×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Absence of Malice

Absence of Malice is the flipside of All The President's Men, a splendidly disturbing look at the power of sloppy reporting to inflict harm on the innocent.

With:
Paul Newman Sally Field Bob Balaban Melinda Dillon Luther Adler Barry Primus

Absence of Malice is the flipside of All The President’s Men, a splendidly disturbing look at the power of sloppy reporting to inflict harm on the innocent.

Tackling a long-standing public issue that has no resolution, producer-director Sydney Pollack neatly keeps all the points in focus while sustaining traditional entertainment values. This is, quite simply, a whale of a good story with something important to say. For that, much of the credit undoubtedly should go to writer Kurt Luedtke, a veteran newsman himself.

More typical of her trade than a Woodward or Bernstein, Sally Field is a workaday reporter on a Miami paper, trying to stay on top of a breaking story about the mysterious disappearance of a local longshore labor leader.

Paul Newman is the son of a mobster whose late father kept him straight and out of the rackets, running a legitimate business. But he still has unsavory family ties, particularly uncle Luther Adler, and Bob Balaban the head of a federal task force investigating the case, believes a little pressure on Newman might force his help in solving the disappearance.

Though Newman has no connection with a crime, Balaban suckers Field into printing a story identifying him – with editor Josef Sommer’s zealous encouragement – as a prime suspect.

Not surprisingly, the story produces tragedy, finally shaking Field’s faith in her calling. It also outrages Newman and his grievous, angry confrontation with Field may be the best single scene the actor has ever performed.

1981: Nominations: Best Actor (Paul Newman), Supp. Actress (Melinda Dillon), Original Screenplay

Popular on Variety

Absence of Malice

Production: Columbia. Director Sydney Pollack; Producer Sydney Pollack; Writer Kurt Luedtke; Camera Owen Roizman Editor Sheldon Kahn; Music Dave Grusin Art Terence Marsh

Crew: (B&W & Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 116 MIN.

With: Paul Newman Sally Field Bob Balaban Melinda Dillon Luther Adler Barry Primus

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content