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Living on the run for the past 15 years, the Pope family (l-r), Danny (RIVER PHOENIX), Annie (CHRISTINE LAHTI), Arthur (JUDD HIRSH) and Harry (JONAS ABRY), struggle to keep their family together in Warner Bros.' contemporary drama "Running on Empty."
- Production Information -
The Pope family is on the run again. Tomorrow it will be a new town, a new house, a new hair color, a new identity. For the Pope boys, 17-year-old Danny and 10-year-old Harry, it will be a new school, a new name and new friends. Yet this is the only life the boys have ever known. The Pope family has been living "underground" for 15 years.
Arthur (JUDD HIRSCH) and Annie Pope (CHRISTINE LAHTI) met at college in the turbulent '60s--a time of active social and political change, a time when young people felt strength in numbers and believed they had the power to change the world.
There was a growing antiwar outrage over U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and people weren't afraid to stand up for what they believed in. The Popes were a part of this movement, continuing their radical activities even after their marriage and starting a family.
When they and a group of friends bombed a government-funded napalm laboratory and unintentionally critically injured a janitor who was inside, the Popes found themselves on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. Knowing they would lose custody of their two-year-old son, Danny, if they surrendered to the authorities, the Popes became fugitives, living "underground" in order to keep the family together.
Fifteen years later, Danny (RIVER PHOENIX) is 17 and has a 10-year-old brother, Harry (JONAS ABRY). The Popes have sacrificed a "normal" life together for their political beliefs. Now, those beliefs have led them down a dead-end street.
But Danny sees a way to stop running. He has a chance to develop his skills as a talented musician and to develop a special relationship with Lorna (MARTHA PLIMPTON).
Danny has a choice--life on the run or life on his own. The first will keep a close, loving family together. The second gives Danny what he has never experienced--the freedom to make his own decisions.
Lorimar Film Entertainment presents a Double Play Production, starring Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch, Martha Plimpton and River Phoenix in "Running on Empty." Steven Hill also stars in the picture, which was directed by Sidney Lumet, produced by Amy Robinson and Griffin Dunne with Executive Producers Naomi Foner and Burtt Harris. The Warner Bros. release was edited by Andrew Mondshein; Production Designer was Philip Rosenberg; Director of Photography was Gerry Fisher, B.S.C.