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Running on Empty (1988)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Music  |  9 September 1988 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 9,063 users  
Reviews: 83 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:
...
...
...
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

The bombing that the Popes had carried out is loosely based on the August 24, 1970 bombing of Sterling Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wisconsin during the height of the Vietnam protest era. 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

Lorna: You are certifiable! What is this? Some sort of smart-ass joke? You're taking cooking?
Michael: I want to learn how to cook.
Lorna: Yeah, right. You have some burning desire to learn how to make apple brown betty...
Michael: What are you doing here if you think so highly of it?
Lorna: Well, they wouldn't let me take auto mechanics, and I didn't have time to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dog the Bounty Hunter: Running on Empty (2006) 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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