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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 8,668 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

As they stop at a gas station on the run from authorities, one of the characters is shown removing a Delaware license plate from the front of the gray van. Delaware has never issued nor required front-mounted plates. See more »

Quotes

Lorna: You're certifiable. You're welcome!
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Fire And Rain
Written by James Taylor
Performed by James Taylor
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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.


19 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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