The Program (2015 film)

The Program

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Frears
Produced by
Screenplay by John Hodge
Based on Seven Deadly Sins
by David Walsh
Music by Alex Heffes
Cinematography Danny Cohen
Edited by Valerio Bonelli
Distributed by StudioCanal
Release dates
  • 14 September 2015 (2015-09-14) (TIFF)
  • 16 September 2015 (2015-09-16) (France)
  • 14 October 2015 (2015-10-14) (United Kingdom)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • France
Language English
Box office $3 million[2]

The Program (working title Icon) is a 2015 British-French-American biographical drama film about Lance Armstrong directed by Stephen Frears, starring Ben Foster as Armstrong[3] and Chris O'Dowd as journalist David Walsh.[4]

The film is based on Walsh's book Seven Deadly Sins.[5] It premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on 14 September 2015 and was theatrically released in France on 16 September and the United Kingdom on 14 October.




Screenwriter John Hodge has said that he primarily based his screenplay on Seven Deadly Sins, in addition to other journalism and affidavits from cyclists. Hodge says he ruled out using Armstrong's own accounts of his behavior during this period, and that scenes shown from Armstrong's perspective are fiction.[7]


Lee Pace joined the cast in November 2013.[8] Dustin Hoffman joined the cast in December 2013.[9][10]

To better understand his role, Foster took performance enhancing drugs while shooting the film.[11]


Principal photography began in October 2013.[12]


Box office

The Program grossed $3 million worldwide.[2] It was released for U.S. rental on DirecTV on 19 February 2016,[13] with a theater release date on 18 March 2016.[14][15]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 59%, based on 94 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ben Foster's impressive efforts to channel Lance Armstrong are often enough to power The Program past director Stephen Frears' frustrating unwillingness to delve deeper into its real-life story."[16] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17]


  1. "THE PROGRAM (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 "The Program (2016)". Box Office Mojo.
  3. Lee, Esther (24 October 2013). "Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong In Biopic: See The First Photo!". Us Weekly. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  4. Luckhurst, Samuel (7 July 2014). "Chris O'Dowd To Play David Walsh In Lance Armstrong Film". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  5. Greenslade, Roy (20 April 2014). "David Walsh, who exposed Lance Armstrong, on cycle scandal film". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  6. "Hulsmans 'aartsvijand' van Armstrong". Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). 18 November 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  7. McKittrick, Christopher (31 March 2016). ""Gyllenhaal can ride a bike, but can he take drugs?" The Program". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  8. Venable, Nick (14 November 2013). "Lee Pace Joins Ben Foster In Stephen Frears' Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic". Cinemablend. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  9. "Actor Dustin Hoffman Joins Stephen Frears' Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic". Vibe. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  10. "Dustin Hoffman Joins Stephen Frears' Lance Armstrong Project". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  11. "Chris O'Dowd: Ben Foster's drug use for The Program 'was smart'". BBC News. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  12. "Lance Armstrong Biopic Begins Filming As Ben Foster Displays Cycling Skills". The Huffington Post. AOL. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  13. "Armstrong feature film 'The Program' available on DirecTV". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  14. "The Program (2015) - Release Info". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  15. "The Program Trailer Starring Ben Foster". /Film. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  16. "The Program (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  17. "The Programs reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

External links

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