MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 893 this week

Witness (1985)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  8 February 1985 (USA)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 53,854 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.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (story), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 19 Jul 2011
 
a list of 34 titles
created 27 Aug 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 16 Aug 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 14 Sep 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Search for "Witness" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Witness (1985)

Witness (1985) on IMDb 7.5/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Witness.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban
Unfaithful (2002)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A New York suburban couple's marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife indulges in an adulterous fling.

Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

US military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider
Bitter Moon (1992)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Kathryn makes a bet that her step-brother, Sebastian, won't be able to bed Annette (a virgin, who wants to wait until love). If he loses, Kathryn gets his Jaguar, if he wins, he gets Kathryn.

Director: Roger Kumble
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon
Live Flesh (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After leaving jail, Víctor is still in love with Elena, but she's married to the former cop -now basketball player- who became paralysed by a shot from Víctor's gun...

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Liberto Rabal, Francesca Neri, Javier Bardem
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a disgraced former college professor has a romance with a mysterious younger woman haunted by her dark twisted past, he is forced to confront a shocking secret about his own life that he has kept secret for 50 years.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris
The Juror (1996)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When Annie Laird is selected as a juror in a big Mafia trial, she is forced by someone known as "The Teacher" to persuade the other jurors to vote "not guilty". He threatens to kill her son... See full summary »

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar, Blanca Portillo
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Barr is a psychiatrist who falls in love with the sister of one of his clients. She's beautiful and married (to a gangster). She hates her husband but is unable to escape from him. To avoid... See full summary »

Director: Phil Joanou
Stars: Richard Gere, Kim Basinger, Uma Thurman
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sylvester Stallone was an early choice for the role of John Book. When he turned down the role, he said it was one of the worst decisions of his career. See more »

Goofs

The beards on many of the Amish men who appear throughout the film are obvious fakes glued onto non-Amish actors. See more »

Quotes

John Book: If we'd made love last night I'd have to stay. Or you'd have to leave.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Though it obeys some of the Hollywood formulas, "Witness" proves to be one of the most entertaining, exciting thrillers of all time!
3 October 2001 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

I just recently watched this movie in my Development of Film class. We're studying the Social Drama. Last week we watched "Fury" with Spencer Tracy, so this week we watched a contemporary film in the genre. I have to give it up for Peter Weir! He did a spectacular job!

The premise is intriguing. A young Amish boy goes to the bathroom in a train station and witnesses a bloody murder. Enter Philadelphia cop John Book (Harrison Ford). Now, we had several discussions about this film and I started to realize some flaws that didn't exactly come clear in my mind at the time. First of all, a little innocent Amish boy isn't going to witness something that grisly and recover that well. Living in an Amish environment, he probably doesn't even know the definition of the word "violence." So the boy wouldn't be able to return to his native environment and go on with his life like usual. He'd keep having nightmares and flashbacks. He'd be traumatized 'til the day he dies! However, I have to note Lukas Haas delivered a terrific performance. I'm not sure how much appraise he got for this moderately thankless role. For a boy of his age to take on a role like that, I have to commend him. Lukas, in recent years, has concentrated on more independent works like "Boys" with Wynona Ryder and the underrated "johns" with David Arquette, in which he plays a gay prostitute. He's still a fine actor, and I'm impressed to see his advancement to more grown-up roles, but many probably forgot about him. So I think he should be remembered for that little role, even to this day. But typical Hollywood, Harrison Ford agrees to do a film--he's the star! And the whole subplot with the little boy gets pushed aside. Now, Harrison was terrific in this movie--probably why I wasn't bothered too much about him being the center of attention--and I think he's a very underrated actor (sure he's widely known, but recognize him more as a macho action hero than an actor), but I think if Weir decided to expand that subplot it would've made a more interesting film.

Kelly McGillis is convincing as the boy's Amish mother, who gets swept away by Book. Even as an Amish woman, I think she looked beautiful. I haven't exactly been traveling around Amish country, but I don't know how often you would find an Amish woman that beautiful. Plus, that scene where she's sponge-bathing topless--Wow! That brings me to another point. I like how Weir never actually decided to put a sex scene to demonstrate the relationship between her and Book. In the aforementioned sponge-bathing scene, there's a long period where they just stare at each other and there's absolutely no dialogue! I found that very impressive. It's a very erotic scene, without them actually having to jump into bed together. That's something you rarely see in the movies. The sexual tension between the two characters is simply impressed by their mannerisms. Danny Glover is convincingly frightening as the villain. Also look for an early performance by Viggo Mortensen. He doesn't have many--in fact, I don't if he has any--speaking parts, but he's in quite a few scenes.

There's a lot of good fish-out-of-water comedy when the city-born Book tries to learn the ways of the Amish. I was cracking up when Harrison puts on the Amish garb, with the bottom of his pants above his ankles. That's a picture worth a thousand words. Weir is fascinated by clashes in cultures, and it's highly evident in many scenes from this movie. Those scenes provide some good comic relief. This may be considered typical Hollywood, but I loved the scene where Harrison Ford gets out of the chariot (now as one of the Amish) to beat the crap out of one of the thugs who was giving them trouble. That was an awesome scene! Weir also captures some beautiful, sometimes breathtaking, shots of the scenery. The music is great too, especially in the barn-raising scene. The ending is well-done, and I liked how it wasn't one of those walk-into-the-sunset conclusions. I don't want to give anything away, but that was one of the non-typical Hollywood elements of the film.

Despite its now-discovered flaws, I still love this movie and wouldn't mind watching it on many repeat viewings. It's just a fascinating, wonderfully made piece of cinema that will hold its place in the history of celluloid. I urge you to witness this triumphant work!

My score: 9 (out of 10)


38 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best peformance Harrison Ford ever gave cjgalwey
Voice-over Removal? Did I dream it? danvhay
question about the last shot... roger_u_04
Cop who gets murdered in bathroom = Anthony LaPaglia?? jamesahab
who is this sister in baltimore? jeff.covey
filming locations firerescue3
Discuss Witness (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page