Emma is a divorced woman with a teen-aged son who moves into a small town and tries to make a go of a horse ranch. Murphy is the widowed town druggist who steers business her way. Things ... See full summary »
Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
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
In the film, Davidek, the newspaper's lawyer character, portrayed by John Harkins, explains the relevance of the film's "Absence of Malice" title. In a matter of law, the truth of a story can be irrelevant. If there is no knowledge that a story is false, then the media are absent of malice. If the media have been reasonable and prudent in producing a story, then they are not negligent. As such, the media can say whatever they like about someone and the affected party can do the media no harm (i.e. is powerless to stop them). Democracy is served. See more »
Megan sends Michael a note containing two spelling errors. It reads "Michael: This is tomorrow's page one - just in case you've cancelled your sibscription - I'm happy for you," yet is told she'd make a good editor. However, she isn't being considered as a copy editor (who proofreads written stories from spelling and grammar) but for position of one who assigns stories and makes key judgment calls. See more »
Clever script, excellent performances, and a wry sense of humor
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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