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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 8,626 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 38 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)

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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
...
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

Although River Phoenix learned all the hand motions to the piano pieces his character performs in the movie, the audio was dubbed by a professional pianist. 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: Now, go out there and make a difference. Your mother and I tried. Don't let anyone tell you different.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday To You
Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the first film that made me cry
15 November 2004 | by (Arlington, MA) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie when it was first released on video and was astounded that it was not nominated for Best Picture over lesser fare like Working Girl. I was 14 at the time and the conclusion of the movie was the first time I ever cried while watching a film. It's been 16 years and only four other movies have had that affect on me (Shadowlands, Philadelphia, In America, Return of the King). Watching it with my wife tonight (her first time seeing it) and I still cried at the conclusion.

This movie, more than any other, even Stand By Me, makes me miss the adult actor that River Phoenix might have become. We have been lucky enough to see the fine actors that Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise have become, but River might have

surpassed them all. He most assuredly had the potential.

I have seen thousands of movies now, have devoted myself to watching every film by 100 great directors (even the horrible ones) and Sidney Lumet has rewarded me as I have re-watched such classics as Network, 12 Angry Men and Serpico, but this might be his best film. Christine Lahti's performance is letter on perfect and she should have won the Oscar (wasn't nominated). I am glad the Academy got the two most important nominations correct: River and the screenplay.

This is a perfect movie for teens as they can understand the growing pains that River's character is going through and a perfect movie for adults as well, as they can understand what is threatening to tear the family apart.


46 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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