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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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 | love | police | See All (90) »

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

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Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Called Home  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$65,500,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An advertiser wanted to capture the look of this film for a TV commercial for his product. When he interviewed directors of photography, he told them he wanted the look of this film. One of the people interviewed was John Seale, the director of photography for this film. Ironically, Seale did not get the job. See more »

Goofs

"We've got a barn to build, and only a day to do it"... and yet they start the barn raising around noon (judging by the shadows) instead of the crack of dawn. See more »

Quotes

Rachel Lapp: I should tell you this kind of coat doesn't have buttons. See? Hooks and eyes.
John Book: Something wrong with buttons?
Rachel Lapp: Buttons are proud and vain, not plain.
John Book: Got anything against zippers?
Rachel Lapp: Are you making fun of me?
John Book: No.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

PARTY DOWN
Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Great story, great filmmaking
23 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

'Witness' is about a guy who is a total product of the big city - he's a tough cop, he relies on cars, phones, and guns - who hides at an Amish farm to prevent a boy (the witness) and himself from being found by the killers.

The film is less about Harrison Ford learning to live among the Amish as it is the Amish learning to live with Ford. He is a man who at first glance has no matching ideals. The film is fantastic on that level, especially thanks to Peter Weir's direction, who brilliantly shows Ford gradually becoming accepted by the Amish men.

There is very little dialogue among the characters, and Rachel (McGillis) talks even less, not because she doesn't have anything to say, but because Amish rules of life don't seem to allow her to. They are presented as a quiet people, so McGillis has the difficult task of making Rachel speak without dialogue, and she does it well, which carries over to Ford (he got an Oscar nomination, she didn't).

It's only at the climax of the film, when the action takes over that the film begins to weaken. The filmmakers seem to have some kind of answer to how the killer's storyline should be resolved, but it's not very good.

Despite the flaw, the film is excellent based on the performances of the cast, the editor who had to put all the dialogue-less scenes together (and later, won the Oscar for it), and Weir's masterful handling of the story.


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