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 »
Lenny Brown moves to California to find his fortune in tax shelter investments. When the federal government changes the tax laws, poor Lenny finds himself $700,000 in hock with nowhere to ... See full summary »
This movie is an account of US Navy Commander James Stockdale's 8 year imprisonment in North Vietnam. During his confinement in such camps as the infamous "Hanoi Hilton", Stockdale, among ... See full summary »
Three black revolutionaries gun down two New York City police officers. The subsequent investigation puts a white assistant DA and a black police detective on the trail of the killers that ... See full summary »
A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 military dictatorship, including the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. He forms an... See full summary »
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>
This movie was made and released about six years after its source novel of the same name by Joseph Wambaugh was first published in 1973. Wambaugh wrote the screenplay as he would do the next year for his The Black Marble (1980). 'The Onion Field' was Wambaugh's third book. See more »
Just before Powell's arrest on March 9, 1963, he is shown driving on a road marked with "Botts Dots". The lane markers were not used statewide until September 1966. See more »
Det. Sgt. Pierce R. Brooks:
Has your conscience ever bothered you? Like feeling - guilty?
Mr. Brooks... I believe... I think that is something that rich white guys dreamed up to keep guys like me down. I honestly don't believe there is such a thing... such a feeling. Guilty? That's just something the Man says in court when your luck runs out.
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Ted Danson usually is found jokin' and schmoozin' in sit-coms. But there's no jokin' or schmoozin' in this movie. Here, Mr. Danson plays a police officer who is brutally murdered by two no-account thugs while his partner, completely terrified, looks on and does nothing and then is methodically hunted and only by sheer luck escapes. Remember, the two thugs actually kidnap and terrorize not two hapless civilians, but two police officers armed with their weapons. The message of this movie to me is clear: if this can happen to two police officers, it can happen to anyone, so beware. This is a powerful movie, not only because of the story, which is intense and provocative, but also because of the acting, which offers chilling portrayals of two psychopathic criminals who offer no apologies for their wanton and heinous acts and of an emotionally shattered police officer who is experiencing a nervous breakdown secondary to post-traumatic stress exacerbated by his overwhelming feelings of guilt over having done nothing to save his partner's life. This movie also shows how the criminal justice system reduces this act of terrorism to the level of being just another case as the case drags on for years in the courts. Indeed, the tragedy and terror of the event soon becomes eclipsed by the sheer mountain of legal paperwork it generates in the courts. This is a great movie which is based on an excellent book, which in turn is based on an actual event.
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