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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 8,548 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)

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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
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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:

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur meets the contact in front of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, which was built on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1887 by immigrants from Eastern Europe. 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

Michael: Now, I have no right in telling this to you. It's dangerous for you and it's dangerous for them, but i'm sorry i just couldn't stop myself. You can do what you want to, you can tell your dad; anything, i don't care. I just needed you to know... I don't know what i'm doing, and i love you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of 1988 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh Pretty Woman
Written by Roy Orbison & Bill Dees
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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.


45 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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