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Racing with the Moon

4.0 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

RACING WITH THE MOON tells the story of small town pals, Henry "Hopper" Nash (Penn) and Nicky (Cage) enjoying their last boyish exploits before they enter the Marines during World War II. Henry begins a new romance, while Nicky gets himself into trouble and involves Henry and his new love interest. What ensues is the ultimate test of friendship.

Special Features

  • "The Story - The People" featurette
  • Making-of featurette
  • "The Story Goes On" featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage, John Karlen, Rutanya Alda
  • Directors: Richard Benjamin
  • Writers: Steve Kloves
  • Producers: Alain Bernheim, Art Levinson, John Kohn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2004
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00062IDGK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,281 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Racing with the Moon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deborah Earle on October 15, 2004
Format: DVD
Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, and intelligently beautiful Elizabeth McGovern shine in their early performances in Richard Benjamin's nostalgic look at youthful romances in World War II California.
It has always struck me as ironic that Vaughn Monroe's 1941 hit tune from which this film takes its title was never played during the course of the movie.
But the title does represent the fast-paced lives of two buddies headed for wartime service in the Marines, the pranks they pull, their train jumping, and the girls they encounter.
Sean Penn had one of his best roles as Henry ("Hopper") Nash, a small-town kid who works at a bowling alley and is forced to take piano lessons by his mother (Rutanya Alda). His friend Nicky (Nicholas Cage) has led a life defined by loss, as he has had to bury numerous relatives, including his parents.John Karlen was simple and straightforward as Nash's caring, gravedigger father.
The two young men live in a world that Norman Rockwell could have captured on canvas, which appears perfectly wholesome on the surface, complete with an irascible old man named Elmer (Al Hopen)who habitually whacks Henry with a cane. Presumably, the name "Elmer" was taken from the then-popular song, "Elmer's Tune". It has occured to me that the Italian shoe store owner may have been inspired by another popular Glenn Miller tune, "Papa Niccolini (The Happy Cobbler)".
As Henry acquaints himself with the beautiful newcomer to the town, Cady Winger (a role in which Elizabeth McGovern is mostly calm, serious, but pleasant) they have a magical moment playing "Heart and Soul" at the piano of an abandoned tap room.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie has been a long time favorite of mine though not available on DVD. The story is touching and a particulary poignant look at young men who were raised on patriotism and are headed off to war, a reality of which they know little.
The cinematography and actors make you long for young love and being caught in the rain and in more serious moments you feel the pain and peril of a illegal abortion and how cold and hard it is to dig a grave in Spring.
Elizabeth McGovern is hauntingly beautiful. Penn and Cage show the promise of talent we now consider legendary. On a telling note, Sean Penn's child shares the nickname of his character.
In contrast to another reviewer, I too see this film differently now then I did when I was younger. However, the "skin" and other adult themes added dimensions that expanded for me as I get older.
If you don't buy it at least rent it while you still can!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A beautifully shot & directed film by Richard Benjamin, RACING WITH THE MOON stars a young Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage and, in what has turned out to be a disappointingly rare occurrance, a perfectly cast Elizabeth McGovern as Penn's love interest.

Set in the WWII era, this is a coming-of-age flick with Penn & Cage playing out the string, as it were, prior to each joining the military for a stint fighting the Nazis. While I'm not a big fan of either Penn or Cage, this movie finds their performances disarmingly unaffected and sprinkled with the luminescent fairy dust we all knew once upon a time as youth.

Without giving away the whole story, Penn & McGovern fall for each other, leading (in a roundabout way) to a falling out for best friends Penn & Cage. Penn thinks McGovern the Rich Girl on the Hill - in truth, she's the daughter of the rich family's maid - and the ensuing confusion leads to a brief parting of the two young lovers who, once all the red tape is straightened out, fall back madly into love - just in time for Penn's (and Cage's) departure for boot camp. Penn & Cage bury their hatchets, too, as the realization hits them both that they may never see each other again once they head overseas.

Benjamin's airbrushed mid-20th Century Southern California only adds to the dreamlike quality of this movie; it is sweet without the sap; poignant without the mush. And McGovern turns in a beautiful performance as the template for every male teen's first love: Pretty - but not gorgeous; coy - but not teasingly so.

This movie probably serves best as a reminder to us all of what we once were: Young, innocent & in love - and one big step from having all that change. In RACING WITH THE MOON, the catalyst for the big change comes in the form of Penn & Cage's impending entry into the war - and a very uncertain adulthood.
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Format: VHS Tape
Although the superficial theme of this film is young love, the heart of the film is in the subtle ways that Henry (Sean Penn) tries to come to terms with the harsh realities of his impending military service. Henry knows that, in less than a year, he will probably be on some remote Pacific island, fighting one insane Japanese soldier after another to the death. While he has no idea of the horrors to come, he definitely feels a sense of impending doom.
The movie's most telling scene is after Callie (Elizabeth McGovern) is angred by Henry & Nicky (Nicolas Cage) when they make fun of their school's emergency preparedness drill. Callie takes Henry to a veteran's hospital, where she delivers library books to soldiers recovering from amputations (and likely worse). Henry is visibly scared at the sight of these guys, not much older than he is, who will now go through life with a new, horrific perspective.
After the visit, Henry becomes angry with Callie. He shows her - and the audience - that bravado DOES have a place in dealing with impending terror, and that there are many ways to look at the complexities of war. At the end of the film, when both boys jump on the train that may take them to their deaths, the resilience of the human spirit goes with them, and they impart some of their courage to those left standing at the station. A classic film, with a timely message.
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