7.7/10
12,160
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

The film takes place in 1987. 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: 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

Featured in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday To You
Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
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User Reviews

 
A Well-Acted, Powerful Story
24 May 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See 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.


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