7.7/10
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91 user 40 critic

Running on Empty (1988)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Music | 9 September 1988 (USA)
The eldest son of a fugitive family comes of age and wants to live a life of his own.

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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:
...
...
...
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
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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:

Die Flucht ins Ungewisse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,835,116 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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: [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 By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucky Star
Written by Madonna
Performed by Madonna
See more »

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User Reviews

 
River Phoenix at his best.
4 January 2000 | by (Newport Beach, California) – See all my reviews

The best reason to watch this film is of course the performance by River Phoenix, which now that he's dead, we will never know if he could have topped this. He was one of the youngest actors ever nominated for an Oscar. Another reason to watch the film is Christine Lahti from Chicago Hope who gives her best screen performance here. She won the Los Angeles Film Critic's award for Best Actress of 1988 and received a Golden Globe nomination but unfortunately she must have just missed when they announced who the five finalists were for the Oscar. She has two scenes in this film where she just tore my heart out, including one with Steven Hill from Law And Order who plays her father. The movie did get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and made many top ten lists, including Roger Ebert's. Although it wasn't a box office hit, I believe it will be remembered as one of Director Sidney Lumet's best films and certainly the best one to watch if you want to remember why the talented actor River Phoenix's death was so tragic.


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