GenreDrama Music directorJames Newton Howard WriterIrwin Winkler LanguageEnglish
Release dateMarch 15, 1991 CastRobert De Niro (David Merrill), Annette Bening (Ruth Merrill), George Wendt (Bunny Baxter), Patricia Wettig (Dorothy Nolan), Sam Wanamaker (Felix Graff), Luke Edwards (Paulie Merrill) Similar moviesPete Seeger: The Power of Song, Red Hollywood
TaglineAll it took was a whisper.
Guilty by suspicion theatrical trailer
Guilty by Suspicion is a 1991 American drama film about the Hollywood blacklist and associated activities stemming from McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Written and directed by Irwin Winkler, it starred Robert De Niro, Annette Bening and George Wendt.
The film was entered into the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
Guilty by suspicion score james newton howard
David Merrill (De Niro), a director in 1950s Hollywood, returns from abroad to find that a rising tide of McCarthyism and the Red Scare has led to his not being allowed to work in films. He will only be allowed to direct once he implicates colleagues as Communist agents. He must decide whether to turn informant, or to stick to principle at the cost of his life's work.
Robert De Niro as David Merrill
Annette Bening as Ruth Merrill
George Wendt as Bunny Baxter
Patricia Wettig as Dorothy Nolan
Sam Wanamaker as Felix Graff
Luke Edwards as Paulie Merrill
Chris Cooper as Larry Nolan
Barry Tubb as Jerry Cooper
Ben Piazza as Darryl Zanuck
Martin Scorsese as Joe Lesser
Barry Primus as Bert Alan
Gailard Sartain as Chairman Wood
Robin Gammell as Congressman Tavenner
Brad Sullivan as Congressman Velde
Tom Sizemore as Ray Karlin
Stuart Margolin as Abe Barron
Roxann Dawson as Felicia Barron (as Roxann Biggs)
Gene Kirkwood as Gene Woods
Stephen Root as RKO Guard
The film opened to good reviews and earned praise for Robert De Niro's performance. Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars and wrote that the film "teaches a lesson we are always in danger of forgetting: that the greatest service we can do our country is to be true to our conscience."
Before the film was released, a fight broke out over the film's script clean up which happened between director Irwin Winkler and former blacklisted writer Abraham Polonsky: through others, Polonsky learned Winkler changed the political convictions of the De Niro character. He was resentful of the change over. In the rewrite, the David Merrill character was changed from a Communist Party member to a relatively apolitical liberal. Winkler based his conception of Merrill on blacklisted director John Berry, who would come back to Hollywood film though it took time to get off the blacklist. Polonsky was so offended that director Irwin Winkler changed the main character that he not only had his name taken off of the picture, he also refused an executive producer credit that would have earned him a substantial fee.