Presumed Innocent

1990

Presumed Innocent

Critics 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.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 23,026
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Presumed Innocent 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., Rovi

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Cast

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
J. Bennett
as Guerasch
Bradley Whitford
as Jamie Kemp
Christine Estabrook
as Lydia 'Mac' MacDougall
Rick de Furia
as Prosecuting Attorney
Michael Tolan
as Mr. Polhemus
Richard L. Mewcomb
as Undercover Cop
Madison Arnold
as Sgt. Lionel Kenneally
Ron Frazier
as Stew Dubinsky
Jesse Bradford
as Nat Sabich
Joseph 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
Liz Williams
as Prosecuting Attorney
Victor Truro
as Prosecuting Attorney
Elizabeth Williams
as Prosecuting Attorney
Ted Neustadt
as Prosecuting Attorney
Jeffrey Wright
as Prosecuting Attorney
Kimberleigh Aarn
as Prosecuting Attorney
Ricky Rosa
as Camper
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Critic Reviews for Presumed Innocent

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (19)

Audience Reviews for Presumed Innocent

  • Jun 02, 2015
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2012
    Given my general distaste for legal thrillers, I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this. Harrison Ford is outstanding, probably one of the few lawyer performances that utilizes brevity and nuance over grandstanding and blustery speech making. The same can be said of Pakula's direction and the script. The inherent irony of the title is perhaps hammered in a little too hard in the end, but it still manages to stay within the realm of intriguing moral ambiguity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2011
    Well thought. Pakula's intense and complex psychological court room drama has been overlooked for more than two decades now. Why did it miss the radar of audiences is something difficult to guess, yet Ford's pressence should at least be the first "evidence" to guarantee entertainment for hesitating people that may approach this solid piece. 77/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    Presumed Innocent was a brilliantly scripted courtroom drama that grabs the audience's attention from the opening scene where Harrison Ford narrates. Let me start off by saying that Harrison Ford kills this role, I mean he is always playing a tough guy but here is a bit of a twist than what he usually does. Ford plays one person with his family, and another person in his job, and I think that is some very good acting. The rest of the cast is mediocre and not really memorable, but there are still no bad performances in the film. What i love about the script is that they give you so many different outcomes, we are asking ourselves "is it him?" I will not spoil anything for you, but what I will tell you is that I always enjoy the mystery courtroom films as long as they do it correctly, and Presumed Innocent goes beyond that. They give us a nice family, a job, and a set up. But soon we learn more and more unfold about this mans life and we start to question things about the case and it really teases the audience with its clues. Maybe I am also a sucker for twist endings, but as long as they make a good twist ending (like The Sixth Sense) instead of a stupid twist ending (like The Village) than I am happy. Presumed Innocent is a great mystery courtroom drama, and will be a breath of fresh air for those that courtroom films are starting to lose their touch.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer

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