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Running on Empty (1988)

 -  Crime | Drama | Music  -  9 September 1988 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,190 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 36 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 7.6/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Running on Empty  »

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

Michael: So, what are you doing over the summer?
Lorna: I have a job pumping gas.
Michael: You finally got the Supreme Court to hear your case, huh?
Lorna: Yeah.
See more »

Connections

References The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire And Rain
Written by James Taylor
Performed by James Taylor
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User Reviews

 
A joy to watch, every time.
7 September 2002 | by (Oregon) – See all my reviews

I have dozens of movies on videotape, but if I could only keep one, Running on Empty would be it. I've lost count how many times I've watched it. It works on every level. Emotionally, you cannot help caring about the characters, all of them. The premise, living "underground" in ordinary American suburbia, is brilliant and instantly engaging. The story, coming of age on the lam, flows effortlessly, with hardly a slow spot, and keeps me engaged, even after umpteen viewings. The romance, of love and loss and dedication, brings a tear every time, even just thinking about the birthday party as I write this.

Plus -- I was a 'red diaper baby' who became a conservative republican 35 years ago, and this film touches every button of my past. A lot of those reds were, in person, truly decent people, just a bit deranged and extremely delusional and dogmatic, all of which Judd Hirsch conveys with perfect pitch. No special FX, pretty tame action (mostly involving music and dancing), only six main characters, but a great entertaining and inspirational film.

Rated 9.9 out of 10, in case something better ever comes along.

P.S. I just got the DVD. Even better than the tape. Elsewhere I have read complaints about its technical quality, but I can see nothing wrong with it.


41 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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