6.9/10
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76 user 26 critic

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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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  »

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

Reportedly, screenwriter Kurt Luedtke sold the film's screenplay for US $250,000 to the Orion Pictures studio. The movie deal included a back-end of another US $100,000 and a profit share of the gross box office after the picture had broken even. Orion Pictures is not credited for the movie as it was not the studio that ended up making the picture despite it being developed there for a time. See more »

Goofs

When Teresa talks with Meg in the park, Teresa's cigarette jumps from her left to right hand. See more »

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna sit right here and talk about it. Now if you get tired of talking here, Mr. Marshal Elving Patrick there will hand you one of them subpoenas he's got stuck down in his pocket and we'll go downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury... Elliot? Jim?... Fine. All right, Elving, hand whichever one of these fellas you like a subpoena and we'll go on downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury.
District Attorney James A. Quinn: Gallagher's a government witness.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Wonderful thing, a ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Sydney Pollack (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Compelling
20 October 1998 | by (Iowa City, IA) – See all my reviews

There's really no other word for it. I find the whole of this movie compelling, from Sally Fields' naivete to Paul Newman's innocent who turns the tables on his prosecutors, to the various supporting characters who all have their little niche. The best of all is Wilford Brimley, who gets to chew scenery and totally steal the scene he's in. It's an intelligent drama, addressing a subject as relevant today as it was in '81, with just enough humor to leaven the whole thing.


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