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Absence of Malice (1981)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  18 December 1981 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 8,621 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 20 critic

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

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Title: Absence of Malice (1981)

Absence of Malice (1981) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Barry Primus ...
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John Harkins ...
Don Hood ...
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Arnie Ross ...
Phanie Napoli ...
Nickie (as Anna Marie Napoles)
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Joe Petrullo ...
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Storyline

Mike Gallagher is a Miami liquor wholesaler whose deceased father was a local mobster. The FBI organized crime task force has no evidence that he's involved with the mob but decide to pressure him perhaps revealing something - anything - about a murder they're sure was a mob hit. The let Megan Carter, a naive but well-meaning journalist, know he is being investigated and Gallagher's name is soon all over the newspaper. Gallagher has an iron-clad alibi for when the murder occurred but won't reveal it to protect his fragile friend Teresa. When Carter publishes her story, tragedy ensues. Needing to make amends, Carter tells Gallagher the source of the first story about him and he sets out to teach the FBI and the Federal Attorney a lesson. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The D.A., Feds and the police set her up to write the story that explodes his world. Now he's going to write the book on getting even. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ausencia de malicia  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$40,700,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's "Absence of Malice" title relates to matters of law where the truth of a story can be irrelevant. If there is no knowledge that a story is false, then the media are absent of malice. If the media have been reasonable and prudent in producing a story, then they are not negligent. As such, the media can say whatever they like about someone and the affected party can do the media no harm (i.e. is powerless to stop them). Democracy is served. See more »

Goofs

As Gallagher throws a newspaper on the table in the conference room, the position of one book relative to the other changes. See more »

Quotes

Michael Colin Gallagher: [tersely] I'm Michael Gallagher. I want to know where this story came from.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Newhart: Presence of Malice (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An important and great movie
5 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I did not feel too much the reservations some of your commentators had about the acting of Newman and Fields. I thought they were fine. But of course the importance of this film lies (as so many others pointed out) in its expose of the inner workings of our justice and journalistic systems and their ability to wreak havoc in the lives of ordinary defenseless citizens. I rather thought this movie a precursor of television's Law and Order for that reason. For me among the movie's many touching and beautiful moments the most poignant was the scene in which the soon-to-be-suicidal young friend of Newman's receives at dawn on her lawn the freshly delivered newspaper she'd been waiting all night for and reads with horror the "outing" of her abortion for all to read and proceeds to gather up all the copies of the newspaper thrown onto the neighbors' lawns so as to stave off her moment of shame and disgrace with all the co-religionist people who know her including her family. It reminded me of the scene in Rattigan's Separate Tables in which the middle-aged molester of young girls finds his exploits reported in a neighboring village's newspaper which has been delivered to his hotel. He then tries to cut out the revealing story before it can be delivered to its subscriber. But he too fails to suppress the news and has to suffer the consequences of publicity in his private life. Absence of Malice is a great and important movie


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Megan is a poor excuse for a reporter caladon
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