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Witness (1985)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  8 February 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 62,984 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 171 user | 79 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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Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frederick Rolf ...
John Garson ...
Beverly May ...
Ed Crowley ...


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 All (90) »


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 »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Called Home  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$65,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Book sits down to early morning breakfast with the Lapps, he quips, "Honey, that's great coffee," shocking Rachel by seeming to refer to her as "honey". He then explains that this was a joke, from some commercial. Among the personal quotes for Harrison Ford appears the basis for this line when the actor was commenting on the early days of his career: "I started by chasing a Folger's commercial. But I just somehow couldn't manage to say, 'Honey, that's a great cup of coffee'". See more »


As Rachel and Samuel watch Daniel drive his wagon alongside of the Amtrak train, the road becomes a lumberyard then quickly reappears. See more »


Rachel Lapp: Are you enjoying your reading?
John Book: Oh yeah. I'm learning a lot about manure. Very interesting.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Ten (2007) See more »


Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Witness This Film!
18 February 2003 | by (usa) – See all my reviews

Harrison Ford is one of those actors that often times just shows up and then there lies his character. This is the Harrison Ford school of acting. Not the case in "Witness". I won't begin to wonder what would have caused this change of pace, but it was quite a surprise to see. Peter Weir is a favorite director of mine, mainly for his life changing films (for the viewer and the characters alike), like "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Fearless" ... and I have sadly waited a very long time to get around to this one. Even 17 years after its initial release, it seems to still stand up with themes that truly speak. I expected some sort of a courtroom drama, but instead found a film that presents a dichotomy between old world and new world values and sensibilities and really asks whether change is always for the best. This is a profound and exciting thriller.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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