Running on Empty is an American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet. Running on Empty 1988 film written by Naomi Foner and starring River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and Martha Plimpton was produced by Lorimar Film Entertainment. It’s the story of a counterculture couple on the run from the FBI and how one of their sons begins to break out of this fugitive lifestyle. The film was nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture Drama and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. For this film, Plimpton was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture. In a backstage interview during the 61st Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon on March 21, 1989, Phoenix expressed his desire to make a sequel to the film. Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Danny Pope in the film; Naomi Foner was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Phoenix was nominated for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes; Lahti was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.
A Family on the Run
The Plot Unveiled: Running on Empty Movie 1988
Annie and Arthur Pope’s parents go on the run because they are responsible for the 1971 anti-war protest bombing of a napalm laboratory. This incident accidentally blinds and paralyzes a watchman. They have been on the run ever since, relying on an underground network of supporters to finance them. Their son Danny was two years old at the time of the incident. As the film opens, he is a teenager and the family, now with a young son Harry, relocates again and creates new identities.
Danny’s immense talent as a pianist attracts the attention of his music teacher at school. The teacher begins to pry into Danny’s personal life, specifically questioning why his previous school records are inaccessible. When he encourages Danny to audition for Juilliard, Danny also falls in love with Lorna, the teacher’s teenage daughter.
As pressure mounts to live his life and achieve his dreams, Danny reveals his family secret to Lorna. Meanwhile, Annie finds out about Danny’s audition and begins to accept the fact that she has to let her son go and find his own way. This doesn’t sit well with Arthur, even if Annie decides to contact her estranged father and leave Danny behind to arrange a home and life for her, risking her own safety.
When Arthur hears on the radio that one of his underground colleagues has been shot dead, he realizes that it is better for his son to follow his dreams than live a dangerous life on the run from crime, with Danny taking no responsibility. The family leaves Danny behind and sets off to find their next identity in a new town.
Cast with Details.
Running on Empty” is a heartfelt movie that brings to life the gripping tale of the Pope family, played brilliantly by an exceptional cast. River Phoenix shines as Danny Pope, portraying the inner conflict of a young man torn between loyalty to his family and the desire for a normal life. Christine Lahti’s performance as Annie Pope beautifully captures the essence of a mother grappling with her love for her children and her past ideals. Judd Hirsch as Arthur Pope, Jonas Abry as Harry Pope, and the supporting cast, including Martha Plimpton, Ed Crowley, Steven Hill, Augusta Dabney, L. M. Kit Carson, David Margulies, Lynne Thigpen, Marcia Jean Kurtz, and Sloane Shelton, all contribute to the film’s emotional depth and cinematic brilliance. This timeless classic explores themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption, making it a must-watch for anyone seeking a powerful and thought-provoking cinematic experience. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss the chance to access this remarkable movie here.
|Lorimar Film Entertainment
|September 9, 1988
Is the movie Running on Empty a true story?
No, the movie “Running on Empty” is not a true story; it is a work of fiction.
What is the movie running on empty about?
The movie “Running on Empty” is about a family living in constant hiding because the parents are fugitives from the law due to their involvement in anti-Vietnam War protests during the 1970s. The film explores the challenges they face in maintaining a semblance of a normal life while evading law enforcement.
What happens at the end of Running on Empty?
At the end of the movie “Running on Empty,” Danny Pope (played by River Phoenix) decides to leave his family and pursue a more conventional life. He does this to follow his dreams and aspirations, despite the emotional struggles associated with leaving his activist family behind. The film ends with Danny’s departure and the family continuing their life in hiding, symbolizing the sacrifices made for individual pursuits and the ongoing challenges they face.