IMDb > Running on Empty (1982)
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Running on Empty (1982) More at IMDbPro »


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5.8/10   262 votes »
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Release Date:
5 August 1982 (Australia) See more »
Suddenly it was no longer a game. See more »
This film collects just what it was like to be in Australia in the early 80's. It's about hot cars, hot chicks and hot times... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Running on Emty on DVD See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Terry Serio ... Mike
Deborah Conway ... Julie

Max Cullen ... Rebel
Richard Moir ... Fox
Penne Hackforth-Jones ... Dave

Vangelis Mourikis ... Tony
Grahame Bond ... Jagger
Bob Barrett ... Workman
Warren Blondell ... Lee
Jon Darling ... Workman
Peter Davies ... Ram's Mate
Kristoffer Greaves ... Starter
Paul Johnstone ... Lecherous Garage Attendant

Chris Haywood ... Photographer
Maurice Hughes ... Foreman
Tim McLean ... Photographer's Assistant
Brian McNevin ... Fox's Timer
Sno Norton-Sinclair ... Ram's mate
Robin Ramsay ... Dad
Geoff Rhoe ... Ram
Keli Roberts ... Sheryl

Annie Semler ... Joan
Jacki Simmons ... Nurse
Gerry Sont ... Victor

Directed by
John Clark 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Barry Tomblin 

Produced by
Mark Egerton .... associate producer
Pom Oliver .... producer
David Roe .... executive producer
Original Music by
Peter Crosbie 
Cinematography by
David Gribble 
Film Editing by
Stuart Armstrong 
Production Design by
Greg Brown 
Costume Design by
Roger Monk 
Production Management
Barbara Gibbs .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mark Egerton .... first assistant director
Tony Wellington .... second assistant director
Sound Department
Syd Butterworth .... sound
Peter West .... stunt driver
Camera and Electrical Department
David Burr .... camera operator
Kevan Lind .... director of photography: second unit
Other crew
George Zukiwskyj .... production design assistance

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Spectrum Films  post-production facilities (as Spectrum Films International)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Fast Lane Fever" - USA (video title)
See more »
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

First production of the Film Corporation of Western Australia. We of the Never Never (1982) and The Winds of Jarrah (1983) would follow.See more »
Continuity: In the opening scene Fox is racing a yellow 1969 HT Holden Monaro. When the HT crashes over the VW it changes into a 1968 HK Holden Monaro. Note tail lights.See more »
Rebel:[sitting in the garage with Mike's trashed Falcon] Gimme a go, Mike... let me fix your car for you.
Mike:[knowing he can't afford to pay Rebel] Mmm, couldn't do that, mate.
Rebel:No, I mean really fix it... make her fly! She's a 351, right? I've got some nitrous oxide injection 'round that's a sweet sensation.
See more »
It All Comes Runnin' BackSee more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Running on Emty on DVD, 2 May 2007
Author: Slutswool from Australia

For those of you out there who have seen this pic on VHS, I would recommend the DVD. In fact the VHS is utter rubbish. The main reason is that the film was shot widescreen (2.55:1) and the producers ran out of money making the VHS version and released it as 4:3. The result is that several actors are not on screen at all, and in many drag races, less than half the cars are showing since one is on each side of the screen. The DVD is actually a reasonable version of the film.

A lot of the best scenes in the film were cut before the final release. They were viewed as being too offensive to minority groups. In fact the prospect of a US release caused even more cuts in the film. For example, the Americans reputedly did not understand words such as Petrol & Strides.

Mike's dad and mum were meant to be hippies. The dad survives in the film as a wasted dope smoking guitarist. But the following scene with the mum was cut. The scene took place in the roof space of the house which was lined with aluminium foil, fluoro lights and filled with plants... you get the picture. The producers had rounded up a lot of real plants for the foreground and when they saw the result on the big sheet, they freaked and the scene was cut. Cowards!

Yes, the film is noted as an Australian cult classic. Voted #2 in Street machines best 100 films of all time, narrowly missing out to Mad Max ll. The latter had over 10 times the budget of ROE. In fact the budget on ROE was so small that the director could not afford to wreck any of the cars... even though there would have been a public outcry if anyone had wrecked a real HO. (compare that with Smoky and the Bandit or Blues Bros where dozens of cars were wrecked.)

So there's one real GTHO and two fakes. One of the fakes was bought from the local indigenous community in Cobar after the standby GTHO crashed into the back of the Country Boy's truck. (That was unscripted! The car was meant to burst out from the side of the truck.) Because the budget was so tight, the car was made up with ordinary brown masking tape instead of the painted on gold trim of the real thing.

The 55 chev is absolutely real. The car began as a very plain 4 door and was brilliantly and quickly converted to the blown '55 in the film. The motor was a marinised 545 which made around 1000 bhp. This was reduced to around 600 for the filming. The car was able to easily to 170 mph as show in several scenes in the film.

Just for the record, anyone with $12,000 could have picked up ALL the cars after the film. The HO, the Dodge, the '53 Ute, Rammer's 53 Chev... the lot. Wonder where they are now?


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