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Physical Evidence (1989)

A police officer suspended and now accused of murder is forced to join forces with his court-appointed attorney to assemble the pieces of a deadly puzzle to find the missing link before time runs out.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Nicks
Deborah Quinn
Matt Farley
Harry Norton
Ken James ...
Hank Carruth
Michael P. Moran ...
Tony Reugger
Angelo Rizacos ...
Tony Sklar
Lamar Jackson ...
Delmar Fraser
Paul Hubbard ...
Burt Knight
Larry Reynolds ...
Trial Judge


Extortionist Jake Farley is found strangled, and the clues lead directly to former detective Joe Paris, who insists on his innocence but can't provide an alibi. Public defendant Jenny Hudson gets the case, but has problems unravelling the case, complicated by the fact that virtually everyone hated Farley, and Paris has a few enemies as well. She rejects the prosecution's offers to plea bargain, but meanwhile the witnesses she finds are discredited or silenced, and an unidentified patrol car shadows Paris and Hudson wherever they go. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A suspect. His lawyer. Between the evidence and the passion lies innocence or guilt. See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az igazság törvénye  »

Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)


$3,560,932 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cast member Ned Beatty, [prior to W.Germany Premiere], attended the most densely packed (UK non-Award), celebrity event 'Save the Rose Theatre' campaigns, public PR day, May 1989. Where he openly discussed his film characters & pending projects to both press and tourists. See more »


(at around 1h 27 mins) It is night when the cop brings food to the cruiser. But, seconds later it is clearly daytime. See more »


Jenny Hudson: [to Joe] Be nice, Mr. Paris. Your ass is in my hands.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

" Burt Reynolds is a hard, violent and corrupt policeman in this thrilling, cruel and realist film..."
18 March 1999 | by (Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil) – See all my reviews

A lot before " Payback ", with Mel Gibson, the cinema already showed violent and shocking stories in which the " hero " was, without a doubt, more evil than the bad guys! in those films it was impossible that the people who were watching it become indifferent to the intrigue, and therefore, these films won in the originality inquiry , exactly for showing the " heroes " without artifices, closer to the reality. In 1989, Michael Crichton directed an explosive and tense thriller, and he chose the star Burt Reynolds to interpret the main character... Perhaps Crichton didn't know, but the heavy, powerful and lowering presence of Reynolds helped to transform " Physical Evidence " in one of the best (and more violent) films of the gender, better than " Payback " or any other...with a hate and frustration glance , a cynic and bitter smile and his black and big mustache, Reynolds built one of the most complex and lowering characters of Hollywood's history. Joe Paris (Reynolds) is a hard cop, alcoholic and violent. A man who hates the world and the people in it.He doesn't get to control his temper and he is a true clock-bomb, an unexpected man who is capable to kill somebody at any second. When the body of a well-known boss of the crime is found with his throat cut, Paris becomes, in the eyes of the police, the main suspect, after all the criminal was an old enemy of Joe. Jenny, a public defender, decides to help him, she trusts this mysterious man and she tries to, at every cost, prove his innocence, and she finishes falling in love for him. Managing Michael Crichton builds an excellent film, with a good rhythm, always maintaining the exact dose of suspense and tension.As he had already shown in his other films, Crichton demonstrates that he knows how to ally a good plot with a cast at the same height and value. The scene in which Paris literally destroys some men who insult him is really frightening. He even threads a man's head through the window of the car. Paris is not, without a doubt, the good and nice cop that Bruce Willis interpret, on the contrary, Paris is a killing machine, a man who finds himself strange and full of rage! unlike the characters that Bruce Willis interprets, Joe Paris is revengeful, unfriendly, explosive and intolerant, that is to say, he is not afraid of anything: the death, in the vision of Paris, is a marked encounter for which he waits a long time. Paris is not afraid of death, he knows he has no limits, and he'll kill anyone who trespasses it. " Physical Evidence " is a dark and dramatic thriller. It seems the crime-drama films of the seventies. The movie explores the corrupt policemen's cruel and degrading routine: the prostitutes, the homosexuals, the criminals. In this film, the cops smell cocaine and they kill without pity. The streets are filmed as stages of betrayal and tragedies. In the middle of this treacherous sets "Physical Evidence " intrigue is developed. This is not a film for sensitive people. Reynolds, after his fascinating return in the masterpiece " Boogie Nights ", signed a contract with the television net TNT, owner of the best and largest studio for films made for television, and he offered to his fans of the whole world the same character type again. In " Hard Time ", Reynolds interprets a violent, dangerous and explosive policeman, but perhaps Joe Paris has been his most frightening and mysterious character, a man consumed by the drugs and the hate... Fascinating and violent, this film is a true masterpiece of the gender! watch it! Burt Reynolds once again gives an interpretation show and he demonstrates the reason why he is one of the most consecrated actors of Hollywood! and in this film he has the chance of exploring all his charisma, all his charm and talent. Unlike similar films, like " Die Hard ", a shot in " Physical Evidence " is more violent and shocking than each one of those films together, exactly because Reynolds' film explores the reality! in the films, when a thief is wounded, he falls down on the ground and he dies at once. In " Physical Evidence ", you are wounded, you fall and you die well slowly as it is in fact! intrigue, romance and action, all this is shown in this sad and dark film!it is sad the fact that the Academy didn't recognize the effort and the beauty of this work, and it is also sadder for this film not to have been seen a lot. But you have to discover this work! rent " Physical Evidence " and get ready to root for the bad guy! (and this time the bad guy isn't Mel Gibson - He is Burt Reynolds, the man who makes all the difference!)...

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