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


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5.8/10   264 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 »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Great cars, not so hot acting 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?

This film was the break-out lead film role for actor Terry Serio.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:Ay? Sounds like she's got a wobble in the bottom end.See more »
It All Comes Runnin' BackSee more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Great cars, not so hot acting, 27 December 2009
Author: Glen_Chapman from United States

Whenever this film gets a mention, usually the discussion begins and ends with the wonderful collection of cars and drag scenes, often overlooked are the at times eclectic characters that populate the film around the three central characters

One character that stands out is Rebel played by the great veteran Australian actor Max Cullen. Rebel is a blind drag racer, who nearly runs down the hero and his group in the middle of the night because he is not using any headlights.

In the back story we discover that Rebel master builder of street racing cars, and he and his wife seem locked in a time warp of the 1950's. Rebel goes on to play a small but pivotal role in teaching Mike, played by Terry Serio, the almost spiritual truth about street drag racing. It is not speed, reaction times that make a great racer. It is the one who feels the car best who will become the greatest

This is best exemplified as Rebel explains to Mike after a test drive "You got all the agony, just missing the style"

Graham Bond, is another well credited actor lending his talents as a crooked police officer looking to get in on some of the financial action being generated by the street racing. The confrontation between Bond and Fox played by Richard Moir adds tension to the story. Bond not only expects results but also Fox to drum up racing business

For most of the movie Fox displays a real manipulative and evil side, yet in the climax he presents a sense of honor that turns the final few minutes into an extremely tense and memorable ending. It is almost as if the film is refocusing on its true intention, to show us the culture of street racing rather than the day to day activities of people

One of the major complaints about the film is the script. Although it is nothing exciting, I believe the complete lack of any chemistry between Mikes girlfriend played by Deborah Conway and his mechanic played by Vangelis Mourikis has more to do with the problem. Any scene in which these two interact simply should have been cut

Lastly in terms of the actors, one truly standout performance is delivered by Kristoffer Greaves, who plays a deaf and crippled member of Fox's inner circle. His back story is never explored, was he injured in a race, born that way, what is it that Fox sees value in to keep him around

The reality of the film is simple, it is about street racing, and the culture behind it. When the cars are flying and action sequences are in motion it is the only time Director John Clark and his writer Barry Tomblin seem really comfortable with what they are doing.

So if you are looking for an in depth exploration of human relationships, moments of life defining drama, then this film is not for you. If your pulse races at the thought of a blown 57 Chev or the iconic GTO Phase 3 blazing away on the streets of Sydney, then you wont find much better than this film

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