Q & A (1990)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  27 April 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,672 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 32 critic

A young district attorney seeking to prove a case against a corrupt police detective encounters a former lover and her new protector, a crime boss who refuse to help him in this gritty ... See full summary »


(as Alan Smithee: television prints)


(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Michael Brennan
Asst. Dist. Atty. Aloysius 'Al' Francis Reilly
Roberto 'Bobby Tex' Texador
Kevin Quinn (Chief of Homicide)
Lee Richardson ...
Leo Bloomenfeld
Det. Luis Valentin (as Luis Guzman)
Det. Sam 'Chappie' Chapman (Homicide) (as Charles Dutton)
Nancy Bosch / Mrs. Bobby Texador
Roger Montalvo
International Chrysis ...
José Malpica
Larry Pesch / Vito / Lorenzo Franconi (as Dominick Chianese)
Nick Petrone (mob boss)
Preston Pearlstein
Gustavo Brens ...
Alfonse Segal
Martin E. Brens ...
Armand Segal


A young district attorney seeking to prove a case against a corrupt police detective encounters a former lover and her new protector, a crime boss who refuse to help him in this gritty crime film. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When the questions are dangerous, the answers can be deadly.


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tödliche Fragen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,207,891 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kevin Quinn's (Patrick O'Neal) wife Agnes is played by Cynthia O'Neal, Patrick O'Neal's real life wife. See more »


Chief Quinn asks ADA Reilly why he did not attend St. John's Law School. Hutton says his father didn't like the Jesuits. St. John's University is not a Jesuit institution. It is conducted by the Vincentians. See more »


Preston Pearlstein: [getting introduced with Bloomenfeld's friend] How do you do? I'm delighted!
Leo Bloomenfeld: That's it Perlstein! Don't spoil my appetite, we haven't eaten yet.
Preston Pearlstein: [laughing] what a character!
[laughing again, louder]
Leo Bloomenfeld: Look at that son of a bitch.
See more »


Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Jay Livingston Music/St. Angelo Music
See more »

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User Reviews

This is one &!(## X&^@+**#-ing tough movie.
30 March 2002 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

The last and least of Sidney Lumet's three stories of (more or less) innocents trying to uncover police corruption and blow the whistle on the guilty, and the only fictional story. There's nothing wrong with the acting of the principals. Nolte is brutish and tall in an over-the-top performance. (He always looks larger on screen than in person.) His New York accent, however, is clearly superimposed on an unregional Omaha set of phonemes. Jenny Lumet looks splendid but has the same problem with her accent, and her scenes are too long as part of a mixed-up romantic subplot that doesn't hold together well. Timothy Hutton has less of a notable problem with his speech, and he is really quite good as the innocent-looking but by no means weak investigating attorney. He even looks pretty Irish. O'Neal is the smoothly villainous and murderous head of the investigation, and a very good villain he is, as usual. Guzman and Dutton provide excellent supporting roles. And Armand Assante seems built for the part of the iron-eating PR drug dealer who has made the decision, a thoroughly rational one, to get out and live in the Caribbean sunshine. His body movements provide a language unto themselves, his smallest gestures are magnetic. They draw so much attention to themselves that they are almost the self-parody that they were in his hilarious spoof of detective movies. He's an exceptional actor.

The movie's plot, however, leaves a good deal to be desired. Its fictional skeleton shows through. You've never seen so much ethnicity on the screen before, and it's misplaced. It's easy enough to believe that racial insults are offhandedly traded among in-group members but difficult to believe that every conversational exchange, no matter how casual or intense, must include one. And at the very time when some of these barriers are beginning to weaken, judging from the rising rates of intermarriage. Serpico's story was relatively simple. Prince of the City far more complex and realistically tragic. This one is simply hard to follow as well as hard to believe. Boats turn into fireballs in unlikely ways, as they do in quickie action movies. Characters fly back and forth from San Juan to New York and some are killed and it's difficult to keep track of what's what and who's who. It isn't that Lumet has lost his touch.

When a character is shot in the neck, man does he bleed out. But the director is working with less compelling material here and in any case this kind of narrative is running out of steam. All of that notwithstanding, this is still a notch above most of the junk polluting the multiplex screens today.

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