A Vietnam vet comes home to his small town and finds himself in conflict with rules that his brother has vowed to uphold.

Director:

Sean Penn

Writer:

Sean Penn
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Morse ... Joe Roberts
Viggo Mortensen ... Frank Roberts
Valeria Golino ... Maria
Patricia Arquette ... Dorothy
Charles Bronson ... Mr. Roberts
Sandy Dennis ... Mrs. Roberts
Dennis Hopper ... Caesar
Jordan Rhodes ... Randall
Enzo Rossi Enzo Rossi ... Raffael
Harry Crews Harry Crews ... Mr. Baker
Eileen Ryan ... Mrs. Baker
Trevor Endicott Trevor Endicott ... 12-Years-Old Joe Roberts
Brandon Fleck Brandon Fleck ... 7-Years-Old Frank Roberts
Kathy Jensen Kathy Jensen ... Lady at Carwash
James Devney James Devney ... Deputy #1 (as Jim Devney)
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Storyline

An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love. Written by kwedgwood@hotmail.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The box office failure of this film caused its Japanese backers, NHK Enterprises, to cease getting involved in film production. See more »

Goofs

At about 40min when Joe and Maria have Mr. Roberts over for dinner the baby grabs and starts eating a piece of bread. As the scenes change the amount of bread eaten decreases and increases. See more »

Quotes

Joe: My brother Frank was due back from Vietnam within the week. We hadn't seen each other since I'd lost the farm in '65, and took the uniform job to make ends meet.
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Soundtracks

CABALLITO CHONTALENO
Written by Carmino Zapata
Performed by Grupos Rio Rojo
Courtesy of Aid to the Arts of Nicaragua
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User Reviews

 
An intelligent and seriously moving melodrama.
14 February 2001 | by mhasheiderSee all my reviews

A great melodrama in a small town during the seventies about two grown-up brothers; Joe (David Morse), is married and a deputy sheriff who seems to be highly devoted to his job. Frank (Viggo Mortensen), who is the younger one of the pair, comes back from Vietnam even though he has the habit of being a troublemaker.

Morse and Mortensen are nothing short of excellent in their performances and are backed up by a solid supporting cast (Valerina Gorlino, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Sandy Dennis, and Charles Bronson). Out of the bunch, Bronson is the one to watch here as the boys' quiet and solemn father and he treats it to perfection. In one scene, he tells Joe while they're sitting out on the porch that he was wrong about Joe marrying Maria (Gorlino), who is Mexican.

There another surprise that makes the film more compelling to watch is that it's the directing and writing debut of actor Sean Penn. The movie was inspired by the Bruce Springsteen song that's called "Highway Patrolman".

Anthony Richmond's cinematography is extroadinary and the musical score by the late Jack Nitzsche is very solid.

"The Indian Runner" presented a rare and very interesting question to me: "Why doesn't any movie director make a film that shows the two sides (bright and dark) of the director themself?"

In conclusion, this movie is intelligent and seriously moving. And it shows that Penn can write and direct beside act.


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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Indian Runner See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Nebraska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,047, 22 September 1991

Gross USA:

$191,125

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$191,125
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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