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.
Lenny Brown moves to California to find his fortune in tax shelter investments. When the federal government changes the tax laws, poor Lenny finds himself $700,000 in hock with nowhere to ... See full summary »
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>
As part of research for the script, co-writer Eric Roth went out on police cruises with the LAPD, only to have the car, in which he was riding, shot at by a gang member on one outing. See more »
In the beginning of the film (which takes place in 1963), as the camera pans down the street, past houses, a 1965 Chevy Impala is seen parked in one of the driveways. See more »
Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin:
Campbell's forgotten. He may as well never have lived. Hettinger's a ghost. Only the legal process has meaning. I've got to get away. You know what I was thinking? I was thinking that if it were in my power, I'd release Powell and Smith, drop all the charges. Let 'em walk. If only I could send some lawyers and judges to the gas chamber.
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I never saw James Woods in a film before the Onion Field. To this day I have never forgotten his performance. Whenever I see him, I think of The Onion Field. He often is cast as the bad guy, and he usually pulls it off very well. He was excellently bad in Once Upon a Time in America, The Getaway, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, and others. The Onion Field was, however, absolutely a masterpiece performance by Woods. Greg Powell was an evil person, and Woods nails the role. This film does not seem to be on TV often any more, but is worth looking for. It is truly chilling.
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