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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:

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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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

The 19th November 1980 edition of show-business trade paper 'Variety' announced that 'Paul Newman' had been cast in the movie in the lead male role of Michael Gallagher after reports in September and October that year had stated that Al Pacino was still being considered for the lead part of Gallagher. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: You're a smart man, Mr. Gallagher. I'm pretty smart myself. Don't get too smart.
Michael Colin Gallagher: Everybody in this room is smart, and everybody was just doing their job, and Teresa Perrone is dead. Who do I see about that?
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Ain't nobody to see. I wish there was. You're excused, sir.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
All the news that's fit to print (and then some)
1 October 2005 | by Howlin WolfSee all my reviews

This movie provides a clever insight into the principles the press live by. Reporters sometimes lose their basic humanity because they're not looking at the human interest, but at covering all the angles. What's newsworthy is what's in the public domain as fact, not gossip. It's definitely something to think about in this age when large sections of the media are intent on muckraking over the affairs of those who are deemed to be 'high-profile'...

The movie asks us, though, to keep in mind that sometimes there's more going on than meets the eye, and that certain acts function as a means to an end. It can be seen as an extension of that great 70's movie tradition where acclaimed directors make polished films exposing high-level corruption. "Absence of Malice" is an involving exercise in paranoid mystery, with Newman in fine form as always, and Sally Field providing capable support.


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