IMDb > Witness (1985)
Witness
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Witness (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.5/10   57,461 votes »
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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
William Kelley (story) and
Pamela Wallace (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Witness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 February 1985 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 26 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Though it obeys some of the Hollywood formulas, "Witness" proves to be one of the most entertaining, exciting thrillers of all time! See more (163 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Harrison Ford ... John Book

Kelly McGillis ... Rachel

Josef Sommer ... Schaeffer

Lukas Haas ... Samuel

Jan Rubes ... Eli Lapp

Alexander Godunov ... Daniel Hochleitner

Danny Glover ... McFee

Brent Jennings ... Carter

Patti LuPone ... Elaine

Angus MacInnes ... Fergie
Frederick Rolf ... Stoltzfus

Viggo Mortensen ... Moses Hochleitner
John Garson ... Bishop Tchantz
Beverly May ... Mrs. Yoder
Ed Crowley ... Sheriff
Timothy Carhart ... Zenovich

Sylvia Kauders ... Tourist Lady
Marian Swan ... Mrs. Schaeffer
Maria Bradley ... Schaeffer's Daughter
Rozwill Young ... T-Bone
Paul S. Nuss ... Amish
Emily Mary Haas ... Amish
Fred Steinharter ... Amish
John D. King ... Amish
Paul Goss ... Amish
Annemarie Vallerio ... Amish
Bruce E. Camburn ... Amish
William Francis ... Town Man
Tom Kennedy ... Ticket Seller (as Tom W. Kennedy)
Ardyth Kaiser ... Couple in Garage
Thomas Quinn ... Couple in Garage
Eugene Dooley ... Detective
Victoria Scott D'Angelo ... Detective

Richard Chaves ... Detective
Tim Moyer ... Detective
Nino Del Buono ... Detective
James Frank Clark ... Detective (as James Clark)
Joseph Kelly ... Detective
Norman Carter ... Detective
Craig Clement ... Detective
Robert Earl Jones ... Custodian
Michael Levering ... Hoodlum
Cara Giallanza ... Hoodlum
Anthony Dean Rubes ... Hoodlum
Bernie Styles ... Counterman
Blossom Terry ... Mother in Station
Jennifer Mancuso ... Little Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nancy Kirk ... Crying Amish Woman at Funeral (uncredited)

LaVerne Shank ... Young Amish Man (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Weir 
 
Writing credits
William Kelley (story by) and
Pamela Wallace (story by) &
Earl W. Wallace (story by)

Earl W. Wallace (screenplay by) &
William Kelley (screenplay by)

Produced by
David Bombyk .... co-producer
Edward S. Feldman .... producer
Wendy Stites .... associate producer (as Wendy Weir)
 
Original Music by
Maurice Jarre (music composed by)
 
Cinematography by
John Seale (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Thom Noble 
 
Casting by
Dianne Crittenden (casting)
 
Production Design by
Stan Jolley 
 
Set Decoration by
John H. Anderson  (as John Anderson)
 
Makeup Department
Leland V. Crawford .... hair stylist
Marie Delrusso .... makeup artist
Michael Hancock .... makeup supervisor (as Michael A. Hancock)
Bette Iverson .... supervising hair stylist (as Bette L. Iverson)
Jay Cannistraci .... additional makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Ted Swanson .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pamela M. Eilerson .... second assistant director (as Pamela Eilerson)
David McGiffert .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Carlos Acosta .... props (as Carlos L. Acosta)
Frank L. Brown .... lead man
Craig Edgar .... set designer
David Goldman .... props (as David M. Goldman)
Robert Krume .... construction coordinator
 
Sound Department
Pamela Bentkowski .... foley editor
Alan Bromberg .... foley editor
Norval D. Crutcher .... sound effects editor (as Norval Crutcher)
Don Digirolamo .... re-recording mixer
Humberto Gatica .... recording mixer
Robert Glass .... re-recording mixer (as Bob Glass)
Cecelia Hall .... supervising sound effects editor
Frank Howard .... sound effects editor
Robert Knudson .... re-recording mixer (as Buzz Knudson)
Alan L. Nineberg .... sound effects editor
Andrew Patterson .... sound effects editor
Bruce Richardson .... sound effects editor (as Paul Bruce Richardson)
Fred Stafford .... adr supervisor
Barry Thomas .... sound mixer (as Barry D. Thomas)
George Watters II .... supervising sound effects editor
Forest Williams .... boom man (as Forrest R. Williams)
Edward M. Steidele .... foley artist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
John R. Elliott .... special effects
Charles E. Dolan .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Gary Epper .... stunt coordinator
Gary Epper .... stunts
Anderson Martin .... stunts
Bob Minor .... stunts
Glenn R. Wilder .... stunt coordinator (as Glenn Wilder)
Vic Armstrong .... stunt double: Mr. Ford (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Charlie Clifton .... cameraman: second unit (as Chuck Clifton)
Lawrence K. Freeman .... electrical best boy
Chaim Kantor .... second assistant cameraman
Robin P. Knight .... key grip (as Robin Knight)
Dan Lerner .... camera operator
Bruce MacCallum .... first assistant cameraman
Bernie Schwartz .... dolly grip
Gary Tandrow .... gaffer (as Gary B. Tandrow)
Josh Weiner .... stills
 
Casting Department
Elina deSantos .... location casting: Philadelphia
Tom Scott .... location casting: Lancaster
Ilene Starger .... casting associate
Gail Walton .... location casting: Philadelphia
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Paula Cain .... costumer
Dallas D. Dornan .... costume supervisor
Shari Feldman .... costume supervisor
Michael W. Hoffman .... costumer
 
Editorial Department
Michael Amundsen .... apprentice editor
Joan E. Chapman .... assistant editor
Bob Noland .... color timer
Jane Moran .... first assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Michel Mention .... assistant: Maurice Jarre
Richard Stone .... supervising music editor: Segue Music
 
Transportation Department
Clifford D. Hill .... transportation
 
Other crew
Eugene Dooley .... police advisor: Philadelphia Police Dept. (as Capt. Eugene Dooley)
Nora Dunfee .... dialect consultant: Amish
Eyal Geva .... assistant: Mr. Weir
Cara Giallanza .... production assistant
John D. King .... advisor: Amish
Michael Klastorin .... publicist
Michael John Meehan .... location manager (as Michael Meehan)
Judith Pritchard .... secretary to Mr. Swanson (as Judy Pritchard)
Sandra Rabins .... production auditor
Diane Schneier .... production assistant
Gloria Slate .... assistant: Messrs. Feldman and Bombyk
Lynn Stewart .... production assistant
Ruth Tighe .... production assistant
Cynnie Troup .... script supervisor
Hope Williams .... script supervisor
T.J. Healy II .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Tom Scott .... in memory of
Dick Thornburgh .... the producers wish to express their appreciation for the assistance and cooperation of (as Governor Dick Thornburgh)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
112 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Alexander Godunov's English language debut.See more »
Goofs:
Plot holes: When Samuel is in the toilet cubicle and makes a noise after the murder, McFee hears the noise and starts to check the cubicles. Fergie says "I already did that." But if he did he would have seen the boy who was there before they came in.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Video Violence (1987) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
SHOCKING BEHAVIORSee more »

FAQ

Any recommendations for other movies set in an Amish community?
Is this movie based on a novel?
What song was playing during the dance scene?
See more »
41 out of 49 people found the following review useful.
Though it obeys some of the Hollywood formulas, "Witness" proves to be one of the most entertaining, exciting thrillers of all time!, 3 October 2001
Author: mattymatt4ever from Jersey City, NJ

I just recently watched this movie in my Development of Film class. We're studying the Social Drama. Last week we watched "Fury" with Spencer Tracy, so this week we watched a contemporary film in the genre. I have to give it up for Peter Weir! He did a spectacular job!

The premise is intriguing. A young Amish boy goes to the bathroom in a train station and witnesses a bloody murder. Enter Philadelphia cop John Book (Harrison Ford). Now, we had several discussions about this film and I started to realize some flaws that didn't exactly come clear in my mind at the time. First of all, a little innocent Amish boy isn't going to witness something that grisly and recover that well. Living in an Amish environment, he probably doesn't even know the definition of the word "violence." So the boy wouldn't be able to return to his native environment and go on with his life like usual. He'd keep having nightmares and flashbacks. He'd be traumatized 'til the day he dies! However, I have to note Lukas Haas delivered a terrific performance. I'm not sure how much appraise he got for this moderately thankless role. For a boy of his age to take on a role like that, I have to commend him. Lukas, in recent years, has concentrated on more independent works like "Boys" with Wynona Ryder and the underrated "johns" with David Arquette, in which he plays a gay prostitute. He's still a fine actor, and I'm impressed to see his advancement to more grown-up roles, but many probably forgot about him. So I think he should be remembered for that little role, even to this day. But typical Hollywood, Harrison Ford agrees to do a film--he's the star! And the whole subplot with the little boy gets pushed aside. Now, Harrison was terrific in this movie--probably why I wasn't bothered too much about him being the center of attention--and I think he's a very underrated actor (sure he's widely known, but recognize him more as a macho action hero than an actor), but I think if Weir decided to expand that subplot it would've made a more interesting film.

Kelly McGillis is convincing as the boy's Amish mother, who gets swept away by Book. Even as an Amish woman, I think she looked beautiful. I haven't exactly been traveling around Amish country, but I don't know how often you would find an Amish woman that beautiful. Plus, that scene where she's sponge-bathing topless--Wow! That brings me to another point. I like how Weir never actually decided to put a sex scene to demonstrate the relationship between her and Book. In the aforementioned sponge-bathing scene, there's a long period where they just stare at each other and there's absolutely no dialogue! I found that very impressive. It's a very erotic scene, without them actually having to jump into bed together. That's something you rarely see in the movies. The sexual tension between the two characters is simply impressed by their mannerisms. Danny Glover is convincingly frightening as the villain. Also look for an early performance by Viggo Mortensen. He doesn't have many--in fact, I don't if he has any--speaking parts, but he's in quite a few scenes.

There's a lot of good fish-out-of-water comedy when the city-born Book tries to learn the ways of the Amish. I was cracking up when Harrison puts on the Amish garb, with the bottom of his pants above his ankles. That's a picture worth a thousand words. Weir is fascinated by clashes in cultures, and it's highly evident in many scenes from this movie. Those scenes provide some good comic relief. This may be considered typical Hollywood, but I loved the scene where Harrison Ford gets out of the chariot (now as one of the Amish) to beat the crap out of one of the thugs who was giving them trouble. That was an awesome scene! Weir also captures some beautiful, sometimes breathtaking, shots of the scenery. The music is great too, especially in the barn-raising scene. The ending is well-done, and I liked how it wasn't one of those walk-into-the-sunset conclusions. I don't want to give anything away, but that was one of the non-typical Hollywood elements of the film.

Despite its now-discovered flaws, I still love this movie and wouldn't mind watching it on many repeat viewings. It's just a fascinating, wonderfully made piece of cinema that will hold its place in the history of celluloid. I urge you to witness this triumphant work!

My score: 9 (out of 10)

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Message Boards

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Best peformance Harrison Ford ever gave cjgalwey
Mike Tyson in the lineup? ozzwepay
Cop who gets murdered in bathroom = Anthony LaPaglia?? jamesahab
What Happened to John Book? rjames1973
Why not call the FBI? JurijFedorov
question about the last shot... rogeruvalle
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