7.0/10
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58 user 28 critic

The Indian Runner (1991)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
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
Reviews
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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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although she plays a Mexican in the film, Valeria Golino is actually Italian/Greek. See more »

Goofs

After the chase scene near the end of the film between Joe in the police car and Frank in the Buick, Joe turns off the red police lights, then the car's headlamps and steps out of the car and stands next to it. In the final scene we see Joe still standing next to the police car but the car's headlamps have mysteriously come on again. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Roberts: [Talking to his baby grandson] Did you know your daddy grew vegetables Raphael? Your daddy was a farmer before he became a po-lice-man.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: 25 Years of Margaret & David (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

FRESH AIR
Written by Quicksilver Messenger Service (as Jesse Otis Farrow)
Performed by Quicksilver Messenger Service
Courtesy of Capitol Records Inc.
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
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User Reviews

 
Superb film should be a classic.
25 January 2003 | by mockturtleSee all my reviews

What word better describes this picture than `strong'? Strong characters, strong actors, strong directorial choices. Brilliant writing and a performance that told anyone who saw it that it was only a matter of time before Viggo Mortensen became a somewhat unwieldy household name. Everybody shines, everybody is used more intelligently than they were very often. Valeria Golino didn't have a part this good until `Frida,' Charles Bronson is given room to stretch, Patricia Arquette gives her best performance ever by far (doesn't she look a bit like Robin Wright in this film?), and David Morse is always excellent, I see that he directs TV from his bio, hopefully he'll try a feature soon. Just like `Jesus' Son' another film set around the 60's/70's split, if this film had been made in the time in which it is set it would have been a classic. As it is it hasn't even been released on DVD yet, which is embarrassing. I wasn't the biggest fan of `The Pledge' and actually didn't know that A) Sean Penn had a film like this in him, though I suspected, or that B) he made that film more than 10 years ago.

One false step was using someone giving birth for that scene. We know it isn't Patricia Arquette, it is unnerving to watch someone give birth even if you know them but especially when you have some random person splayed out in front of the camera. Immediately I was taken out of it, wondering who would volunteer to have a baby for a film. Oh, and you never ever really believe it's 1963.

Certain shots are eerily reminiscent of the haunted and empty America we see in Philip Ridley's `The Reflecting Skin,' a Viggo Mortensen film from the year before.

Greatest thing about the film is that it doesn't try too hard. With symbolism, with drama, it lets the people do their work and what happens is consistently interesting. It has a great soundtrack and more importantly music is used well within the film. The film is even more poignant considering that it come from the famously volatile, occasionally traditional occasionally misanthropic but always mercurial Penn.


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