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Ben Richards is the protagonist of The Running Man.
He lives in a world, where the media, particularly the games media (The Network) is controlling everything and a totalitarian state is governing the country. He has a wife and a daughter and he has been blacklisted by the government for having tendencies to disagree with it. He decides to participate in the Running Man show to help his family with their desperate financial problems caused by the blacklisting, knowing he might very well not survive it. They accept him as a player, because he is a man who disagrees with the system and they see this game as a good way to get rid of people like him since they expect noone to survive it. He was the most successful player. He even defeated the Lead Hunter Ewan McCone in public, for which he was offered the job of taking his place. It was something, that was offered to him, because, in the meantime, his family was murdered. He faked acceptance to destroy the Network in revenge for everything it had done to him, his family and to millions of other Americans. He succeeds by crashing a plane into the Network killing himself on the way.
FilmBen Richards was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He is the captain of a group of military police helicopters. He refuses to kill unarmed civilians under the orders of his superiors. That´s why he was arrested and framed for the later executed crime known as the Bakersfield massacre. He spent 18 months in prison.There he and others organize and stage a prison revolt, which succeeds and gets him out of there. After freeing himself from the last chain around his neck, he tries to leave the country, but is later arrested again through a woman called Amber. He is sent to Damon Killian and forced by him to play in Running Man, the show he created in return for leavin his two best friends alone, which have also been arrested. He sends him there with his two best friends anyway with no intention of giving them a chance to survive it. Later Amber also had to join him, when she realised, he was innocent and Killian found out. He manages to escape the game, but his two friends are killed by the stalkers. He joins a Resistance group, that is near the place and which his friends are members of and manages to turn the tables on Killian with their help. He later publicly executes Killian for his crimes after exposing them to the public and becomes a national heroe. He goes away with Amber, who helped him prove his innocence and the show is closed.
The fate of Ben and that of the totalitarian government after that is unknown.