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 ...
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

Harrison Ford joined the Philadelphia Police Department in preparation for the movie. He even joined them on numerous raids. See more »

Goofs

When the Philadelphia cops are talking on the phone to the cops in Lancaster, first the Lancaster cop pronounces Lancaster (lank aster) like the county inhabitants do, but in the next breath, he pronounces it LANcaster like everyone outside a 25 mile radius does. Is he local or isn't he? See more »

Quotes

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

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 Bob's Burgers: Lice Things Are Lice (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Party Down
Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Great story, great filmmaking
23 May 2001 | by 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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