7.4/10
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181 user 90 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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(story by), (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Frederick Rolf ...
Stoltzfus
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John Garson ...
Bishop Tchantz
Beverly May ...
Ed Crowley ...
Sheriff
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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 stalls. 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:

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  »

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

The Amish speak German in the film, even though it's seldom spoken by the community in real-life. See more »

Goofs

The Amish clothes are shown with buttons, men's shirts and coats. The Amish use straight pins in place of buttons, where Mennonite's use buttons on their clothes. See more »

Quotes

Rachel Lapp: Your sister says you don't have a family.
John Book: No, I don't.
Rachel Lapp: She thinks that you ought to get married and have children of your own, instead of trying to be a father to hers.
John Book: Yeah.
Rachel Lapp: Except she thinks you are afraid of the responsibility.
John Book: That's interesting... anything else?
Rachel Lapp: Mm hm... she thinks you like policing because you think you are right about everything and you're the only one who can do anything, and when you drink a lot of beer you say things like 'none of the other police know a crook from a ...
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Crazy Credits

The closing shot of John Book, driving away in his car passing Daniel provides an initial backdrop for the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Action Hero (1993) 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

not so flawed...
27 January 2002 | by 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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