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Witness (1985) Poster

(1985)

Goofs

Crew or equipment visible 

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.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When John Book is meeting the people whose barn they just raised, they inform him that they are just married. John's voice says "That's great" but his lips do not.

Character error 

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?

Continuity 

During the train ride to Philadelphia, the paint on the locomotive changes from a wide red and blue band separated by a narrow white one, to equal red, white and blue bands.
John Book's Volkswagen hit the birdhouse and broke its windshield. Later the car is seen in the barn with an unbroken windshield.
Rachel's cap strings when Rachel and John see each other for the last time.
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When Samuel looks at the hand gun in the drawer, it is lying in two different positions, in the different camera angles.
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After Book drives into the birdhouse, and Rachel opens the car door, Book's wound has bled down his right pant leg nearly to his knee. When Book is placed on the wagon, however, the wound has not bled down his pant leg.
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The first time Book goes to Strasburg with Eli to use the phone, the initial shot shows the horse and buggy pulling into a "parking space." On the next shot, we watch John exit the buggy and walk toward the phone. As John passes the horse, we see that the horse has been been chained to hold it in place. As John passes the horse and group of people, we see Eli exit the buggy, then walk up to join the group. How the horse got chained, or who did it, is unexplained.
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As Rachel and Samuel watch Daniel drive his wagon alongside of the Amtrak train, the road becomes a lumberyard then quickly reappears.
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Factual errors 

As stated in the script, Amish people do not consider buttons "plain" and don't wear them. However, many times the Amish men are seen wearing button down shirts or vests.
The Amish clothes are shown with buttons, men's shirts and coats. The Amish use straight pins in place of buttons, where Mennonite's use buttons on their clothes.
In the scene where Rachel hands him his gun, Book puts it in his side pants pocket. Amish men's clothes do not have side pockets.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

At the time this movie was made, Amish carriages were not required to have reflectors. Since then, an agreement between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Amish community has required the reflectors to be present.
When Samuel is hiding from McPhee in the bathroom cubicle, he stands on the toilet seat, holding the two toilet walls. At first glance, it would seem that his fingers are on the top of the walls (and would therefore be easily seen by McPhee in the next cubicle), but closer examination shows that his fingers are actually beneath the top of the toilet wall as is the hat in his right hand.
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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.
"We've got a barn to build, and only a day to do it"... and yet they start the barn raising around noon (judging by the shadows) instead of the crack of dawn.

Revealing mistakes 

The beards on many of the Amish men who appear throughout the film are obvious fakes glued onto non-Amish actors.
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.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Book is confronting Schaeffer in the barn, the left-hand part of his shirt is sticking out of his pants; the camera then cuts away, and when it cuts back his shirt is tucked into his pants.

Continuity 

Near the end of the film, when John Book is saying good-bye to Samuel, they are both shown full-front, sitting in the grass, with a farm pond right in front of them. Yet, when Book gets up to leave, the two are being filmed from behind. Book stands, then walks directly away from Samuel. The pond has disappeared.

Continuity 

Fergie's sunglasses disappear between shots as he walks behind the barn.

Plot holes 

When Book is being pursued in the barn by Fergie, several gunshots are fired which seem to go unheard by the neighboring Amish. Yet they can hear the bell being rung by Samuel.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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