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 a 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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Waddell
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McAdam
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Davidek
Don Hood ...
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Arnie Ross ...
Eddie Frost
Phanie Napoli ...
Nickie (as Anna Marie Napoles)
Shelley Spurlock ...
Sarah Wylie
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Hood 1
Joe Petrullo ...
Hood 2
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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:

In America can a man be guilty until proven innocent? Suppose you picked up this morning's newspaper and your life was a front page headline... And everything they said was accurate... But none of it was true. 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:

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Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ausencia de malicia  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$64,775 (USA) (22 November 1981)

Gross:

$40,716,963 (USA)
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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

The movie re-teamed actors Melinda Dillon, Josef Sommer, and Bob Balaban who had appeared in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). See more »

Goofs

Gallagher brings a bottle of wine to Meg's apartment and it is seen on the counter. The next time it is seen, it has been rotated, and the next time it is seen, it has shifted position towards the end of the counter. See more »

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Now we'll talk all day if you want to. But, come sundown, there's gonna be two things true that ain't true now. One is that the United States Department of Justice is goin' to know what in the good Christ - e'scuse me, Angie - is goin' on around here. And the other's I'm gonna have somebody's ass in muh briefcase.
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Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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