7.7/10
12,602
96 user 44 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.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Naomi Foner

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Dogfight (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Before leaving to fight in Vietnam, a group of teenagers play a game where they try to seduce the ugliest girl they can find.

Director: Nancy Savoca
Stars: River Phoenix, Lili Taylor, Richard Panebianco
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo
Little Nikita (1988)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An F.B.I. Agent works to uncover an All-American family as Soviet sleeper Agents, and gets caught up in friendship with their unaware son.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Richard Jenkins
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A group of newcomers to the country music business seek love and stardom.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: River Phoenix, Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An inventor spurns his city life to move his family into the jungles of Central America to make a utopia.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A charming womanizer has to find a way to get $80 to elope to Hawaii with his one true love, or else go to his father's chosen business school.

Director: William Richert
Stars: River Phoenix, Ann Magnuson, Meredith Salenger
Dark Blood (2012)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for ... See full summary »

Director: George Sluizer
Stars: River Phoenix, Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce
Silent Tongue (1993)
Drama | Horror | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Mad with grief after the death of his Kiowa wife, Talbot awaits death under a tree with her body beside him. She begins to haunt him because he won't burn her. His father, who bought him the wife, thinks her sister might reason with him.

Director: Sam Shepard
Stars: Alan Bates, Richard Harris, River Phoenix
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach, Richard Foronjy
Daniel (1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Joey owns a pizza parlor, and is married to Rosalie. He's also a serial womanizer. Rosalie goes to extremes when she finds he has been cheating.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, William Hurt
Stand by Me (1986)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine Lahti ... Annie Pope
River Phoenix ... Danny Pope
Judd Hirsch ... Arthur Pope
Jonas Abry Jonas Abry ... Harry Pope
Martha Plimpton ... Lorna Phillips
Ed Crowley ... Mr. Phillips
L.M. Kit Carson ... Gus Winant
Steven Hill ... Donald Patterson
Augusta Dabney Augusta Dabney ... Abigail Patterson
David Margulies ... Dr. Jonah Reiff
Lynne Thigpen ... Contact at Eldridge St.
Marcia Jean Kurtz ... School Clerk
Sloane Shelton ... Mrs. Phillips
Justine Johnston Justine Johnston ... Librarian
Herb Lovelle ... 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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Flucht ins Ungewisse See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,835,116
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Harry Pope was born in 1977. 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: Aren't we supposed to question authority? You taught me that! Who do you think you are, General Patton?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Suburgatory: No Me Gusta, Mami (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire And Rain
Written by James Taylor
Performed by James Taylor
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Sensitive, Touching Film
29 January 2000 | by jjh6519See all my reviews

Possibly the finest and most underappreciated film by Sidney Lumet, this movie has moments which grab you by the throat -- they are so powerful. The cast, which is outstanding (Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and River Phoenix in particular), is part of the reason for its power. The characters are totally convincing. The young man played by River Phoenix is someone we must sympathize with: his dilemma is a lifelong choice between never seeing his loved ones again or continuing to grow as a very talented pianist. The choice is agonizing, and the ending is sure to bring tears to many eyes of people who are part of a close-knit family. One scene is particularly powerful and makes me tear up every time I watch it: The luncheon meeting between Annie, the mother (Christine Lahti) and her father, played by Steven Hill. The dialog during this scene is so convincing, and the acting is perfect. But River Phoenix is the main reason to see this beautiful film, and this simply underscores the tragedy of his death at an early age. He had already proved he was a talent of considerable promise with in Stand By Me and in Mosquito Coast. I fully recommend this film to all thinking people with feelings about the inevitable conflict between family and individuality. This is a small film -- what I call "a little gem" -- most of which are small budget films with great acting and centered around the subjects of families and their values. Also see Crossing Delancey, another "little gem".


41 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 96 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed