Up 1,056 this week

At Close Range (1986)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  18 April 1986 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 10,276 users  
Reviews: 87 user | 32 critic

In 1978 rural Pennsylvania an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons and they become intrigued with romanticized life of crime.



(story), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Colors (1988)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director: Dennis Hopper
Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso
Bad Boys (1983)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing Paco Moreno's kid brother.

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Stars: Sean Penn, Reni Santoni, Jim Moody
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Terry Noonan returns home to New York's Hells Kitchen after a ten year absence. He soon hooks up with childhood pal Jackie who is involved in the Irish mob run by his brother Frankie. Terry... See full summary »

Director: Phil Joanou
Stars: Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of a disillusioned military contractor employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Pat Hingle
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An obese, embittered nurse doesn't mind if her toupee-wearing boyfriend romances and fleeces other women, as long as he takes her along on his con jobs.

Directors: Leonard Kastle, Donald Volkman
Stars: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both... See full summary »

Director: James Foley
Stars: Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, Bruce Dern
Summerspell (1983)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Family celebrations and tensions, Independence Day, Texas 1948

Director: Lina Shanklin
Stars: Louise Davis, Edna Wisdom, Vernon Lafon
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A former drug lord returns from prison determined to wipe out all his competition and distribute the profits of his operations to New York's poor and lower classes in this stylish and ultra violent modern twist on Robin Hood.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen...

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1942 California, two young men await induction into the U.S. Marines and say goodbye to their girlfriends.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley


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 1970's. Their criminal activities ranged from burglary, theft... and ultimately, murder. Written by LizFL

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A father too dangerous to be close with. A son too dazzled to break away. 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
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of Brad Whitewood, Sr. was originally offered to Robert De Niro, who turned it down because he felt the character was too dark. See more »


The story takes place in Pennsylvania, but in the night time scene in the town square, a bright First Tennessee Bank shines. See more »


Terry: The answer is no.
Brad Whitewood Sr.: I ain't asking.
Terry: The answer is no
[Brad throws Terry on the bed and starts raping her]
See more »


It Started with a Touch
Written by Leon Medica
Performed by Leroux
Provided by arrangement with The Inside Track
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Strong Acting From Lead Actors
16 August 2001 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

At Close Range(1986) is a powerful story about the conflict between father and son that leads to tragedy. The film is loosely based on a true story. What happens in the course of the film is enough to exhaust the reactions of the viewer. The story is made powerful from the tense moments and strong emotions. The director lends some brilliance in creating a tight and compact crime drama.

Excellent companion to the similarly themed but different storied Out of the Blue(1980). Both deal with the angst of the main characters who are big time misfits. In At Close Range(1986) and Out of the Blue(1980) the father is first beloved then despised by the main characters. The fathers played by Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken are selfish jerks who care only about themselves. The two films share with each other a bleak and dark portrait of the family structure.

The main theme song called "Live to Tell" goes well together with most of the film's motif. The song represents what the whole story is about. The masterpiece of James Foley who has done a couple of other terrific films besides At Close Range(1986). The relationship between Brad JR and his girlfriend adds more to the antagonistic relationship between father and son. Way better than the lousy Fear(1996) or the horrible The Corruptor(1999).

Christopher Walken gives one of his top great performances in the role of Brad Whitewood SR. He does a convincing job at playing an evil character with deceptive charm. Not many actors can be charming and despicable in the portait of a character like Christopher Walken. This is a film where the talents of Chris Walken are put to good use. It also helps that he acts aside another terrific talent in Sean Penn.

Sean Penn brings out the performance of his life in an otherwise inconsistent acting career. Despite being a talented actor, Sean Penn rarely fullfills in some films his capabilities of being a great actor. At Close Range is one of the few times where the talents of the actor are filled to the top of the glass. His character is someone that many can identify with. He puts every ounce of emotion into making Brad Whitewood JR a believable person.

The acting is very good as a total sum. Mary Stuart Masterson gives a solid turn in one of her best roles. Kiefer Sutherland makes a film apprearence before he became a well known actor. The other actors contribute with some believable and solid performances. The acting makes it worthwhile to see the film many times.

The father of At Close Range(1986) is an unforgettable villain in 1980s cinema. Brad Whitewood SR makes Darth Valder look like Santa Claus by comparison. Brad Whitewood SR can be charismatic and evil in the same breath. This character is a cowardly and sleezy person who will do anything to save his own skin. Only the yakuza father from Fudoh:the New Generation(1996) surpasses Brad Sr in cold blooded and ruthless behavior patterns.

The growing conflict between father and son leads to a tense confrontation towards the end. The confrontation with Brad SR and Brad Jr are some of the best acting moments in the careers of Christopher Walken and Sean Penn. This moment is tense to the point where everything else in the scene slows down. Its sad to see Brad JR our out his soul in anger to a father who doesn't care about him. Its the conflict of the two people that the movie center around.

One of the most emotionally draining film experiences I have been apart of as a film viewer. The high engery emotions are brought to live with the three dimensional acting of the main cast. A big emotional moment for me is the confrontation between Brad Jr and Brad Sr. For a film like At Close Range(1986) emotional content is a main part of the story. Not many films today have the heart or feeling of a film like At Close Range(1986).

In the tradition of films such as In Cold Blood(1968) and The Onion Fields(1981). Its too bad that a film like Fear(1996) never reached the emotional altitude of this picture. The writing of the story and characters are deeply realized. The director, James Foley is excellent in displaying realistic problems and situations. At Close Range(1986) is one of those neglected classics from the 1980s that is worth seeing for the performances of the main actors.

23 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question about Brad Whitewood Sr. Gang Member salserobravo
Kiefer's role konatown42
Filming location ModernAudrey
Time Magazine 1979 keithjfro
How old is Brad Jr supposed to be? Sir-Psycho-Sexy
The opening sequence NiKoDay
Discuss At Close Range (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: