Q & A (1990)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  27 April 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,673 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 »


Leo Bloomenfeld: [telling Al Reilly about Kevin Quinn] He's a prick. He's a racist and an anti-Semite and a prick. He wants to be Tom Dewey, and he will be. He married for politics and all he can see is way clear to God knows how high up. Years ago, when we still had executions in the state, he used to volunteer as a witness. Yeah, his first murder case, uhh he was a young A.D.A. then and I'm talking years ago... The case was shaky, circumstantial and he wanted a recommended death penalty from the jury. Before ...
See more »


Featured in Finding Forrester (2000) See more »


Written by Al Dubin and Joseph A. Burke
Performed by Tiny Tim
Courtesy of Reprise Records
Warner Bros. Music
A division of Warner Bros. Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

New York Confidential
17 November 2005 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

Guess the film from the following description of its characters. A young man investigating misdeeds in the police force, motivated by the memory of his father (a legendary policeman) but also by the pain of having lost the affections of a woman he loves to another player in the drama. A renegade cop, rampaging violently through the city, but revered on the force for standing up to the scum on the streets. And the renegade's boss, who protects him, partly because he himself is on old-school Irish policeman; but partly because he appreciates having his own private bag-man, especially in his dealings with organised crime. Throw in some prostitutes for a little background colour, and it sounds like a perfect description of 'L.A. Confidential'. But it also describes this tough and underrated movie made by Sidney Lumet some years before Curtis Hanson's film.

Whereas Hanson's film was stylised, and glamorised violence (provided the cause was just), Lumet has gone for a more realist approach, and his bad cop (played mesmerisingly by Nick Nolte) is completely rotten, in fact resembling Harvey Kietel's 'Bad Liutennant' in Abel Fererra's movie. The film is dated by its ghastly electronic soundtrack, and more interestingly by its portrait of New York at a time when the city was at its lowest ebb. But it's a very well assembled thriller, exploring issues of race, mixed loyalties and the meaning of good policing without flinching from a grim picture of life on the margins of law abiding society. Lumet has had a long career, but this is one of his better films, and ultimately more truthful than Hanson's stylish charade. Each are good, in their own way: why is only one so appreciated?

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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