The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso, Jesse Ventura, Jim Brown, and Richard Dawson (in his final film). Director Andrew Davis was fired one week into filming and replaced by Glaser. Schwarzenegger has stated this was a "terrible decision" as Glaser "shot the movie like it was a television show, losing all the deeper themes." Schwarzenegger believes this hurt the movie. Paula Abdul is credited with the choreography of the Running Man dance troupe.
The film, set in a dystopian America between 2017 and 2019, is about a television show called The Running Man, where convicted criminal "runners" must escape death at the hands of professional killers
In 2017, after a worldwide economic collapse, American society has become a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the populace by broadcasting game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives, including the gladiator-style The Running Man, hosted by the ruthless Damon Killian, where "runners" attempt to evade "stalkers", armed mercenaries, around a large arena, and near-certain death for a chance to be pardoned by the state.