Guilty Conscience (1985)

44% – Audience

Guilty Conscience Storyline

Criminal defense attorney Arthur Jamison (Sir Anthony Hopkins) wants to get a divorce from his wife Louise Jamison (Blythe Danner). He knows that the downside would be the hefty alimony payments his wife would receive from him. Instead of facing this monetary dilemma, he comes up with an imaginary alter ego to help him plan the perfect murder of his wife.—mts77

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Guilty Conscience Movie Reviews

great TV movie from Levinson & Link

Back in the ’80s, Anthony Hopkins made a lot of TV movies, some which used his great talent to advantage, and others in which he was underused. Here he is teamed with Blythe Danner and Swoosie Kurtz in a Levinson-Link concoction, “Guilty Conscience.” Levinson and Link were really masters of suspense and mystery, responsible for Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, and many TV movies, both as producers and writers.

In this movie, Anthony Hopkins is a prominent attorney who comes up with several ways to murder his wife (Blythe Danner) who has the goods on him and can expect a huge settlement in a divorce. In his mind, he argues the merits of the different plots before a judge, a portrait of his wife’s father, and undergoes questioning by the DA, who is Hopkins in spectacles. Enter one of his dalliances, Swoosie Kurtz, and the fun begins. How is the murder going to be done? And who’s going to be murdered? This is a wonderful movie, and the kind you couldn’t make today – there’s lots of talk – in fact, entire monologues by Hopkins as he talks back and forth with and to himself – and not a ton of action. Swoosie Kurtz is a riot as the offbeat mistress, and Blythe Danner appropriately elegant and thoughtful as Hopkins’ wife.

It’s unfortunate that these kinds of TV movies are no longer made. In the ’80s, there were many of these mystery movies: Murder by Natural Causes, Rehearsal for Murder, Vanishing Act, The Guardian, etc., all very well cast. Today it’s all true crime, which would be great, if any of them were half as well written as anything by Richard Levinson, William Link, or Larry Cohen.

Weirdly entertaining made-for-TV movie with excellent performances…

ANTHONY HOPKINS is the mentally agile lawyer who is continually thinking up ways to get rid of his wife, the fashionable and elegant BLYTHE DANNER. Evidently, their stormy marriage is at a breaking point and he decides he must plot her demise rather than go through with a messy divorce.

But what follows has enough plot turns to hold your interest, although the device of having Hopkins weigh all considerations against a trial lawyer (Hopkins in a dual role) gets a little tiresome after awhile. Not that he isn’t a compelling actor whether playing the lawyer or the prosecutor, and he does create sympathy for a very detestable man.

The plot takes quite a surprising turn when SWOOSIE KURTZ shows up as his mistress, another very calculating character who has some surprises of her own to throw into the mix.

It all has the feel of a poor man’s DIAL M FOR MURDER, showing its TV origins within some narrow settings. But you have to give credit to the writers who keep the tale spinning right until the sudden finish.

The cat-and-mouse byplay between husband and wife is reminiscent of the sort of banter between Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine in SLEUTH, but the overall result is not quite as clever.


As my brother might say, “This has more twists than a bag of pretzels.”

I wasn’t expecting much and came out with feeling of extreme satisfaction, for this film is great. The beginning is a little slow but it soon picks up speed quickly and then you are on the edge of your seat.

Some people said ‘GuiltyConscience’ was predictable, but I severely disagree. Not only did Ihave no idea was was going to happen, but I gasped out loud at several points. The plot was simple but complicated. Hopkins was fantastic as the scheming husband and cross examiner. The rest of the cast was excellent as well. Thoroughly entertaining.

Check this film out if you are looking for interesting mystery-drama; you won’t regret it.