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Witness (1985)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  8 February 1985 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 60,639 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 168 user | 77 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)

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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 | love | police | See All (89) »

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Weir didn't know anything about the Amish when he signed on to direct. He said making the movie was "learning as you go." See more »

Goofs

Rachel's cap strings when Rachel and John see each other for the last time. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Yoder: Everyone here has an idea about you and the Englishman Book.
Rachel Lapp: [forcing a smile] All of them charitable, I'm sure.
Mrs. Yoder: [straight-faced] Not one of them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in General Hospital: Episode #1.12712 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

PARTY DOWN
Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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