MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 248 this week

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

 -  Crime | Drama | Mystery  -  6 February 1958 (USA)
8.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.5/10 from 46,656 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 71 critic

Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.

Director:

Writers:

(in Agatha Christie's international stage success), (screen play), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Top 10 TV Shows

Brooke Anderson from "Entertainment Tonight" and Melanie McFarland take a look at the Top 10 TV Shows of 2014 in our new series "IMDb Countdown".

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 01 Sep 2012
 
a list of 46 titles
created 20 Sep 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 10 Apr 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 23 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) on IMDb 8.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Witness for the Prosecution.

User Polls

Top 250 #83 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
The Apartment (1960)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
All About Eve (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An ingenue insinuates herself in to the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
M (1931)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
The Sting (1973)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In 1930s Chicago, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Torin Thatcher ...
...
...
Francis Compton ...
Philip Tonge ...
...
Edit

Storyline

It's Britain, 1953. Upon his return to work following a heart attack, irrepressible barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts, known as a barrister for the hopeless, takes on a murder case, much to the exasperation of his medical team, led by his overly regulated private nurse, Miss Plimsoll, who tries her hardest to ensure that he not return to his hard living ways - including excessive cigar smoking and drinking - while he takes his medication and gets his much needed rest. That case is defending American war veteran Leonard Vole, a poor, out of work, struggling inventor who is accused of murdering his fifty-six year old lonely and wealthy widowed acquaintance, Emily French. The initial evidence is circumstantial but points to Leonard as the murderer. Despite being happily married to East German former beer hall performer Christine Vole, he fostered that friendship with Mrs. French in the hopes that she would finance one of his many inventions to the tune of a few hundred pounds. It thus does ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

alibi | murder | widow | german | trial | See All (68) »

Taglines:

Unmatched ...in a half century of motion picture suspense! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 February 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Testigo de cargo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Unsure if he could play a man with a heart condition, Charles Laughton (Sir Wilfrid) staged a heart attack in the pool one day at home. His wife, Elsa Lanchester (Miss Plimsoll), and a houseguest panicked and pulled him from the water, at which point he explained his trick. Elsa's reaction has not been recorded. See more »

Goofs

Early in the courtroom scenes witnesses are seated in the hallway outside the courtroom door on a bench. This has a backdrop painted to look like a longer hallway. At the end of the trial when the courtroom is emptied the hallway is shown as being narrower with no bench. See more »

Quotes

Sir Wilfrid: I am constantly surprised that women's hats do not provoke more murders.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits appear on screen, an announcer's voice is heard: "The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Partners: Witness for the Execution (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

I May Never Go Home Anymore
Music by Ralph Arthur Roberts
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Sung by Marlene Dietrich (uncredited)
Reprised a cappella by Tyrone Power (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another triumph for cinematic genius Billy Wilder!
3 February 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Billy Wilder is a director with an understanding of cinema that is almost unmatched throughout the medium's entire history - that's why his films are always so good. Witness for the Prosecution is yet another highlight in the great director's history, and it proves that courtroom dramas can be both riveting and a great opportunity for some first rate comedy. Wilder's film features one of the most well paced plots I've ever seen in a film, and it's a plot that includes some very finely tuned twists. Towards the end, Wilder bombards us with twist after twist, each one both making sense and topping the one before it. In a time when people are impressed by films such as 'The Sixth Sense', Billy Wilder still shows us how to skilfully attribute a twist into a film's plot. The plot itself follows the story of Sir Wilfrid Robarts; an ace defence lawyer that has been told that his health won't allow him to tackle anything more than mundane cases, but is brought back into the fray when a case involving the murder of an elderly woman comes into his hands. Wilfrid must now juggle the case and his health as he attempts to keep the young man from being sent down.

Like all Wilder films, this one is a very pleasurable viewing. Wilder manages to find a middle ground between substance and entertainment, and so this is a film that will please fans of both aspects. The film is deliriously entertaining throughout, with some truly great lines of dialogue (most of which is very quotable) and every twist adds a new level to the story. The substance comes from a multitude of angles, and themes of love, health, sacrifice and most notably, justice, are all more than prevalent. The acting is certainly of note in Witness for the Prosecution. Charles Laughton is absolutely sublime as the undermining and stubborn Wilfrid Robarts; his performance is very strong, and makes up the backbone of the film. The main supporting performance comes from Marlene Dietrich. I'm not a big fan of hers; despite having a great pair of legs, she just doesn't do anything for me, but in this film she brings sufficient coldness to her character and really makes it her own. The final main performance comes from Tyrone Power; he isn't as great as the other two, but does enough with his character to ensure he's believable. Highly recommended viewing!


58 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
OK i'm just going to bring this up.. flora_tink-1
Did no one laugh at this? canadianidiott66
Overrated, not aged well? sdb_1970
Brilliant casting except for... Cali7
AFI's Top 10 Courtroom Dramas thilo-950-73752
Did Christine Vole commit perjury? Mkeydude
Discuss Witness for the Prosecution (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page