Running on empty

United States, 1988

Film
Please note

Sorry, we aren't able to make images or video for this item available to the public online.

An absorbing film about a pair of anti-Vietnam activists (Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti) who have been in hiding from the FBI for over fifteen years. Still committed to their radical ideals, the couple have to face a crisis of conscience when their talented oldest son (River Phoenix) begins to dream about attending music college and leaving behind his life on the run. This under-rated film is an extremely clear-headed portrayal of how the the politics of the Vietnam era still affects the social relationships of contemporary America. One of the most remarkable features of this film is the compassionate tone it extends across the generations. This complex and intelligent film is a film that refuses the easy revisionist moralism of Kasdan’s “The Big Chill”. Made in a decade notable for computer generated whimsy, this very adult Hollywood film is a treasure.

Content notification

Our collection comprises over 40,000 moving image works, acquired and catalogued between the 1940s and early 2000s. As a result, some items may reflect outdated, offensive and possibly harmful views and opinions. ACMI is working to identify and redress such usages.

Learn more about our collection and our collection policy here. If you come across harmful content on our website that you would like to report, let us know.

How to watch

Stream, rent or buy via Just Watch Logo

Collection

In ACMI's collection

Credits

director

Sidney Lumet

co-producer

Amy Robinson

Griffin Dunne

production company

Lorimar Film Entertainment

Duration

01:53:00:00

Production places
United States
Production dates
1988

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/83141--running-on-empty/ |title=Running on empty |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=3 March 2024 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}