You might also like

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

The Onion Field Photos

Movie Info

Charismatic psychopath Greg Powell (James Woods) teams up with Jimmy Youngblood (Franklyn Seales), a petty thief. Driving in Los Angeles in 1963, they are pulled over by Detective Hettinger (John Savage) and his partner, Campbell (Ted Danson), for an illegal U-turn. Panicked, Powell kidnaps the officers and kills Campbell. Hettinger escapes, and his description of the men leads to their arrest. As both men evade prosecution with legal tricks, Hettinger is racked with guilt over his survival.

Cast & Crew

John Savage
Det. Karl Francis Hettinger
James Woods
Gregory Ulas Powell
Franklyn Seales
Jimmy Lee "Youngblood" Smith
Ted Danson
Det. Ian James Campbell
Ronny Cox
Det. Sgt. Pierce R. Brooks
David Huffman
Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin
Christopher Lloyd
Jailhouse lawyer
Dianne Hull
Helen Hettinger
Priscilla Pointer
Chrissie Campbell
Beege Barkette
Greg's woman
Le Tari
Emmanuel McFadden
Richard Venture
Det. Glenn Bates
Phillip R. Allen
Dist. Atty. Marshall Shulman (uncredited)
Pat Corley
Jimmy's Lawyer 2
K Callan
Mrs. Powell
Sandy McPeak
Mr. Powell
Michael Pataki
Dist. Atty. Dino Fulgoni
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Onion Field

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (2)

  • 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.

    September 10, 2011 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • If the story weren't based on true events, it would nevertheless be fascinating because of its precise and impeccable technical mastery. [Full Review in Spanish]

    August 12, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Brutal, even sordid, but compulsive viewing.

    September 10, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Onion Field

  • May 05, 2021
    The movie often underlines its themes in some clumsy ways however I appreciate the slow pacing which does a better job of examining the inherently unsatisfying concept of "justice" both in legal and emotionally satisfying terms.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    "The Onion Field" features a complex narrative and well-developed characters, but ultimately, it never goes anywhere. The scenes that are meant to provoke emotion fall flat, the final twenty minutes or so are unnecessary, and the pacing is slow and unbalanced. James Woods delivers a strong performance, but that's about it. There's nothing noteworthy about this film other than that.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2011
    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 doesn't go anywhere. This film is based on true events, but I'm wondering if the actual events were portrayed as is, and if so, did they need to be so true to them? I'm not going to spoil the entirety of the film, nor am I going to get into a discussion on dramatic character development and satisfactory story, but it basically winds down to nothing. Dramatic tension tries its hardest to kick in at times with little to no pay-off. This, to me, seemed more suited to be a Broadway production rather than a film. Two hours of complex plot and emotionally unsatisfying events make for a very dull film, despite the talent behind it.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    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 that I loved it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

The Onion Field Quotes

Movie & TV guides