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Absence of Malice (1981)

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When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of a union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writer:

Kurt Luedtke
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Gallagher
Sally Field ... Megan
Bob Balaban ... Rosen
Melinda Dillon ... Teresa
Luther Adler ... Malderone
Barry Primus ... Waddell
Josef Sommer ... McAdam
John Harkins ... Davidek
Don Hood ... Quinn
Wilford Brimley ... Wells
Arnie Ross Arnie Ross ... Eddie Frost
Phanie Napoli Phanie Napoli ... Nickie (as Anna Marie Napoles)
Shelley Spurlock Shelley Spurlock ... Sarah Wylie
Shawn McAllister ... Hood 1
Joe Petrullo Joe Petrullo ... Hood 2
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Storyline

Mike Gallagher is a Miami liquor wholesaler whose deceased father was a local mobster. The FBI organized crime task force have no evidence that he's involved with the mob but decide to pressure him into perhaps revealing something - anything - about a murder they're sure was a mob hit. They let Megan Carter, a naive but well-meaning journalist, know he is being investigated and Gallagher's name is soon all over the newspaper. Gallagher has an iron-clad alibi for when the murder occurred but won't reveal it to protect his fragile friend Teresa. When Carter publishes her story, tragedy ensues. Needing to make amends, Carter tells Gallagher the source of the first story about him and he sets out to teach the FBI and the Federal Attorney a lesson. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Suppose you picked up this morning's newspaper and your life was a front page headline... And everything they said was accurate... But none of it was true. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ausencia de malicia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,775, 22 November 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$40,716,963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two feature films where actress Melinda Dillon was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress (the other is Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)). Both films were produced by Columbia Pictures. See more »

Goofs

The articles in the newspaper use "dummy text" unrelated to the headlines. See more »

Quotes

Megan Carter: Are you gonna follow me?
Michael Colin Gallagher: Uh, not tonight.
Megan Carter: You said you wanted me to know you fast. You're not interested?
Michael Colin Gallagher: Maybe I'd like to think it was my idea.
Megan Carter: I'd like that too. Gallagher, I'm 34 years old. I don't need courting.
Michael Colin Gallagher: I'm from the Stone Age. I guess I do.
Megan Carter: I'll send you a dozen roses.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Sydney Pollack (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How to outsmart a covey of smartasses
13 August 2001 | by helpless_dancerSee all my reviews

Mighty good drama depicting corruption in the justice department intending, on the surface, to solve a crime, but, beneath the waters, to further political careers. Sally Field played the self centered, self deluded reporter perfectly against Newman's confused, angry victim. Worth seeing.


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