10 Best Running Movies

As ‘Budhia Singh – Born to Run’ is ready to hit Cinemas, these running movies will make you inspired

By Subhransu Panda, Bhubaneswar

In March 2016 Hindi movie Duranta (later name changed to ‘Budhia Singh – Born to Run) on Budhia Singh‘s life bagged national award in Best Children’s Film category. This movie is based on a 4-year-old marathon tot Budhia, the world’s youngest marathon runner. In this movie directed by Soumendra Padhi, celebrated Bollywood actor Manoj Vajpayee plays the role of coach Biranchi Das. The film, produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Code Red Film Productions, also stars Tillotama Shome and Master Mayur(as Budhia). The biopic is ready to hit cinemas August 5 with a different name, ‘Budhia Singh – Born to Run’.

In May 2006 Budhia actually did the wonder, that, no kid of that age hadn’t done. He ran 65 kilometers continuously for 7 hours from Bhubaneswar to Puri with Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and was listed as the world’s youngest marathon runner in the Limca book of records in the year 2006.

Nowadays, in India, biopics are making it big on screen. The production team also hopes something great for ‘Budhia Singh – Born to Run’. As the movie is going to hit cinemas in August, let’s have a look on best running movies in the world.


The Jericho Mile (1979)

The Jericho Mile is a 1979 Emmy Award-winning USA TV crime film, directed by Michael Mann. The film won five awards, including three Emmy Awards. The story is set at Folsom Prison, where the movie was filmed on location in the prison itself amongst the prison population.


Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire is a British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.

The film was conceived and produced by David Puttnam, written by Colin Welland, and directed by Hugh Hudson. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. It is ranked 19th in the British Film Institute’s list of Top 100 British films. The film is also notable for its memorable instrumental theme tune by Vangelis, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.

The film’s title was inspired by the line, “Bring me my chariot of fire,” from the William Blake poem adapted into the popular British hymn “Jerusalem”; the hymn is heard at the end of the film. The original phrase “chariot(s) of fire” is from 2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17 in the Bible.


Personal Best (1982)

Personal Best is centered on a group of women trying to qualify for the American track-and-field team bound for the1980 Olympic Games. Despite their commitment to their training regimen, their dreams are thwarted when the United States announces its boycott of the Games for political reasons, leaving them with only the informal “personal best” marks they achieved during training to connote their achievements.

The movie starred Mariel Hemingway and real-life track star Patrice Donnelly, along with Scott Glenn as the coach of the track team. It was written, produced and directed by Robert Towne.

The film was praised by critics for providing a realistic look at the world of women’s athletics, for exploring the complex relationships that can exist among teammates and their coach, and for its sensitive portrayal of the relationship between an older lesbian (Donnelly) and a younger bisexual woman (Hemingway). Despite good reviews, it flopped at the box-office.

Many of the scenes were filmed in San Luis Obispo County. While the sign on the track said “Cal Poly”, which is a university in San Luis Obispo, it was filmed at the track at Morro Bay High School. There are also two scenes filmed at restaurants in downtown San Luis Obispo; the Cigar Factory and 1865. Filming locations in Eugene, Oregon, included Hayward Field and the nearby Track Town Pizza restaurant.


Running Brave (1983)

Running Brave is based on the story of Billy Mills, a North American Indian brought up on the reservation, destined against all odds to become the best distance runner in the world in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

In one of the great upsets in sports history, distance runner Billy Mills sprinted from 3rd place and took the gold medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Mills is still the only American in history to accomplish this feat. Robby Benson portrays Mills, the Oglala Sioux who left the reservation in the late 1950s for his date with Destiny. Pat Hingle and a young Graham Green also star. D.S. Everett directs.


Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is an American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man from Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States; more specifically, the period between Forrest’s birth in 1944 and 1982. The film differs substantially from Winston Groom’s novel, including Gump’s personality and several events that were depicted.

Principal photography took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate the protagonist into the archived footage and to develop other scenes. A comprehensive soundtrack was featured in the film, using music intended to pinpoint specific time periods portrayed on screen. Its commercial release made it a top-selling soundtrack, selling over twelve million copies worldwide.

Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump became a commercial success as the top grossing film in North America released in that year, being the first major success for Paramount Pictures since the studio’s sale to Viacom, earning overUS$677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. In 1995 it won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay for Eric Roth, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing. It also garnered multiple other awards and nominations, including Golden Globes, People’s Choice Awards, and Young Artist Awards, among others. Since the film’s release varying interpretations have been made of the film’s protagonist and its political symbolism. In 1996, a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, opened based on the film and has since expanded to multiple locations worldwide. The scene of Gump running across the country is often referred to when real-life people attempt the feat. In 2011, theLibrary of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (English: “Run Milkha Run”) is an Indian biographical sports drama film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra from a script written by Prasoon Joshi. The story is based on the life of Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national champion runner and an Olympian. It stars Farhan Akhtar in the lead role with Meesha Shafi, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra,Yograj Singh and Prakash Raj in supporting roles and Sonam Kapoor in a cameo. Sports was coordinated by the American action director Rob Miller of ReelSports.

Made on a budget of ₹300 million (US$4.5 million), the film released on 12 July 2013 and gathered a positive response from critics and audiences alike. It performed very well at the box office, eventually being declared a “super hit” domestically and hit overseas. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is the sixth highest grossing 2013 Bollywood film worldwide[5] and became the 21st film to gross ₹1 billion (US$15 million).

Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life. The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Singh sold the film rights for one rupee and inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.


Run Lola Run (1998)

Run Lola Run (German: Lola rennt, literally “Lola runs” or “Lola is running”) is a German thriller film written and directed byTom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The story follows a woman who needs to obtain 100,000 Deutsche Mark in twenty minutes to save her boyfriend’s life. The film’s three scenarios are reminiscent of the 1981Krzysztof Kieślowski film Blind Chance; following Kieślowski’s death, Tykwer directed his planned film Heaven. The film was selected as the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.


Without Limits (1998)

Without Limits is a biographical sports film. It is written and directed by Robert Towne and follows the relationship between record-breaking distance runner Steve Prefontaine and his coach Bill Bowerman, who later co-founded Nike, Inc. Billy Crudup plays Prefontaine and Donald Sutherland plays Bowerman. It also stars Monica Potter, Jeremy Sisto, Judith Ivey, Matthew Lillard andWilliam Mapother.

Without Limits was produced by Tom Cruise (Cruise and Mapother are cousins) and Paula Wagner, and released and distributed byWarner Bros. Due to a very low-key promotional campaign, the $25 million film grossed only $777,000 at the box office, although it received good reviews from many major critics. Sutherland received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.


Saint Ralph (2004)

Saint Ralph is a Canadian comedy-drama film written and directed by Michael McGowan. Its central character is a teenage boy who trains for the 1954 Boston Marathon in the hope a victory will be the miracle his mother needs to awaken from a coma.

The film premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival and was given a theatrical release in 2005.


Spirit of the Marathon (2007)

Spirit of the Marathon is a documentary film directed by Jon Dunham. The film chronicles the journey six marathon runners experience while training and competing in the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It was screened at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 5, 2007 and received a limited release in the United States on January 24, 2008.


Subhransu Panda is an Author and Journalist and can be reached at editor@odishastory.com / subhransupanda@yahoo.co.in / 9338655845


About the Author

Subhransu Panda
Subhransu Panda, founder and editor of www.odishastory.com, is an author and journalist. After working 10 years as a journalist in Odisha's leading media houses, both print and electronics, he started Odisha Story in 2016. He has 6 Odia books to his credit including 2 novels. He is also heading Odisha's leading publishing house PEN IN Books.