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Witness (1985)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  8 February 1985 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 55,255 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 156 user | 73 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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(story), (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: Witness (1985)

Witness (1985) on IMDb 7.5/10

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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 more »

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

The script's original title was "Called Home" which is the Amish term for death. 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

Chief Paul Schaeffer: Calling me at home. I can't trace the call. That's smart, John, very smart.
John Book: Lost the meaning, did you, Paul?
Chief Paul Schaeffer: What?
John Book: Isn't that what you used to say about dirty cops? Somewhere along the way they lost the meaning?
Chief Paul Schaeffer: Now don't make this difficult, John. We know where you are. We're about to...
John Book: Oh no, man, you got it wrong. I'm coming to get you!
Chief Paul Schaeffer: [laughs] I like your style, John. I've always liked your style.
John Book: I'm gonna do to you whatever you did to Zenovich. And whatever you did to Carter, I'm gonna ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.18 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

(WHAT A) WONDERFUL WORLD
(1959)
Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
Performed on a radio by Greg Chapman
Also partially sung by Harrison Ford (uncredited) and danced by him with Kelly McGillis (uncredited)
Courtesy of Abkco Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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