8.4/10
102,867
263 user 96 critic

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 6 February 1958 (USA)
Trailer
3:09 | Trailer
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Agatha Christie (in Agatha Christie's international stage success), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,026 ( 220)
Top Rated Movies #68 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Power ... Leonard Vole
Marlene Dietrich ... Christine
Charles Laughton ... Sir Wilfrid Roberts
Elsa Lanchester ... Miss Plimsoll
John Williams ... Brogan-Moore
Henry Daniell ... Mayhew
Ian Wolfe ... Carter
Torin Thatcher ... Mr. Myers
Norma Varden ... Mrs. Emily Jane French
Una O'Connor ... Janet MacKenzie
Francis Compton ... Judge
Philip Tonge ... Inspector Hearne
Ruta Lee ... Diana
Learn more

More Like This 

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked by a seductive housewife into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses the suspicion of an insurance investigator.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
The Apartment (1960)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
M (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A tennis player tries to arrange his wife's murder after learning of her affair.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
High and Low (1963)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai
Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Edit

Storyline

Britain, 1953. Upon his return to work following a heart attack, barrister takes on a murder case,. The case is defending American war vet Leonard Vole, a poor, out of work, struggling inventor who's accused of murdering his middle-aged lonely and wealthy acquaintance, Emily French. The evidence is circumstantial but points to Leonard as the murderer, butr the csse has constant revelations. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most electrifying entertainment of our time! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

William Holden was the first choice for Leonard, but he was unavailable. Billy Wilder and the producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. then went to Tyrone Power, who turned down the part. Other actors considered for the role included Gene Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, and even Roger Moore. Eventually, Tyrone Power accepted the role when he was offered both Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Solomon and Sheba (1959) for $300,000 each. Before he could complete Solomon however, Power had a fatal heart attack and was replaced by Yul Brynner. Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth were also considered for the role of Christine Helm. See more »

Goofs

When Vole, in his cell, starts relating the story of how he and Christine met, the scene dissolves into a flashback while Vole is speaking. But as it begins to dissolve, Vole, still clearly visible, has stopped talking even as his voice-over continues its narration. See more »

Quotes

Bar Patron: Hey Fräulein, show us some legs!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the film begins, a message appears onscreen saying that to avoid ruining the effect of the surprise ending, patrons should not take their seats during the last few minutes of the movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Archer: Archer: 1999 -- Robert De Niro (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

I May Never Go Home Anymore
Music by Ralph Arthur Roberts
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Sung by Marlene Dietrich (uncredited)
Reprised a cappella by Tyrone Power (uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

 
EntertainingTrial Movie That Still Holds Up
8 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This is one of the best "trial movies" ever made. It's an outstanding film that is just as good today as it was almost 50 years ago when it was released in the theaters. The shocking ending caused quite a stir back then, too.

The only part of the movie I thought looked dated and unrealistic was Tyrone Power's character being able to interrupt the trial with outbursts and not be reprimanded for it. There is no way that would be tolerated, at least today.

Otherwise, it's a pretty solid film with a good cast that includes two fascinating characters played by actors who know how to entertain: Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich.

Laughton, who plays Power's defense attorney, grabs the spotlight in the story but Dietrich almost steals the movie in her role as Power's wife. Laughton's dialog is terrific throughout, bringing a number of laughs to this serious film. He's just a joy to watch. Dietrich is even more riveting but just doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of screen time as Laughton.

Not to be overlooked is Elsa Lanchester, playing Laughton's nurse. She, too, demonstrates her comedic talent and significantly adds to the fun of watching this film.

If you like some fine drama, storyline twists, a little humor thrown in and great acting and dialog, this is a classic film to check out.


69 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 263 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

6 February 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Witness for the Prosecution See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,693
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed