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Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  6 February 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 56,352 users  
Reviews: 197 user | 74 critic

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



(in Agatha Christie's international stage success), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #75 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
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Complete credited cast:
Torin Thatcher ...
Francis Compton ...
Philip Tonge ...


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 (70) »


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


Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

6 February 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Testigo de cargo  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Variet, the producers stationed guards at the doors to the soundstages. It was also said that at a command performance in London, Arthur Hornblow had managed to get the royal family to sign pledges that they would not divulge the film's surprise ending to their subjects. See more »


At one point in the movie they receive a phone call from the "witness" and there is an American-made Western Electric "Model 500" Key System phone in the background. See more »


Sir Wilfrid: We've disposed of the gallows, but there's still that banana peel somewhere.
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Crazy Credits

Before the film begins, a message appears onscreen saying that to avoid ruining the effect of the surprise ending, patrons should not take their seats during the last few minutes of the movie. See more »


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

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User Reviews

Superb and unjustly maligned film
31 July 2004 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews


I'm not sure I have the ability to adequately praise this film. The original short story(rather unremarkable, actually)has been expanded into a magnificent example of Hollywood entertainment at its best. In addition to perhaps the finest line-up of character actors ever assembled(next to Cukor's David Copperfield, that is), we get Laughton and Dietrich at the top of their form. The person who criticised Lanchester's performance as "annoying" missed the point entirely. Miss Plimsoll is meant to be annoying! Also, what's with all the bad-mouthing of Tyrone Power? "Hammy"; "terrible"; "worst performance ever". These are the perceptive IMDb reviews? Only one of you got it right: it's hammy because Leonard Vole is the one acting, not Power! For 95% of the film, the character is dissembling, only showing his true colors at the end. Of course it looks hammy: Vole isn't a born actor like his wife. And to all those know-it-alls who called this film mediocre and predictable, I look forward to your upcoming film projects which I'm sure will be paragons of excellence and worthy to be set alongside classics of the golden age.

129 of 156 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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