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At Close Range (1986)

R | | Crime, Drama | 18 April 1986 (USA)
In 1978 rural Pennsylvania an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons and they become intrigued with romanticized life of crime.



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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy (as Christopher Penn)
Tony Pine
J.C. Quinn ...
Mary Sue
Jake Dengel ...


Based upon the true story of Bruce Johnston Sr., his son, and his brothers; together, they constituted one of suburban Philadelphia's most notorious crime families during the 1970s. Their criminal activities ranged from burglary, theft... and ultimately, murder. Written by LizFL

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They were two live wires in a dead-end town, both searching for the only family they'd ever known...each other. See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf kurze Distanz  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)


$2,347,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie features the song "Live to Tell" performed by Madonna, then-wife of the movie's lead actor Sean Penn. See more »


When Brad Sr is being walked into the courthouse after being arrested, the building behind him is the Williamson County Bank located in Franklin, Tennessee not in Pennsylvania where the events took place. See more »


Uncle Patch Whitewood: [to Brad, Jr] Let's me and you go into the next room and start sniffin' some ideas.
See more »


Live to Tell
Written by Patrick Leonard and Madonna
Performed by Madonna
See more »

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User Reviews

It's in the genes.
19 April 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

This raw look at small town hoods brutally exposes us to a portion of society rarely depicted in movies. Souped-up cars and small time heists are nothing new, but `At Close Range' is really more ‘The Godfather' than `Bonnie and Clyde'.

Disobedient kids, worthless mom, ineffective stepfather. Every day we hear tell of it on Montel, Jerry Springer, and Sally. Here, we see it, here we live it.

James Foley does his best work here, you might think it funny to call a film with a lot of 4x8 paneling and muscle shirts ‘stylish' but this film has its own distinctive style, in many ways reminding me of Michael Mann's very stylish `Thief'

Christopher Walken is nothing short of spectacular. Both the Penn brothers (Sean and Chris) do very strong turns as sons of this verrry badddd man.

Great story, powerful performances. All too real. Even a bit of a storybook ending doesn't tarnish this one.

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