shows, such as one for people who have certified heart problems who exert themselves for money. This is reminiscent of modern 'reality-based' shows such as Survivor, Fear Factor[?] and the like.

The book has also been filmed as The Running Man (1987), directed by Paul Michael Glaser[?]. The lead role is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is significantly different from the novel; the contest takes place in an arena, with several contestants competing together. In addition, the contestants link up with a rebel group to fight back against the show's hunters. The hunters themselves resemble professional wrestlers, with fancy costumes and nicknames.

The movie ends much more upbeat than the original ending, with the good guys defeating and killing the bad guys. Like many adaptations of King's works, this translation to film was not considered artistically successful by many critics.



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