Onion Field, The

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The Onion Field (1979)

The Onion Field is a 1979 feature film that recounts the infamous incident where two plainclothes LAPD officers were kidnapped in the 60’s by criminals during a traffic stop and one officer was subsequently murdered. The movie screenplay was based on the book of the same name written by acclaimed author Joseph Wambaugh, the former LAPD officer whose adapted works included The New Centurions and The Choirboys.


The following weapons were used in the film The Onion Field:

Contents


SPOILERS.jpg WARNING! THIS PAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS!


Smith & Wesson Model 14

Both LAPD detectives, Det. Karl Hettinger (John Savage) and Det. Ian Campbell (Ted Danson) carry 6-inch barreled Smith & Wesson Model 14 revolvers in cross-draw holsters. The 6” barrel model 14 was a common LAPD gun during the 50’s and 60’s decades, and even plainclothes officers carried it. In real life, according to Joseph Wambaugh, Detective Campbell carried a model 14 (then known as the “k-38 target masterpiece”), while Det. Hettinger carried a 6”-barrel Colt.

Smith & Wesson Model 14 - .38 Special
Det Hettinger puts on his S&W model 14 on a crossdraw holster
Detective Hettinger, played by John Savage, with his 6” barrel S&W model 14
Det Hettinger surrenders his S&W model 14
Hettinger is about to commit suicide with his model 14, several years after the kidnapping. In real life, Hettinger bought a S&W model 19 in .357 magnum after the events described in the movie, according to Wambaugh's book

Astra Constable

Gregory Powell (James Woods) buys an Astra Constable in a pawn shop for Jimmy “Youngblood” Smith (Franklyn Seales). This is not totally accurate. According to Wambaugh’s book, the gun used by Smith was indeed an Spanish Pistol, but it was a .32 auto Star, not an Astra.

Astra Constable - .380 ACP. Note the single grip screw.
Powell presents Smith an Astra Constable.
An officer discovers the Astra Constable after the kidnapping.

Colt Official Police

Powell uses a Colt Official Police as his personal gun. Some LAPD officers also use this revolver.

Colt Official Police - 4" Barrel - .38 Special
Powell threatens one of his accomplices with a Colt Official Police
Powell (James Woods) threatens the officers with his own Colt Official Police and with one of the officers’ model 14s.
The officers who arrest Smith use Colt Official Police revolvers.

Smith & Wesson Model 10

The officer who arrests Powell uses what looks like a 6”-barrel Smith & Wesson Model 10

Pre-Model 10 M&P five screw with 6" Barrel - .38 Special
The gun looks like a Smith & Wesson Model 10


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