6.9/10
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Absence of Malice (1981)

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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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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John Harkins ...
Don Hood ...
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Arnie Ross ...
Phanie Napoli ...
Nickie (as Anna Marie Napoles)
Shelley Spurlock ...
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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 have no evidence that he's involved with the mob but decide to pressure him into perhaps revealing something - anything - about a murder they're sure was a mob hit. They 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

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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 »

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Details

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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)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second of three collaborations of actor Wilford Brimley and director Sydney Pollack. The films are The Firm (1993), Absence of Malice (1981), and The Electric Horseman (1979). See more »

Goofs

Except for the character of James Quinn (Don Hood), all of the other attorneys and law enforcement people (played by, among others, Bob Balaban, Wilford Brimley, and Barry Primus) are clearly federal officers. Brimley's character also refers to Quinn at one point as having been appointed by the President. Yet Quinn is also told by Balaban's character that he is too involved in "local politics," and Quinn is consistently referred to as the "district attorney." A federally-appointed prosecutor, however, is always referred to as the "United States Attorney" while only state or county prosecutors are called a "district attorney." See more »

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: We can't have people go around leaking stuff for their own reasons. It ain't legal. And worse than that, by God it ain't right.
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Connections

Featured in The 58th Annual Academy Awards (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Clever script, excellent performances, and a wry sense of humor
29 March 2004 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

This one hit too close for comfort for critics and the news organizations for whom they work. Paul Newman gives one of his top 15 lifetime performances (and for him, that's excellent) as Tommy Gallagher, the owner of a shipping company in Florida. When the joint murder investigation by the federal and state authorities goes nowhere, D. A. Elliot Rosen (Bob Balaban) sets up reporter Sally Field with evidence seemingly linking Gallagher to the murder.

What follows is fast-paced, wry, and very well actor. Don't miss the chance to see the great Luther Adler in his last performance as Newman's mob-linked uncle.


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