7.4/10
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177 user 84 critic

Witness (1985)

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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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

An 8 year old Amish boy and his mother are traveling to Philadelphia, on their way to visit the mother's sister. While waiting at the train station, the young boy witnesses a brutal murder inside one of the bathroom stall. Police detective John Book is assigned to investigate the murder of the man, who was a undercover cop. Soon after, Book finds out that he's in great danger when the culprits know about his investigation and hides out in the Amish community. There, he learns the way of living among the Amish locals, which consists of non-violence and agriculture. Book soon starts a romance with the mother of the little boy, but their romance is forbidden by the Amish standards. But, it's not long before the bad guys find out Book's whereabouts. Written by blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amish | murder | train | love | police | See All (89) »

Taglines:

8 year old Samuel: sole witness to a murder. Three killers who'll stop at nothing to silence him. One honest cop who'll give his life to save him... 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

It's quite some time before Lukas Haas says a word of dialogue. Angus MacInnes has only 4 lines in the entire film (3 of them spoken off-screen), all within the first third of the film. See more »

Goofs

When the Philadelphia cops are talking on the phone to the cops in Lancaster, first the Lancaster cop pronounces Lancaster (lank aster) like the county inhabitants do, but in the next breath, he pronounces it LANcaster like everyone outside a 25 mile radius does. Is he local or isn't he? See more »

Quotes

Rachel Lapp: [Book and Carter are driving around a rough neighborhood looking for a suspect that fits Samuel's description, with Rachel and Samuel in tow] Where are you taking us?
John Book: I'm sorry... we're looking for a suspect in the area, we'd like the kid to take a look at him.
Rachel Lapp: You have no right to keep us here.
John Book: Oh, yes I do. Your son's a material witness to a homicide.
Rachel Lapp: You don't understand. We want nothing to do with your laws.
John Book: Doesn't surprise me. A lot of people I meet are like that.
John Book: [...]
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Shocking Behavior
(1984)
Written by Paul Chiten and Sue Sheridan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

not so flawed...
27 January 2002 | by (London) – See all my reviews

An earlier comment on the site suggests that the film is flawed because the Amish boy, coming from a secure, peaceful environment, would not be able to witness a scene of brutality without becoming utterly traumatised.

Far from being a flaw, I believe this is a key statement of the theme of the film - that the close, peaceful and loving upbringing he has enjoyed provide the boy with an emotional strength and resilience that allows him to recognise evil and reject it. Later that same environment will provide the embittered and emotionally scarred with a temporary oasis where he can in part recover from the loveless violence of his own life.

Contrast the failure of community in the vast and soulless terminal building, where the first scene is set, where every one is isolated by the indifference and aggression of their fellow travellers, with the co-operative endeavour of the justly famous barn raising scene, where even the outsider is welcomed and included in an act of joint creation.


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