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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 8,505 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

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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:

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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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First screenplay of writer and former reporter Kurt Luedtke. Luedtke was formerly part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team who worked on a Detroit newspaper. Luedtke, a veteran newspaperman, based Michael Gallagher (played by Paul Newman), the protagonist of this film, on the real-life son of a reputed mobster in Detroit. The alleged gangster was tried and convicted of labor-related extortion. At his retrial, potential jurors were asked if they had seen this movie so as to determine if they would be prejudiced in their evaluation of the evidence. Ultimately, the man and his partner were both convicted and sent to jail. See more »

Goofs

On the boat, Meg tucks the strap of her bag under her lapel. In the next shot, it is over her lapel. See more »

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: What'd you figure you'd do after government service, Elliott?
Elliott Rosen: I'm not quitting.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: You ain't no Presidential appointee, Elliott. One that hired you is me. You got thirty days.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Fourth Estate on trial
23 February 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Paul Newman and Sally Field, though somewhat opposites both in their roles as Michael Colin Gallagher and Megan Carter respectively and in real Hollywood life, mesh and make believable lovers. Megan tells Michael that she is 30 something and doesn't need courting to play in the hay. Michael retorts, "Maybe I do," and drives away. Megan winds up somewhat of a failure both as a newspaper hound and as a liberated female. Then along comes Wilford Brimley in a bit part and runs away with the show. That's saying a lot since the well chosen cast gives it all they've got including ace jobs by Bob Balaban and Melinda Dillon.

The essence of the film is "What is the nature of truth?" What we read in the paper ain't necessarily so. Jibes are poked at bureaucrats too who certainly have problems determining what is truth. As long as the paperwork looks good then so goes the world. With the Horatio Alger success formula still around in the world of big government and big business, empire builders are a dime a dozen. Usually their asses are saved by cover ups and fall guys. In "Absence of Malice" the innocent victim outsmarts the bureaucrats and the Fourth Estate to bring the house of cards down, certainly an anomaly in the 21th century as it was in 1981, maybe even more so.

Admittedly, the film becomes too preachy at times which not only grates on the nerves but also slows the picture down. Yet the well-written script and Sydney Pollack's knowing direction keep it from becoming a total disaster. Not on the level of Pollack's previous "Three Days of the Condor" or his next feature "Tootsie," "Absence of Malice" still packs a wallop.


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Megan is a poor excuse for a reporter caladon
Wilford Brimley was great bstar56
6.8? azumahh
Where did the movie take place? motyka
viewability? deaston
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