6.4/10
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True Confessions (1981)

A worldly ambitious monsignor clashes with his older brother, a cynical Los Angeles homicide detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a young prostitute.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Father Des Spellacy (as Robert DeNiro)
...
...
Jack Amsterdam
...
Frank Crotty
...
Dan T. Campion
...
Cardinal Danaher
...
Msgr. Seamus Fargo
Rose Gregorio ...
Brenda Samuels
...
...
Mrs. Fazenda
Thomas Hill ...
Mr. Fazenda (as Tom Hill)
...
Mrs. Spellacy
Jorge Cervera Jr. ...
Eduardo Duarte
Susan Myers ...
Bride
...
Whore
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Storyline

De Niro (a Catholic Priest) and Duvall (a Homicide Detective) play brothers drawn together after many years apart, in the aftermath of the brutal murder of a young prostitute. Written by Grant Hamilton <n9431210@scholar.nepean.uws.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Confesiones verdaderas  »

Box Office

Gross:

$10,200,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Real life historical 1940s Los Angeles locations used in the film included various LA churches, Echo Park, Union Station, Olvera Street, the Biltmore Hotel and Chinatown. See more »

Goofs

When Tom is on the phone with the psychic, he repeats that she's from Guin, Alabama. He pronounces it "GOO-in," when the name of the town is actually pronounced "gween" or, less commonly, "gu-WEEN." See more »

Quotes

Tom Spellacy: [Feeling a twinge of conscience after slapping Brenda] I'm sorry about that.
[after a pause]
Tom Spellacy: Okay?
[after another pause]
Tom Spellacy: You know my temper.
Brenda Samuels: I need you like I need another fuck.
See more »

Connections

References Elephant Boy (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Memories of You
Music by Eubie Blake (uncredited)
Lyrics by Andy Razaf (uncredited)
Performed by Benny Goodman
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A heartbreaking classic
13 February 2003 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

One of the most underrated films of the past 25 years, "True Confessions" is worth repeated viewings. On the surface it's a period piece about a corrupt Los Angeles where sex, money, the police, and the Catholic church all mingle. While at first glance, the film is as lurid as "L.A. Confidential," beneath the surface it is a memorable love story, a story of two brothers, one a detective and one a ranking member of the Church hierarchy.

The brothers are played by Robert Duvall and Robert DeNiro, in performances that will linger in your mind forever. The silent moments between these two brothers resound louder than the dialogue. There's one heartbreaking scene in a bar where their inability to communicate despite their love for one another captures all of the complexities of sibling relationships. I have no idea who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1984, but whoever it was could not have been better than the two Roberts are here.

In supporting roles Kenneth McMillan and Charles Durning also shine, one as a corrupt cop and the other as a corrupt businessman. In fact, I would have loved to see a remake of this film with the two pairs of actors trading roles: DeNiro for Duvall and McMillan for Durning. That film would have been different but arguably as great.

The final scene of the film is punctuated by the perfect sound track. So a great big tip of the hat to all responsible: John Gregory Dunne for the script, Ulu Grosbard for the wonderful direction that allows for those memorable silences, and, of course, a miraculous cast of fine performers working at the height of their art. Don't miss this film.


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