At Close Range is a 1986 crime drama film directed by James Foley, based on the real life rural Pennsylvania crime family led by Bruce Johnston, Sr. which operated during the 1960s and 1970s. It stars Sean Penn and Christopher Walken, with Chris PennMary Stuart Masterson, and Crispin Glover in supporting roles.


 [hide*1 Plot summary

Plot summary[edit]Edit

Brad Whitewood, Sr. (Walken) is the leader of an organized crime family. One night, his estranged oldest son, Brad, Jr. (Sean Penn), contacts him after a fight with his mother's boyfriend and stays with him at his home in Hulmeville, Pennsylvania. Eventually, he becomes involved with his father's criminal activities, and starts a gang with his half-brother, Tommy (Chris Penn). The boys attempt a daring heist, which results in their arrest. Their father believes that his sons will inform on him, so he rapes Brad's girlfriend, Terry (Masterson), as a warning.

The attack has the opposite effect as Brad, Jr. begins informing the authorities about his father's activities. Brad, Sr. feels his only recourse is to eliminate every witness that can connect him with his sons and their gang. He kills Tommy himself, but orders a hit against Brad, Jr. and Terry, who is killed. Brad, Jr. threatens his father with a gun, but decides that he wants Brad, Sr. to "die every day for the rest of his life," and instead testifies against him in court.




The movie, while depicting incidents in Chester County and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was actually filmed on location in Franklin, Tennessee and Spring Hill, Tennessee.


The film grossed a total of $2,347,000 at the North American box office during its theatrical run in 83 theaters.

Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ (out of 4) stars.[2]

UCLA professor Peter Reiher said this about the film: "At Close Range isn't particularly good entertainment, nor is it moving, nor instructive, except for incipient cinematographers and directors. A good story has gone to waste, and there is no need for most people to bother checking out the obscured virtues of the film. Those who have never understood what 'overdirected' means might want to see At Close Range, if they really want to fill this minor gap in their film knowledge." [3]

At Rotten Tomatoes, 84% of critics considered the film positively.

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