Absence of Malice

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Released 1981

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Movie Summary

Director:
Sydney Pollack
Released:
1981
Rating:
PG
Absence of Malice is a 1981 drama starring Paul Newman and Sally Field in a story about an innocent man with a criminal background who gets pinned for a murder he had nothing to do with. Newman plays Michael Gallagher, a man who comes from a long line of American criminals and maintains connection to the organized crime world. Despite his associations with known criminals, Gallagher is a good man with legitimate business prospects. So when a federal prosecutor dirties Gallagher's name with allegations of murder, Gallagher sets out to clear his name and expose the unjust attorney. He finds an unlikely ally in a news reporter named Megan Carter (Sally Field) who offers her help and begins a romance with him. Legendary filmmaker Sydney Pollack directs this tense tale of American justice gone wrong. Absence of Malice was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Writing-Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

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Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The fact is, this movie is really about a woman's spunk and a common man's sneaky revenge. And on that level it's absorbing and entertaining.

  • 75

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    Absence of Malice is lively, provocative and intelligent, three qualities in short supply this Christmas. It simplifies, but it rarely distorts, and it doggedly picks at sores jour...

  • 63

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    A wildly overwritten melodrama about the sins of the press. Newman's character is compelling, but Field's reporter is such a lamebrain that we know she would be fired at any major ...

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Categories

Drama

Themes

Love & Romance, Thrillers