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

Director:

Writers:

(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,255 ( 1,285)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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
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
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
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 | 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
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
Crime | Drama | 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
Summerspell (1983)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Family celebrations and tensions, Independence Day, Texas 1948

Director: Lina Shanklin
Stars: Louise Davis, Edna Wisdom, Vernon Lafon
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A psychopath murders a man who was on his way to a job as a deputy sheriff in a small California coastal resort town. He takes on the deputy's identity and arrives in town to start his new ... See full summary »

Director: Rick King
Stars: Beau Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Wayne Rogers
Reckless (1984)
Drama | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Rebellious footballer Johnny, falls for cheerleader Tracy. They come from opposite backrounds; she's from a comfortable well off family, his is poor and broken. Tracy already has a ... See full summary »

Director: James Foley
Stars: Aidan Quinn, Daryl Hannah, Kenneth McMillan
Taps (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.

Director: Harold Becker
Stars: George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox
River's Edge (1986)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A high school slacker kills his girlfriend and shows off her dead body to his friends. However, the friends' reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.

Director: Tim Hunter
Stars: Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Terry
...
Tommy (as Christopher Penn)
...
Julie
...
Grandma
...
Patch
...
Dickie
...
Tony Pine
J.C. Quinn ...
Boyd
...
Mary Sue
Jake Dengel ...
Lester
...
Tim
...
Aggie
...
Lucas
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf kurze Distanz  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,347,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sean Penn and Chris Penn who play brothers in this film, are brothers in real life. See more »

Goofs

Reflected in passenger-side window of truck when Brad, Sr. brings Terry to the motel. See more »

Quotes

Brad Whitewood Sr.: That's Tony Pine - he's epileptic.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Madonna: Celebration - The Video Collection (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Boogie Oogie Oogie
Written by Janice Marie Johnson (as Janis Johnson) and Perry Kibble (as Perry L. Kibble)
Performed by A Taste of Honey
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
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
Time Magazine 1979 keithjfro
How old is Brad Jr supposed to be? Sir-Psycho-Sexy
The opening sequence NiKoDay
David Strathairn.... corruptmatt
Discuss At Close Range (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?