7.4/10
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176 user 83 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 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:

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)
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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

Harrison Ford starred with Robert Earl Jones' (The Custodian) son, James Earl Jones, in the Star Wars trilogy (1977 - 1983). They share one scene in this film - whilst Han Solo and Darth Vader share only two scenes in the entire Star Wars trilogy (both scenes in cloud city at the end of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)). See more »

Goofs

When Carter pulls the police files on Samuel and his mother, he finds a folder marked "Rachel Lapp" and removes it. He then flicks past a few more files and finds the one marked "Samuel Lapp". Although this might be correct if they were in alphabetical order by the entire name, the files would be more likely to have been held in order of surname, then first name, so the files would probably have been held consecutively. See more »

Quotes

Daniel Hochleitner: They say you are a carpenter.
John Book: Yeah.
Daniel Hochleitner: Well,we can always use a good one.
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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 »


Soundtracks

(What a) Wonderful World
(1959)
Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
Performed by Greg Chapman
Courtesy of Abkco Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One Of The Best Crime Moves Ever
24 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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