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 »

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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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Technical Specs

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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

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

Quotes

Michael Colin Gallagher: Why aren't you married?
Megan Carter: How do you know I'm not?
Michael Colin Gallagher: I don't see a ring.
Megan Carter: Haven't you heard of women's lib?
Michael Colin Gallagher: Most of them are ugly.
Megan Carter: Is that supposed to be a compliment?
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Connections

Referenced in The Story Behind Absence of Malice (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Absence of Feeling
3 May 2003 | by (West Chester, Pa) – See all my reviews

This movie looks to have all the elements of a classic but somehow falls short. Unscrupulous prosecutor dupes reporter Field into creating (false) impression that businessman Newman was involved in a murder, in the hope that will somehow help his investigation. The lie has unexpected and tragic consequences, after which Newman turns the tables. Field is fine as liberated yet vulnerable thirty-something, Newman is also good if a little obscure in a difficult role; but Brimley as Asst US Attorney steals the show when he finally blows the whistle on everyone. Brimley's short time in this movie really is classic and Oscar-quality. The overall problem here is a little too much soapbox and not enough real emotion from nearly everyone.


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