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Running on Empty (1988)

 -  Crime | Drama | Music  -  9 September 1988 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,505 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 37 critic

The eldest son of a fugitive family comes of age and wants to live a life of his own.

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Title: Running on Empty (1988)

Running on Empty (1988) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Arthur Pope
Jonas Abry ...
Harry Pope
...
Ed Crowley ...
Mr. Phillips
L.M. Kit Carson ...
Gus Winant
...
Donald Patterson
Augusta Dabney ...
Abigail Patterson
...
Dr. Jonah Reiff
...
Contact at Eldridge St.
...
School Clerk
Sloane Shelton ...
Mrs. Phillips
Justine Johnston ...
Librarian
...
Hospital Clerk
Edit

Storyline

The Popes are a family who haven't been able to use their real identity for years. In the late sixties, the parents set a weapons lab afire in an effort to hinder the government's Vietnam war campaign. Ever since then, the Popes have been on the run with the authorities never far behind. Today, their eldest son wants a life of his own although he is aware that would mean that his parents would either get caught or he will never see them again. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1971, Arthur and Annie Pope blew up a napalm lab to protest the war... Ever since then they have been on the run from the FBI. They chose their lives. Now their son must choose his.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al filo del vacío  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,835,116 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Sidney Lumet writes in his book "Making Movies" about an argument between River Phoenix and writer Naomi Foner. A scene in the movie concerns the character played by Phoenix being interrupted while practicing a classical piano solo. In the script, when he is caught, he breaks into a jazz riff to cover his "embarrassment" at being caught doing something serious. Phoenix fought hard against this, feeling that his character would never be embarrassed about working at the piano. Lumet was so impressed by the point Phoenix made, he shot the scene the way Phoenix wanted it. See more »

Goofs

When Arthur returns home drunk one night, he stumbles backwards, falls and shatters the living room table. A short while later he is shown sitting next to the intact table when Danny comes home from being with Lorna. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Pope: [Last Lines] Get the bike out of the back.
[pause]
Arthur Pope: Now, get on it.
Michael: What are you talking about, dad...
Arthur Pope: Get on the bike. You're on your own, kid. I want you to go to Juilliard.
Michael: But, dad, I want to go with you.
Arthur Pope: We'll see you again. You can be sure.
[pause]
Arthur Pope: Your mother has arranged things with your grandfather, alright- call him. And I think you have some friend's around here.
Annie Pope: I love you, baby.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucky Star
Written by Madonna
Performed by Madonna
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User Reviews

 
A Well-Acted, Powerful Story
24 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I thought this was a powerful movie about '60s radicals on the lam for 14 years and a crisis that develops when the family's 17-year-old son is talented enough to enter Juliard School Of Music which means , because of identity problems, they may never see him again. Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti play the husband and wife and River Phoenix and Jonas Abry are their kids.

There is excellent acting in this film and particularly by young Phoenix. The story shows us a good portrait of what it must be like to live in hiding. Politically, people will view this movie as they think (conservative or liberal) because it could be viewed a number of ways.

To me, it showed the worst of what could have happened to young people in the '60s who believed they were doing the right thing but broke the law....and paid the consequence. The sad part, as this shows so vividly, is how it affects the rest of the family and others. I think the most powerful scene in the film is when Lahti meets her dad after 14 years in hiding: very, very emotional stuff and one of the most intense short talking scenes I've ever seen on film.


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

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