Presumed Innocent (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Presumed Innocent (1990)



Critic Consensus: Thanks to an outstanding script, focused direction by Alan Pakula, and a riveting performance from Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent is the kind of effective courtroom thriller most others aspire to be.

Presumed Innocent Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford) is a bland, oppressed man who burns with a quiet, corrosive intensity that can flare uncontrollably. A Philadelphia prosecutor, Sabich's fire seems to have one outlet: his job. He loves prosecuting people. Otherwise, his life is dead-ended. He has a loveless marriage to a neurotic woman (Bonnie Bedelia) and an overbearing boss (Brian Dennehy) in a labyrinthine law enforcement world of corruption and twisted relationships. Then Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi) comes into his life. Lovely and seductive, Polhemus easily entices him to break his marital vows, but she schemes to get him to try for his boss' job. When he refuses, she leaves him. When she turns up dead, the victim of an apparent rape-murder, clues begin to point to Sabich. His blood type almost perfectly matches that in the semen found in the victim, carpet fibers at the crime scene match those found in his house, and most damning, his fingerprints are found on a beer glass in Polhemus' apartment. His protestations of innocence ignored, Sabich is put on trial for the murder and hires his biggest adversary (Raul Julia) to defend him. ~ Nick Sambides, Jr., Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Frank Pierson, Scott Turow, Alan J. Pakula, Frank R. Pierson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 16, 1997
Warner Bros.


Harrison Ford
as Rusty Sabich
Brian Dennehy
as Raymond Horgan
Raul Julia
as Sandy Stern
Bonnie Bedelia
as Barbara Sabich
Paul Winfield
as Judge Larren Lyttle
Greta Scacchi
as Carolyn Polhemus
John Spencer
as Det. Lipranzer
Joe Grifasi
as Tommy Molto
Tom Mardirosian
as Nico Della Guardia
Sab Shimono
as 'Painless' Kumagai
Reodorina Bello
as Ernestine
Bradley Whitford
as Jamie Kemp
J. Bennett
as Guerasch
Rick de Furia
as Prosecuting Attorney
Christine Estabrook
as Lydia 'Mac' MacDouga...
Richard L. Mewcomb
as Undercover Cop
Michael Tolan
as Mr. Polhemus
Madison Arnold
as Sgt. Lionel Kenneall...
Ron Frazier
as Stew Dubinsky
Jesse Bradford
as Nat Sabich
Joe Mazzello
as Wendell McGaffney
Tucker Smallwood
as Det. Harold Greer
Leland Gantt
as Leon Wells
Teodorina Bello
as Ernestine
David Wohl
as Morrie Dickerman
Bo Rucker
as Mike Duke
Peter Appel
as Glendenning
Joseph Carberry
as Mr. McGaffney
John Seitz
as Balestrieri
John C. Vennema
as Judge Mumphrey
Michael Genet
as Court Clerk
Richard L. Newcomb
as Undercover Cop
Ed Wheeler
as Arresting Detective
Miles Watson
as Arresting Detective
DeAnn Mears
as Loretta
Julia Meade
as Moderator
Thom Cagle
as Camp Counselor
Allison Field
as Reporter #1
Janis Corsair
as Reporter #2
Bill Corsair
as Reporter #3
Carla Goff
as Reporter #4
Rick DeFuria
as Prosecuting Attorney
Victor Truro
as Prosecuting Attorney
Liz Williams
as Prosecuting Attorney
Elizabeth Williams
as Prosecuting Attorney
Ted Neustadt
as Prosecuting Attorney
Jeffrey Wright
as Prosecuting Attorney
Kimberleigh Aarn
as Prosecuting Attorney
Ronald C. Frazier
as Stew Dubinsky
Ricky Rosa
as Camper
Joseph Mazzello
as Wendell McGaffney
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Presumed Innocent

Critic Reviews for Presumed Innocent

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (17)

Conscientiously as this movie has been made, it does not work as well as the novel did or as some of Pakula's other films have.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Pakula and the cast are excellent in the cut and thrust debates and the grilling of witnesses. At least on the surface, Presumed Innocent unfolds in the grand tradition of great courtroom drama. But nothing in Presumed Innocent is what it seems.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Presumed Innocent is a stylish, dark-toned movie with handsome photography (by Gordon Willis) and solid performances.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A ponderous adaptation of Scott Turow's cunningly plotted mystery novel.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Intelligent, complex and enthralling.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A top-notch courtroom drama that will keep you guessing if you haven't read the book; even if you have, it is still a very well crafted story.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Presumed Innocent

A prosecutor's mistress is murdered, and he becomes the prime suspect.
Throughout the majority of this film, I was bored. Harrison Ford was not at his most dynamic, charming, or interesting, and the supporting players were also relatively bland; when Raul Julia is bland in a film, you've got a story. I was all set to give it two stars or lower, and then the end happened. It got me. I'm usually pretty good at predicting the ends of films, especially mysteries, but I was truly stumped, and I don't mind admitting it. What's great about the reveal is that it's not unfair. All the clues are there, but they're so subtly placed that it's understandable that I didn't pick up on them.
Overall, while it's no The Usual Suspects, this film gets bonus points for its unpredictable and compelling ending.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

An interesting movie. Harrison Ford is Rusty Savage, a prosecutor. One of his fellow prosecutors is murdered and Rusty is charged with murder. You have to see the movie to find out who did it.

On second watch, a couple years after the first, I downgraded my rating a bit. The movie is almost too obscure.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer


I have to start this off by saying I LOVE HARRISON FORD! It's rare that he's in a movie I don't like. With that said, I'm going to go ahead and say I liked this movie too. It had twists, sex, dirty politicians, affairs and amazing acting. I loved the ending.

Alexis Nomm

Super Reviewer

Presumed Innocent Quotes

– Submitted by Zbigniew Z (3 years ago)

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