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The Onion Field (1979)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  24 April 1980 (Spain)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,049 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 13 critic

Greg Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Smith (aka Jimmy Youngblood), a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a ... See full summary »

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Title: The Onion Field (1979)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Det. Karl Francis Hettinger
...
Gregory Ulas Powell
Franklyn Seales ...
...
Det. Ian James Campbell
...
Det. Sgt. Pierce R. Brooks
David Huffman ...
Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin
...
Jailhouse lawyer
...
Helen Hettinger (as Diane Hull)
...
Chrissie Campbell
...
Greg's woman (as Beege Barkett)
...
Beat Cop
Le Tari ...
Emmanuel McFadden
Richard Venture ...
Det. Glenn Bates
...
Billy
Pat Corley ...
Jimmy's Lawyer #2
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Storyline

Greg Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Smith (aka Jimmy Youngblood), a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a pair of cops for broken brake-lights. Powell decides to kidnap the cops and Smith, as always, reluctantly goes along with Powell's crazy scheme. The group drives out to a deserted onion field in Bakersfield, California and one officer is shot while the other escapes. The remainder of the film explores the nature of the American justice system, as well as the devastating psychological effects of this event and the trial on the surviving officer. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

neo noir | trial | police | thief | robbery | See All (70) »

Taglines:

A True American Tragedy Captured on Film! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 April 1980 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Anthropokynigi sto Los Angeles  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two screen adaptations for director Harold Becker from a novel by Joseph Wambaugh. The second was The Black Marble (1980) the next year. See more »

Goofs

When Jimmy is seen watching television at Greg's house he is watching "General Hospital". This scene takes place in early March 1963 while "General Hospital" debuted April 1, 1963. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Boy piper: Yeah, I think I'll play the bagpipes as long as I live.
Chrissie Campbell: I think that's a lovely idea.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intrigruing, gripping, and emotionally entertaining!
18 April 2005 | by (WILMINGTON, NC) – See all my reviews

Fact-based movie are always interesting to me. I'm surprised this happened way before the Kennedy assassination. WOW! The true story about "The Onion Field" murder in California mysteriously got my interest for some strange reason. I quickly read the book when I was in college, and I imagined myself in 1963 when the horrible crime took place. When I got the chance to see the movie after 15 years, I was stoked, I was filled with wonder and awe, in what Campbell's partner(Officer John Hettinger) was going through. He has a wife, he has a family, DON'T THROW IT AWAY!, I said to myself. Only the baby's cry saved him from total destruction. John Savage played the role very well in this movie, and James Woods and the late Franklyn Seales(Dexter Stuffins on the 80's cult "Silver Spoons") did their parts well as Powell and Smith. I would like to give thanks for former LAPD Joseph Wambaugh for the book and his courage for doing such a thing. I wished this movie would get a Oscar for it. It was outstanding! 5 STARS!


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