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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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

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

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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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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This picture has often been considered as being the thematic opposite or reverse of All the President's Men (1976). 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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How to outsmart a covey of smartasses
13 August 2001 | by (Broken Bow, Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

Mighty good drama depicting corruption in the justice department intending, on the surface, to solve a crime, but, beneath the waters, to further political careers. Sally Field played the self centered, self deluded reporter perfectly against Newman's confused, angry victim. Worth seeing.


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