The 1987 movie 'The Running Man' (based on a Stephen King novel) is a well put together story mixed in with the format of a typical action thriller.
In a nutshell, the story is about a police officer helicopter pilot Ben Richards (played by our good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger) who when refusing to fire upon food rioters, is publicly framed for the murder (which is subsequently carried out by his fellow officers) as 'The Butcher of Bakersfield'.
Using digital technology, the propaganda ministers manipulate the video footage of the event to make the evidence support the 'official' (albeit false) party line.
Schwarzenegger is later blackmailed into appearing on the popular gladiatorial game show 'The Running Man' in which convicted criminal contestants have to make a run from one area to another whilst they are 'stalked' by comic-book type characters with names like Buzzsaw, Sub-Zero and Fireball.
The slimy presenter of the show shouts out mottos like "We love you!" to the cheering 'dumbed down' audience at home, in the studio and the viewers in the streets, whilst knowingly deceiving them with propaganda and lies.
The general theme of the game show is that if the contestants make it out alive they are pardoned for their crimes (like three previous winners... Whitman Price and Haddad), and the viewers can gamble openly on who will survive, however the twist (as always) is that the bloodthirsty home audience is being lied to and that in reality, no-one makes it out alive!
The film incorporates many of the elements that we are seeing today from decadent police states, governmental propaganda tools and a growing third world in the US, however its main parallel with reality is the element of the dehumanisation of our 'home audience' through degrading and intellectually patronising game shows and 'reality' TV shows shown in the US, UK and now even Iraq which has its own version (for those lucky enough to have TV's!).
The general message of the film is not as powerful as it could have been, however the scenario portrayed in this (not so) futuristic thriller is one that might possibly make the viewer stop and observe how close we are to becoming a society seen in the story.
The street telescreen announcer tells the proles that they can get a bonus for turning in a family member. Is this far removed from programs set up in both America and Iraq that encourage informing on people if they display 'suspicious behaviour'?