6.9/10
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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.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Gallagher
... Megan
... Rosen
... Teresa
... Malderone
... Waddell
... McAdam
... Davidek
... Quinn
... Wells
Arnie Ross ... Eddie Frost
Phanie Napoli ... Nickie (as Anna Marie Napoles)
Shelley Spurlock ... Sarah Wylie
... Hood 1
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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ausencia de malicia  »

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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
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Company Credits

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1.85 : 1
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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

Gallagher brings a bottle of wine to Meg's apartment and it is seen on the counter. The next time it is seen, it has been rotated, and the next time it is seen, it has shifted position towards the end of the counter. See more »

Quotes

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: What'd you figure you'd do after government service, Elliott?
Elliott Rosen: I'm not quitting.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: You ain't no Presidential appointee, Elliott. One that hired you is me. You got thirty days.
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Connections

Referenced in Newhart: Presence of Malice (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Absence of Feeling
3 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

This movie looks to have all the elements of a classic but somehow falls short. Unscrupulous prosecutor dupes reporter Field into creating (false) impression that businessman Newman was involved in a murder, in the hope that will somehow help his investigation. The lie has unexpected and tragic consequences, after which Newman turns the tables. Field is fine as liberated yet vulnerable thirty-something, Newman is also good if a little obscure in a difficult role; but Brimley as Asst US Attorney steals the show when he finally blows the whistle on everyone. Brimley's short time in this movie really is classic and Oscar-quality. The overall problem here is a little too much soapbox and not enough real emotion from nearly everyone.


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