Apology (film)

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VHS cover
Written byStory:
Mark Medoff
Campbell Black
Mark Medoff
Directed byRobert Bierman
StarringLesley Ann Warren
Peter Weller
Chris Noth
John Glover
Charles S. Dutton
Harvey Fierstein
Music byMaurice Jarre (score)
Bill Champlin (songs)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Roger Gimbel
Neil Rosenstein (co-executive producer)
Producer(s)Les Alexander
Richard Parks
Richard Smith
Jacob Zilberg (associate producer)
Production location(s)Toronto
CinematographyPhil Meheux
Editor(s)Jim Benson
Running time93 minutes
Production company(s)HBO Pictures
Original networkHBO
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • July 27, 1986 (1986-07-27) (United States)

Apology is a made for HBO original film that premiered on July 27, 1986. The movie is based on the artwork of Allan Bridge and the novel he inspired, Mr. Apology. The film was eventually released on video and syndicated to cable and network television outlets. It stars Lesley Ann Warren, Peter Weller and John Glover.[1] The film was titled in some markets as Apology for Murder.[2]


Producers Les Alexander, Richard Park, and Richard Smith developed the idea from a similarly themed art project in New York.[3] They hired Mark Medoff, who had won a Tony Award for his play Children of a Lesser God, to write the script.[3] Filming was done in New York's SoHo district and Greenwich Village, with additional shooting in Toronto.[3]

Executive producer Roger Gimbel cast Warren in the lead role based on their prior working relationship in Betrayal (1978).[3] The part of Lily in Apology was Warren's first role in a thriller film.[3]


In New York City, avant garde sculptor Lily McGuire (Lesley Ann Warren) lives a complicated and frustrating life as she tries to not only provide for herself and her daughter, but debut her latest artwork known as Apology. The design is a two-part exhibit consisting of a walkthrough sculpture of advanced mechanical design and a phone service that allows callers to anonymously leave confessions of whatever they desire on the answering machine. However, someone has been calling the line and using it to announce a string of recent high-profile killings. After contacting the police, Detective Hungate (Peter Weller) advises Lily to take the threats seriously. Eventually, the serial killer stops his phone calls and intends to murder Lily to the sounds of the exhibit's programmed confessions.[4] Charles S. Dutton, Harvey Fierstein, and Chris Noth co-star.


  • Lesley Ann Warren as Lily
  • Peter Weller as Rad Hungate
  • George Loros as Frank
  • John Glover as Philip
  • Jimmie Ray Weeks as Claude
  • Harvey Fierstein as The derelict
  • Charles S. Dutton as Asst. District Attorney (as Charles Dutton)
  • Skye Bassett as Anna
  • Garrett M. Brown as Gordon
  • Ellen Barber as Patty Garretson
  • Reathel Bean as Lt. Arnold Goodson
  • Chris Noth as Roy Burnette
  • Diana Reis as Jean
  • Joe Zaloom as Street vendor

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS by HBO/Cannon Video under license from Home Box Office. However, it never released on DVD or Blu-ray.

Critical reception[edit]

The film was considered notably violent for cable television of the day: one critic wrote "there's lots of gore... the screen is littered with bodies and the sound track is filled with obscenities".[5] Despite the caveats, the same critic added: "It's good enough to hook you though. Once you start watching you stick around to find out what happens."[5] In the Chicago Tribune, a reviewer wrote that although the story "alternates between the suspenseful and the silly", it remains "intriguing because of its quirky premise".[6] Gannett News Service reviewer Mike Hughes sighed that the plot relied on "absurdities and coincidences", but offered praise for Warren's expressive acting and Bierman's mood-setting direction.[7]

Syndicated columnist Judy Flander called it "a stylish thriller" and "a great watch", chiefly because of Warren who "glows" in her role.[8] Critic Tom Shales, however, heaped scorn on the film for its "miserably nasty" and "pointlessly perverse" storyline, describing it as all "foul language, violence and miscellaneous kinks".[9]


  1. ^ "Apology". www.Imdb.com. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "Apology (1986)". BFI.org.uk. British Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Buck, Jerry (July 27, 1986). "Lesley Ann Warren: Acting as a Work of Art". The Muncie Star. Muncie, Delaware. AP. p. T-6. Archived from the original on March 9, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ "Apology (1986) - Movie". Moviefone.com. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Dorsey, Tom (July 27, 1986). "'Apology' isn't fare for the faint of stomach". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. p. 153. Archived from the original on March 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ Terry, Clifford (July 25, 1986). "No apologies needed for this HBO movie". ChicagoTribune.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Hughes, Mike (July 25, 1986). "'C.A.T. Squad' script puts it above rest". Argus-Leader. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Gannett News Service. p. 3B. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ Flander, Judy (July 26, 1986). "Weekend Viewing Features Action, Mystery and Harsh Reality". The Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. United Feature Syndicate. p. 38. Archived from the original on March 11, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  9. ^ Shales, Tom (August 3, 1986). "Time Lapse". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Washington Post. p. 268. Archived from the original on March 16, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links[edit]