Watching in 2018, the heavy-handedness of the political message makes this film feel dated. However there are moments of real poetic beauty: The opening shot and voice-over, the shot of the boys singing Jerusalem, the closing shot of the boys taking apart World War Two gas masks. There is also some lovely humour; the scene where the hidden pound notes escape from the drainpipe in front of the inspector
Realistic portrait of a loser. Actor Tom Courtenay steals every scene he's in as he looks like a young delinquent. The film make good use of flashbacks and is interestingly told. Only reason it doesn't feel that fresh anymore is that British cinema has used the movie as basis for any other film in the same genre.
Digne représentant de la fameuse école britannique du "free cinéma" cette oeuvre essentielle confirme l'exceptionnelle acuité sociale et politique du jeune Tony Richardson, idéalement structuré par la contribution romanesque et concernée d'un écrivain rare et puissant, le remarquable Alan Sillitoe et servi avec talent et maestria par un acteur épatant et débutant, le magnétique Tom Courtenay... www.cinefiches.com
Despite its strong political credentials and the realist feel in tune with the idiosyncracies of the era, Richardson's take on class struggle seems pretty naive half a century later. Arguably outdated at a time when normalisation of The Four Horsemen of Capitalism has taken place, the film seems too candid (even in its own acting) to have survived as a banner for political critique despite that not much has changed.
Never seen this before, and it jumped right into my all-time favourites list. So relevant once again in troubled 2016, and so understated and hard-hitting. Cinematically gorgeous, great wit and charm as well as superb and economical characterisation in the script, and brilliant performances throughout. Wonderful pace, never a dull moment.
Two fingers aloft to the establishment, smirk barely concealed. That final scene! A beautiful, electrifying act of defiance. This is a remarkable film, trembling with iron spirit, bristling with fury, and above all, a revitalising tonic to the stiff, dour British cinema of old.
I had a mate who ended up in boarstal for dealing weed, he was a alright, I couldn't have handled it being a sensitive soul, I went to a cheap boarding school instead, fucked me up just as bad. 'If' and The Lonelinesss of the Long Distance Runner' are two sides of the same coin if you ask me, which you didn't.
Great period piece with pertinent 1960s themes. Not quite a Ken Loach or Saturday Night...as the comic sped-up scenes lighten the mood. Is flawed in places though: I have trouble taking the painful almost uncoordinated running seriously, and grown men playing teenagers never works for me.