Sprinting for Their Lives: The Best Film Running Scenes



AS THOUSANDS RUN the Marine Corps. Marathon this weekend, the rest of us — briefly — will probably feel bad about being couch potatoes who lack that special motivation to pant those 26.2 miles. (We’re not even going near those doing the whole thing barefoot.)

We schlubs need some inspiration, no? Never fear, the movie biz is here to help.

Here’s a quick memory jog of those who put their best feet forward on film. Obviously there’s feet-focused flicks like “Chariots of Fire” and “Without Limits,” but we wanted to dig deeper into Hollywood’s running repertoire.

You can thank us next year when you cross the finish line.

RUN [INSERT NAME HERE] RUN
Of course there was Simon Pegg in last year’s “Run Fatboy Run,” in which he plays a lovelorn bloke trying to win back the woman he loves — by entering a marathon. But we’re more partial to the ’99 German indie, “Run Lola Run.” Arms ‘a pumpin, ‘ Franka Potente‘s stride resembles a fast march. (After all, the girl is pounding the pavement in combat boots.) That’s what’s so great about it: She runs as awkwardly as any normal person would. The fact that her cherry-top locks stay in a flowy, yet punky order throughout her downtown sprinting is just a bonus.

NEWSFLASH: VAMPIRES & WEREWOLVES ARE FAST
Ask any teenage girl what makes “Twilight“s Edward Cullen stand-out — aside from his whole blood-sucking thing and Robert Pattinson‘s dreamy good looks — and they’ll say this Forks fella can sprint up mountains while piggybacking annoying girls named Bella without breaking a sweat. Vampires are quick and agile. Who knew? Same goes for their werewolf counterparts. Michael J. Fox‘ “Teen Wolf” was great for running up his basketball team’s scoreboards, but one of the best werewolf dashing scenes was delivered by Michael Sheen. In 2003’s “Underworld,” the Lycan leader, Lucian (Sheen) pursues Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman as they zoom off in a car. Naturally, he runs after them … and catches up (below, go to 1:19).

MICHAEL CERA
Yes he plays the “I’m naive-innocent-and-awkwardly-hipster” funny a little too often, but there’s something about the way this young actor runs that brings about hilarity. Will Ferrell‘s drunken “we’re going streaking” trot (ala “Old School“) will always be priceless, but our bet is Cera will be running circles around the elder funny man in the future. First there were those jogging shorts in “Juno,” but it’s his stiff-legged sprint away from the cops in “Superbad” that’s a gem. It’s all about the posture.

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY
There’s something about watching someone run to ultimately achieve their destiny, isn’t there? Sly Stallone‘s trot in “Rocky” will remain one of the most famous of our time, just as Tom Hanksfictional run across the country (“Run Forrest, run!). There’s team building moments: Racial lines were pounded into the ground when the “Remember the Titans” football squad took a jog in the woods. Lastly, Jennifer Beals‘ running in place frenzy in “Flashdance” should always get props. Mostly because the rest of us wouldn’t be able to walk properly for days after attempting it.

ANYTHING WITH TOM CRUISE
Cruise has made a career out of his hectic, mini-man sprint. The U.S. Olympic team should consider putting him up against Usain Bolt come 2012.

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Dr. Andrea Bonior · October 21, 2009