7.7/10
12,155
93 user 43 critic

Running on Empty (1988)

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

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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:
Christine Lahti ... Annie Pope
River Phoenix ... Danny Pope
Judd Hirsch ... Arthur Pope
Jonas Abry Jonas Abry ... Harry Pope
Martha Plimpton ... Lorna Phillips
Ed Crowley 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 Sloane Shelton ... Mrs. Phillips
Justine Johnston Justine Johnston ... Librarian
Herb Lovelle ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Flucht ins Ungewisse See more »

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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 »
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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

In the sequence when Danny discovers the Fed's cars following him and he sends the dog with his shoe to get his brother Harry, a person's left arm can be seen in the open door of the porch and it quickly moves back behind the door. Possibly the dog's handler; it doesn't seem to be Harry waiting to come out since he would have had his props in hand and the arm's height and size gives the impression of a person larger than Harry. See more »

Quotes

Lorna: ...So, now that we've determined that I belong here, let's talk about 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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Really liked this one
26 May 2002 | by cathcacrSee all my reviews

Why this has an average rating of only 7.3 is beyond me. This is really darn good, maybe not a "masterpiece" as some of the other reviews have stated, but one of those criminally underrated and overlooked movies. And, heck, starring River Phoenix for crying out loud. Why had I never heard of it? Yeah, it's got a touch of cheesy '80s things about it (music, clothing, etc.) but I've learned to overlook that sort of thing if it's actually a good story. Take this and another coming-of-age movie, _This Boy's Life_ (starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio -- why hadn't I ever heard of that one either?), and you have a couple of the best great-but-underrated movies in recent memory. I'd love a good explanation for why this should only get a 7.3 out of 10, given the quality of a bunch of material with a higher average rating. (I thought 6.9 was the average rating here. This isn't even close to just average.) Compared to the body of Sidney Lumet's work, this has got to rank right up near the top, doesn't it?


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