The Onion Field
The Onion Field (1979)

Joseph Wambaugh's The Onion Field is based on an actual 1963 case. L.A. plainclothesmen Karl Hattinger (John Savage) and Ian Campbell (Ted Danson) routinely investigate a pair of suspicious types, Greg Powell (James Woods) and Jimmy… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: September 17, 2002
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
83%
Flixster
User Score
65%

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Critic Score: 83% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

The Onion Field is a serious and most uncompromising movie. It lacks, however, the sort of disciplined craft that might have made it a powerful and affecting one.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

The film is generally crisp and at times exciting, but it's also full of incidents that are only sketchily explained, and minus the all-important narrative thread that might have provided a clear point of view.

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Scott Weinberg
Apollo Guide

Ranks among the best crime films of the late 1970s...and that puts the flick among some rather impressive company.

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Variety Staff
Variety

James Woods as the near-psychotic Powell is chillingly effective, creating a flakiness in the character that exudes the danger of a live wire near a puddle.

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Film4

Brutal, even sordid, but compulsive viewing.

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Kim Newman
Empire Magazine

Thoughtful trial movie with a disturbing edge.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

It's the usual heavy Wambaugh brew: police procedure closely observed without a trace of romanticism, suggesting simply that life in the force is psychological hell.

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TV Guide's Movie Guide

Good acting and careful direction by Becker make it worth seeing, but the violence and the language may be too graphic for some tastes.

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More reviews for The Onion Field

Flixster Audience Score: 65% Flixster User Reviews
Tim Salmons
The Onion Field has real potential to be a very compelling film. There are tons of great character pieces with a complex plot, but it all somehow just… More
AJ Verser
A fantastic crime/prison movie, the story is really incredible, and the actors are great. The only problem is that it's a little too long. Other than… More
Stephen Earnest
"The Onion Field" features a complex narrative and well-developed characters, but ultimately, it never goes anywhere. The scenes that are meant to… More