At Close Range

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At Close Range
At close range poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Foley
Produced by Don Guest
Elliott Lewitt
Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan
Story by Elliott Lewitt
Nicholas Kazan
Music by Patrick Leonard
Cinematography Juan Ruiz Anchía
Edited by Howard E. Smith
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date
  • April 18, 1986 (1986-04-18)
Running time
111 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.5 million
Box office $2.3 million[1]

At Close Range is a 1986 American 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 Mary Stuart Masterson, Sean's brother Chris Penn, David Strathairn, Crispin Glover, Kiefer Sutherland, and Eileen Ryan (the Penns' real-life mother) in supporting roles. The film was critically acclaimed.[2]


Brad Whitewood Sr. is the leader of an organized crime family. One night, his estranged oldest son, Brad Jr., contacts him after a fight with his mother's boyfriend and stays with him at his home in Homeville, Pennsylvania. Eventually, he becomes involved with his father's criminal activities, and starts a gang with his half-brother, Tommy, the boys attempt a daring heist, which results in their arrest. All of them are bailed out except Brad Jr.

During Brad Jr.'s time in jail, another member of the gang receives a grand jury subpoena. Brad Sr. believes that they will inform on him, so he rapes Brad's girlfriend, Terry, as a warning. 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 and orders a hit against Brad Jr., who is seriously wounded, Terry is also killed. Brad Jr. threatens his father with a gun, intending to kill him, but decides that he wants Brad Sr. to "die every day for the rest of his life," and instead testifies against him in court. His father is sentenced to life in prison.




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


Critical reception[edit]

Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it 3½ (out of 4) stars.[3]

At Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a fresh score of 86% approval rating based on 21 reviews from critics.[4]

Box office[edit]

Despite the accolades and warm reviews, the film was not a box office success, it grossed a total of $2,347,000 at the North American box office during its theatrical run in 83 theaters, earning less than its production budget of $6.5 million.


See also[edit]


External links[edit]