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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
The Amish speak German in the film, even though it's seldom spoken by the community in real life. See more »
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 »
[Book is in town with Eli. Eli and the other Amish are trying to avoid the tourists with cameras]
Hi! We're just here for the day, would you mind...
Lady, you take my picture with that thing and I'm gonna rip your brassiere off... and strangle you with it! You got that?
[in disbelief, to no one in particular]
Did you hear what that Amish just said to me?
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For Tom Scott. Scott was a member of the casting department on Witness. See more »
You want to know how to make a successful movie? Just look here. You have tremendous suspense, a top-flight popular actor as the hero, a touching romance story, plenty of action, a different kind of setting than normal, people you care about, nice photography, very moral and very immoral people, a little humor.....I mean, this is how it's done.
I also appreciated seeing Amish people (of which I am not) portrayed in a better light than secular Hollywood usually puts them. I also liked the wholesome female lead Kelly McGillis (although she was the only Amish character out of character, a bit loose than what you would ever find) and who didn't think young Lukas Haas was the cutest kid they ever saw on film?
Harrison Ford gives a typical solid performance as John Book, a Philadelphia detective who winds up protecting the young boy ("Samuel Lapp"), his mom (McGillis as "Rachel Lapp") and others against crooked cops (Hollywood's favorite kind). Along the way, he is near-fatally shot and winds up being cared for and living in the Amish community in which the Lapps reside. During that time, we also have the blossoming romance between the two leads and then a dramatic shootout at the end when the cops find out where "Book" is staying.
There are many memorable scenes in this movie, from the boy hiding in the bathroom stall as a murder takes place; Ford slugging some goon who was making fun of the Amish; Ford and McGillis dancing in the hayloft to an old rock 'n roll tune; the Amish lifestyles and the raising of the barn; and the suspenseful ending.
This is a great stuff: one of the best crime stories of the "modern age" and one of the few "R-rated" films that reached this high a popularity.
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