The Onion Field

Synopsis: Greg Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Smith (aka Jimmy Youngblood), 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.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): Harold Becker
Production: AVCO Embassy Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
122 min

I busted that pig for beating up a whore.

There's a guy that could use a doctor.

Dr. Smith & Wesson,

for a frontal lobotomy.

- A large cheese to go.

- Come back in 20 minutes, okay?

I'm a fellow dropout.

Let me guess. Engineering.

Agriculture, beer, and poker,

not necessarily in that order.

My life's ambition was to own a farm.

Truck crops.

You know, smogless sky, clean earth...

clean people, all that corny stuff.

And acres of dewy, wet...

fat, ripe tomatoes.

- Tomatoes?

- Tomatoes.

Police work's so noisy.

- Tomatoes are so...

- Quiet.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

Bet you never thought

you'd see me again.

No, like, I meant to look you up.

It's only been two days.

I ain't made a sting yet.

- I'll pay you and Billy back.

- Hell, Jim, I told you, that was a gift.

That ain't why I'm here.

- This sure is a dump, Jimbo.

- Yeah.

It ain't forever.

My parole officer paid for a week.

- By then, I should have...

- Come on, get your clothes on.

- We are going somewhere.

- Yeah?

- I thought I'd go look my old partner...

- I won't take no for an answer.

I got a feeling about you.

I think I can help you

make some real money.

Real money, Jimbo.


Youngblood, what you doin' here?

- Greg brung me.

- Yeah.

We all don't need nobody else

working with us, you understand?

Jimmy, this here is my little woman.

- Hi, Jimmy.

- You fix us a whiskey and 7-Up?

- Okay, honey?

- Okay, buns.

Honey, buns. Just sit down, Jim.

So, Billy...

My woman says

you took that roll of $1 bills...

I had stashed in the bedroom.

- Bullshit.

- Yes, it's true. She can't find it.

And furthermore, I've been told,

you gave her a pat on the fanny today.

I don't care about the pat.

We're sort of a family here.

I'd appreciate you don't make it a habit.

- Greg, please...

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Joseph Wambaugh

Joseph Aloysius Wambaugh, Jr. (born January 22, 1937) is a bestselling American writer known for his fictional and non-fictional accounts of police work in the United States. Several of his first novels were set in Los Angeles, California, and its surroundings, and featured Los Angeles police officers as protagonists. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Onion Field" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Dec. 2020. <>.

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