An LA police officer is murdered in the onion fields outside of Bakersfield. However, legal loopholes could keep his kidnappers from receiving justice, and his partner is haunted by overwhelming survivor's guilt.
Los Angeles private investigator Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter. Moseby tracks the daughter down, only to stumble upon something much more intriguing and sinister .
Police officer Patty Butler, alias "Chicklet," is the live-in girlfriend of Thomas 'Stick' Henderson to gather evidence. Detective Bo Lockley is instructed to try to find her, not knowing she's also a cop.
Gregory Ulas Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Lee "Youngblood" Smith, a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a pair of cops for broken brake lights. Powell decides to kidnap the cops, and Smith, as always, reluctantly goes along with Powell's crazy scheme. The group drives out to a deserted onion field in Bakersfield, California, and one officer is shot while the other escapes. The remainder of the film explores the nature of the American justice system, as well as the devastating psychological effects of this event, and the trial on the surviving officer. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
This movie was released six years after the novel was published. Author Joseph Wambaugh wrote the screenplay, as he would do the next year for The Black Marble (1980). "The Onion Field" was Wambaugh's third book. See more »
When Jimmy is seen watching television at Greg's house he is watching "General Hospital". This scene takes place in early March 1963 while "General Hospital" debuted April 1, 1963. See more »
Intrigruing, gripping, and emotionally entertaining!
Fact-based movie are always interesting to me. I'm surprised this happened way before the Kennedy assassination. WOW! The true story about "The Onion Field" murder in California mysteriously got my interest for some strange reason. I quickly read the book when I was in college, and I imagined myself in 1963 when the horrible crime took place. When I got the chance to see the movie after 15 years, I was stoked, I was filled with wonder and awe, in what Campbell's partner(Officer John Hettinger) was going through. He has a wife, he has a family, DON'T THROW IT AWAY!, I said to myself. Only the baby's cry saved him from total destruction. John Savage played the role very well in this movie, and James Woods and the late Franklyn Seales(Dexter Stuffins on the 80's cult "Silver Spoons") did their parts well as Powell and Smith. I would like to give thanks for former LAPD Joseph Wambaugh for the book and his courage for doing such a thing. I wished this movie would get a Oscar for it. It was outstanding! 5 STARS!
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