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Witness (1985)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  8 February 1985 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 53,784 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 154 user | 72 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

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Title: Witness (1985)

Witness (1985) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Frederick Rolf ...
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John Garson ...
Beverly May ...
Ed Crowley ...
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Storyline

Samuel Lap is a young Amish boy who witnesses a murder in Philadelphia while traveling with his mother Rachel. A good cop named John Book must go with them into hiding when the killers come after them. All three retreat to Amish country and Book has to adjust to the new life style, and his feelings for the boy's mother. Of course the killers are still on their trail. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amish | murder | train | police | love | See more »

Taglines:

Harrison Ford is John Book - A big city cop who knows too much. His only evidence: a small boy who's seen too much... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Called Home  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$65,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The climax at the final scene was inspired in part by High Noon (1952), in which an outnumbered man takes out his foes one by one, using his wits and ingenuity. See more »

Goofs

After Book drives into the birdhouse, and Rachel opens the car door, Book's wound has bled down his right pant leg nearly to his knee. When Book is placed on the wagon, however, the wound has not bled down his pant leg. See more »

Quotes

Det. 'Fergie': What you doing, man?
Det. Lt. James McFee: Washing my hands, man!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Tom Scott. Scott was a member of the casting department on Witness. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Commune: A New Cult Classic (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

(WHAT A) WONDERFUL WORLD
(1959)
Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
Performed on a radio by Greg Chapman
Also partially sung by Harrison Ford (uncredited) and danced by him with Kelly McGillis (uncredited)
Courtesy of Abkco Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
topnotch
13 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

This is one of those movies whose virtues and subtleties become more and more apparent with subsequent viewings. The crime story is nothing more than a pretense - a "MacGuffin", in Hitchcock's phrase - on which to hang this sensitive and insightful story of the conflict between modernity and the culture of the Amish, which is portrayed here with admiring respect and not a hint of condescension.

Harrison Ford's portrayal of John Book is perhaps his finest work on screen so far. In particular, Book's struggle to suppress his rising attraction for Rachel, and his tormented realization that a relationship between them is not possible, is achingly portrayed. Ford's effort is well-matched by Kelly McGillis, whose beauty here is almost breathtaking. The erotic interplay between them, because it is unconsummated, radiates an almost painful tension, and the easily lampooned "running through the field" scene - because it has been led up to so convincingly - is almost heartbreaking. The character of Eli Lapp, wonderfully played by Jan Rubes, is richly multifaceted. His suspicion of the "English" outsider and his anger at Rachel's attraction to him, is surmounted by an underlying humanity. His parting words to Book, "You be careful out there among them English," are moving testimony to his acceptance of him. His stern yet loving dialogue to his grandson about renouncing hatred and violence is a treasured moment.

Both direction and cinematography are splendid. The simplicity of Amish interiors is shot in a way that makes its austerity almost beautiful, and the barnraising scene is an exercise in cinematic lyricism.

It would be easy to fault the movie for the facile scene in which the punks taunting of Book's newfound friends and protectors drives him over the edge (Eli: "It's not our way, Book" Book: "No, but it's MY way."), but his gift to the young thug of a bloody nose is mighty satisfying to behold.

My one criticism is with the music; certainly not with the venerable Maurice Jarre's score itself, but with its paltry synthesized realization. They should have found the money to spring for a full orchestra.

In short, a highly satisfying, richly themed, and multifacted film which is well worth watching.


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