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True Crime (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  19 March 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 24,085 users   Metascore: 65/100
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Can an over-the-hill journalist uncover the evidence that can prove a death row inmate's innocence just hours before his execution?



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: True Crime (1999)

True Crime (1999) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Everett (as Francesca Fisher-Eastwood)


Steve Everett, Oakland Tribune journalist with a passion for women and alcohol, is given the coverage of the upcoming execution of murderer Frank Beachum. His attractive colleague Michelle died in a car accident the night before. Bob Findley, Steve's boss and husband to Steve's current affair, wants him dead and gone as soon as possible. When Steve stumbles across the possibility of Frank Beachum being innocently on death row, Bob feels his time to have come. Now Steve only has a few hours left to prove the innocence of Frank and to be right with this theory, as he definitely will be history if he's not. Written by Julian Reischl <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

True Crimes  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,276,109 (USA) (19 March 1999)


£592,486 (UK) (4 June 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the original novel is set in St Louis, Clint Eastwood decided to relocate it to his native California as he was more familiar with the territory. See more »


When Everett first visits Mrs. Russell, the bottom part of a light stand with a set of scrims can be seen on the front porch in the shot from above. See more »


Steve Everett: [driving to the Governor's mansion, to try and get a last-minute reprieve for a condemned man] We go fast!
See more »


Why Should I Care
Written by Clint Eastwood, Carole Bayer Sager and Linda Thompson
Produced by David Foster and Tommy LiPuma
Performed by Diana Krall
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

1999's best film thus far
20 March 1999 | by (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) – See all my reviews

"True Crime" was a real surprise for me. I expected a good movie, but I didn't expect an excellent movie, and excellent movie is what I got. Clint Eastwood is a truly gifted individual, both as an actor and as a director. This is by far one of his best achievements, and is the best film of 1999 so far.

The film is the story of a sexually promiscuous journalist, Steve Everett played by Clint Eastwood, who is assigned to interview a man just before his execution. The man on death row insists that he is innocent, and Steve having a "nose" for sniffing when something is astray, believes him and desperately begins an investigation with the hope of saving his life. At first, the film seems to be trying to send a message about the death penalty, but soon we realize that this is not the case. There are many other integral issues being explored. I mentioned earlier that Steve is promiscuous in that he has had sexual relations with a number of his coworkers. He describes himself as "searching for love". Considering that he is married, he seems like a lonely man. There are a number of crude sexual innuendos thrown around the office at the Tribune and at first they don't seem to make sense. At points, they are incredibly funny, but they seem out of place, but it becomes evident that this is a further reflection of Steve's lonely character. He is a lonely man who lives in the articles that he writes for the Oakland Tribune. Perhaps this is why he gets so involved in them. Here he wants to save a man from being executed, a year before he tried to prove that a man who had committed rape was innocent. Steve seems to live in this sort of reality. In a heartbreaking scene, Steve's wife says that she is not one of his articles.

One of the most interesting aspects of "True Crime" is the references to Santa Claus. We see a homeless man on the street trying get get some money and sex. We later see him in a Santa Claus outfit, and he says that if you're going to be Santa Claus "you're going to be alone" What is is that Santa Claus supposedly does? He gives us presents, right? The figure of Santa becomes a metaphor for Steve's life as a journalist. He gives people their presents by writing good articles, but is in fact alone. In an earlier scene one of his coworkers tells him that he can't be Santa because he doesn't exist. Metaphorically however, he can exist, and Steve represents him as a journalist. One may ask, why use Santa as this metaphor. I suspect it's pure irony. Santa Claus is typically seen as bringing people together at the joyous time of Christmas, but maybe one could view the mythological being as someone who is also lonely because he spends so much time trying to make other people happy. But the whole notion of Santa is mythological and even spiritual, so one can conceive of him as doing things only for other people and being happy, but human beings like Steve have a need to pursue their own happiness, and it is here that Steve's character is torn, thus creating the tension with significant others in his life.

Ultimately, the film is about loneliness, and I must say that it is one of the only films that I have seen that has effectively implemented both humor and tragedy in a useful way. The story in itself is is no way funny, but there are many moments of hilarity that work effectively. Unlike other films, the humor is not used to distract us from the tragedy of the events that occur in the plot, but rather are a clever representation of Steve's character and the irony of the situation.

17 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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