7.4/10
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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 ...
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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 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:

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)

Opening Weekend:

$4,539,990 (USA) (10 February 1985)

Gross:

$68,706,993 (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

The story for Witness was originally a plot outline for the television series Gunsmoke (1955). William Kelley and Earl W. Wallace had both been writers on Gunsmoke, and their original story had Marshall Dillon traveling to an Amish farm looking for a witness to a murder. See more »

Goofs

When Book tells Schaeffer that the young boy identified narcotics detective McFee as the murderer, the cameraman is visible in the reflection of the mirror. See more »

Quotes

Eli Lapp: This gun of the hand is for the taking of human life. We believe it is wrong to take a life. That is only for God. Many times wars have come and people have said to us: you must fight, you must kill, it is the only way to preserve the good. But Samuel, there's never only one way. Remember that. Would you kill another man?
Samuel Lapp: I would only kill the bad man.
Eli Lapp: Only the bad man. I see. And you know these bad men by sight? You are able to look into their hearts and see this badness?
Samuel Lapp: I can see what they ...
[...]
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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

Spoofed in Monsters, Inc. (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Party Down
Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
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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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