6.9/10
11,789
116 user 28 critic

Absence of Malice (1981)

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2:03 | Trailer
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
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Popularity
4,667 ( 2,999)
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In America can a man be guilty until proven innocent? 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. The D.A., Feds and the police set her up to write the story that explodes his world. Now he's going to write the book on getting even. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of Michael Gallagher (Paul Newman)'s antique boat was the "Rum Runner" from the Port of Miami, Florida. The vessel's name evokes the profession of the character's mobster father (i.e. bootlegging). A 46-foot classic cruiser built in 1941, the vessel's birth-name is actually "The Optimist," and it was certainly in that spirit that the director, crew and stars ventured out onto Biscayne Bay interruptedly, weather permitting, over a period of nearly three weeks. Biscayne Bay figures importantly in an early scene between Sally Field and Paul Newman who lunch together aboard his boat. See more »

Goofs

On the boat, Meg tucks the strap of her bag under her lapel. In the next shot, it is over her lapel. See more »

Quotes

Megan Carter: Michael?
Michael Colin Gallagher: You don't wanna come in here. I'm warning you.
Megan Carter: Michael, if I could just talk to you...
Michael Colin Gallagher: Shut up! I don't want to hear it, I don't want to hear any of it! What the hell are you doing here? Details? Is that what you want? They found her naked in a tub. She didn't even want to make a mess! No water, just naked. Are you interested? You interested?
Megan Carter: Yes.
Michael Colin Gallagher: She picked up a newspaper, for Christ's sake! And there it is, for everybody to see! She must have felt like ...
[rips open her shirt]
Michael Colin Gallagher:
  • just raped!

Megan Carter: [...]
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Connections

Featured in The Story Behind Absence of Malice (2004) See more »

User Reviews

Wilford Brimley stole the show...
18 February 2004 | by simba-18See all my reviews

Absence of Malice is an alright drama that is smartly casted with Sally Field and Paul Newman. The story is interesting enough and moves along just fine until Wilford Brimley's character, he plays a no nonsense-no BS judge who sets everyone straight. It makes you grateful you sat through this okay film. Great job by Mr. Brimley. He makes it worth the price of admission(or video).


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Absence of Malice See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$97,667, 22 November 1981

Gross USA:

$40,716,963

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,716,963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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