An LA police officer is murdered in the onion fields outside of Bakersfield. However, legal loopholes could keep his kidnappers from receiving justice, and his partner is haunted by overwhelming survivor's guilt.
Lenny Brown moves to California to find his fortune in tax shelter investments. When the federal government changes the tax laws, poor Lenny finds himself $700,000 in hock with nowhere to ... See full summary »
Gregory Ulas Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Lee "Youngblood" Smith, a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a pair of cops for broken brake lights. Powell decides to kidnap the cops, and Smith, as always, reluctantly goes along with Powell's crazy scheme. The group drives out to a deserted onion field in Bakersfield, California, and one officer is shot while the other escapes. The remainder of the film explores the nature of the American justice system, as well as the devastating psychological effects of this event, and the trial on the surviving officer.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
This movie was released six years after the novel was published. Author Joseph Wambaugh wrote the screenplay, as he would do the next year for The Black Marble (1980). "The Onion Field" was Wambaugh's third book. See more »
Just before Powell's arrest on March 9, 1963, he is shown driving on a road marked with "Botts Dots". The lane markers were not used statewide until September 1966. See more »
True Story of Cops, Robbers and the justice system.
From the Joseph Wambaugh book of the same name comes a frighteningly true story of two police officers and two robbers whose career paths in life fatally cross one night in 1963 in a bizarre execution murder in Bakersfield Ca and the justice systems handling of it all. The film can't match the book but does hold up well. The casting of the various characters is amazing as they resemble in great detail the actual people they are portraying. The film airs on Television from time to time but be sure if you see it it's on a channel that will not edit it in the slightest. To be on the safe side rent it. James Woods and Franklyn Seales stand out in their performances.
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