THE ONION FIELD serves as both a true-life police thriller and a chilling indictment of the American judicial system. Two Los Angeles detectives in the 1960s stop a pair of shifty motorists. In a quick turn of events, one suspect pulls out a pistol, forces the cops to relinquish their guns, and drives them to an onion field. There, one detective is shot dead, while the other escapes. Although the suspects are soon caught, the road to justice proves bumpy, because each crook blames the other for the killing. Meanwhile, the detective who survived feels profound guilt and suffers a nervous breakdown. His condition threatens his ability to stay on the force and even propels him into making petty thefts -- not unlike those of the two men he first stopped.
Cop-turned-author Joseph Wambaugh chronicled the 1963 murder case on which the film centers in his 1973 best seller "The Onion Field." A Black Marble production.
"...The picture's strength is in the superb performances of its leading actors....[Woods] is chillingly effective..." - 05/23/1979 Variety
"...A strong, affecting story..." - 09/19/1979 New York Times, p.C25
"Gripping....James Woods steals the show..." - 08/01/2000 Uncut, p.124