Maybe you need some inspiration to take your feet off the couch and hit the asphalt. Or maybe you just like watching men with toned thighs in tight shorts. Either way, this list of running-focused flicks runs the gamut from serious sports story to epic war movie, with a little bit of romance in between. And be sure to check out our complete guide to running in the May 2012 issue of Details.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Includes an inspiring Gump (Tom Hanks) moment on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana, framed by the jagged, snow-covered mountains of Glacier National Park.
Marathon Man (1976)
A fanatical runner (Dustin Hoffman) gets caught up with Nazis and diamonds and needs his lung-and-leg power to escape the bad guys in the streets of New York City.
Run Lola Run (1998)
Lola (Franka Potente) races through three different life scenarios, each time having just 20 minutes to obtain 100,000 German marks to save her boyfriend's life.
The World War I classic features a young, hot, still-relatively-sane Mel Gibson running through the back roads of Western Australia and the killing fields of Turkey, to the electronic-music soundtrack of Jean Michel Jarre's iconic Oxygène.
The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner (1962)
This gritty British cult favorite features a hard-boiled teenager (Tom Courtenay) who uses running as a way to escape a bleak future that seems certain to end in jail.
Without Limits (1998)
An under-the-radar but acclaimed look at the life of legendary American distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup), who died in a car crash at the age of 24. Produced by Tom Cruise.
Running Brave (1983)
The uplifting story of Billy Mills (Robby Benson), a reservation-raised Native American who pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history when he sprinted from third place to win the 10,000-meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Goosebumps all around as Vangelis' epic soundtrack propels unforgettable running scenes between Britain's two best sprinters—an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice and a devout Scottish Christian who runs for God—at the 1924 Olympics
The Jericho Mile (1979)
Michael Mann directed this tale of a man serving life in Folsom for murder who is then given the chance to train for the Olympics—and an opportunity to win his freedom.
Michael Douglas plays a man who lost his job and his wife after failing the Olympic trials; a decade later, he decides to take a second crack.
—Jack Wright, contributing editor at Details