Racing With the Moon (1984)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Racing With the Moon Videos

Racing With the Moon Photos

Movie Info

Sean Penn graduated to full stardom with the 1984 drama Racing with the Moon, even though the film itself hardly set new box office records. Set in the early years of World War II, the film stars Penn as a small-town teen-aged hotshot, six weeks away from being shipped out to fight overseas. In the meantime, Penn begins to date Elizabeth McGovern, whom he assumes is from a wealthy family. Penn's pal Nicolas Cage, who's gotten his girlfriend Suzanne Adkinson pregnant, imposes upon Penn to hit up McGovern for the abortion money. That's when Penn discovers that the girl barely has a penny to her name. Convinced that Penn cared for her only when he thought she was rich, McGovern walks out on him, but later teams up with Penn to help the unfortunate Adkinson. The plot is pure James Dean, a fact not lost on fans who regarded Sean Penn as the second coming of Dean. A very slight piece, Racing With the Moon is buoyed by the engaging performances of the stars, and by director Richard Benjamin's meticulous attention to period detail-especially in those peerless bowling-alley and skating-rink sequences.
PG (adult situations/language, nudity)
Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video


Sean Penn
as Henry 'Hopper' Nash
Nicolas Cage
as Nicky / Bud
Elizabeth McGovern
as Caddie Winger
John Karlen
as Mr. Nash
Rutanya Alda
as Mrs. Nash
Max Showalter
as Mr. Arthur
Suzanne Adkinson
as Sally Kaiser
Crispin Glover
as Gatsby Boy
Barbara Howard
as Gatsby Girl
Dominic Nardini
as Soldier with Annie
John Brandon
as Mr. Kaiser
Eve Brent Ashe
as Mrs. Kaiser
Arlin Miller
as Minister
Shawn Schepps
as Gretchen
Patricia Allison
as Mrs. Spangler
Al Hopson
as Elmer
Ted Grossman
as Skating Soldier
Dominick Nardini
as Soldier with Annie
Scott McGinnis
as Michael
Sue Allen
as Singer
Brian Trumbull
as Kid in Skating Rink
Kate Williamson
as Mrs. Winger
Julie Philips
as Alice Donnelly
Fielding Greaves
as Mr. Donnelly
Arnold Johnson
as Tattoo Artist
Kevin Fraser
as Marine
Gerry Gibson
as High School Principal
Page Hannah
as High School Girl
Jonathan Charles Fox
as Arnold Billings
Dana Carvey
as Baby Face
Victor Rendina
as Mr. Luzzato
Rebecca Pollack
as Girl in Bowling Alley
Victor Paul
as Pool Hall Barman
Lou Butera
as Pool Player
Phil Adams
as Bill's Shipmate
Chuck Picerni Jr.
as Bill's Shipmate
Phillip Romano
as Bill's Shipmate
Carol Kane
as Annie
Jan Rabson
as Sailor
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Racing With the Moon

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Very little seems to happen in this social vacuum, and none of it is memorable.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's easy to end a movie with 'I love you,' but it's hard to get there honestly.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An exceptionally appealing movie about subjects you may think you've already had enough of -- growing up, first love and the shouldering of arms and other responsibilities.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

I don't care for Benjamin's way of using death to validate his sentimental themes, but at this point any American movie that can get past the 'I love you's without audience snickers has to be counted a success.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Racing With the Moon

Oh Christ, she's a Gatsby. In 1942 California, life is pretty simple and heading into the military and heading to war is fairly ordinary. Two best friends live out their last summer before leaving to become men. They fall in love with two local girls and their future after the military becomes a little clearer and they'll have reason for hope. "I wonder what it would be like to be like you sometimes." Richard Benjamin, director of Milk Money, My Stepmother is an Alien, Mermaids, Marci X, City Heat, The Money Pit, Downtown, and Tourist Trap, delivers Racing with the Moon. The storyline for this picture is interesting and fun to watch unfold. It is far from an epic like Stand by Me or Goonies, but it is well done. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Elizabeth McGovern, John Karlen, and Rutanya Alda. "Drinking makes your brain go soft." I came across this Sean Penn movie on Netflix and decided to give it a shot. This was entertaining and I enjoyed it for the most part. I did think it was straightforward and worth a viewing but I wouldn't add it to my DVD collection. "One piece of brown pie coming up." Grade: C+

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Everyone tries hard, but the movie is essentially superficial and has difficulty sustaining interest.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

I need to watch this movie again, I barely remember it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Discussion Forum

Discuss Racing With the Moon on our Movie forum!

News & Features