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The Witness (1969)

A tanú (original title)
Banned for over a decade for its outspoken criticism of the post-WWII communist regime in Hungary, Péter Bacsó's 'The Witness' has since then achieved unparalleled cult status in its native... See full summary »


Péter Bacsó




Credited cast:
Ferenc Kállai Ferenc Kállai ... Pelikán József, gátõr
Lajos Öze Lajos Öze ... Virág Árpád (as Õze Lajos)
Béla Both Béla Both ... Bástya elvtárs
Zoltán Fábri ... Dániel Zoltán
Lili Monori ... Gizi
Károly Bicskey Károly Bicskey ... Gulyás Elemér
György Kézdy György Kézdy ... Virág testõre
József Horváth József Horváth ... Vasutas
Róbert Rátonyi Róbert Rátonyi ... Operettszínész
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
György Bálint György Bálint
Pál Bánó Pál Bánó ... Bíró
Mária Dudás Mária Dudás ... Gépírónõ
Tibor Fehér Tibor Fehér ... Börtönõr
Károly Garamszegi Károly Garamszegi
György Györffy György Györffy ... Börtönigazgató


Banned for over a decade for its outspoken criticism of the post-WWII communist regime in Hungary, Péter Bacsó's 'The Witness' has since then achieved unparalleled cult status in its native land. Known as the best satire about communism, 'The Witness' has become a cult classic, which was also well received by critics and general audiences alike when it was finally released outside of Hungary. Its candid and realistic portrayal of the incompetent communist regime has earned great acclaim for both the director and the film itself when it was shown at Cannes Film Festival in 1981. 'The Witness' takes place during the height of the Rákosi Era, which was closely modeled after the ruthless and brutal Stalin regime. The film follows the life of an ordinary dike keeper, József Pelikán, who has been caught for illegally slaughtering his pig, Dezsõ. Instead of doing hard time for his "heinous" crime, Pelikán is elevated into an important position, generally reserved for the communist elite. Of ... Written by Zoltan Furedi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Comedy

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The character Comrade Virágh is the satire of the all powerful secret police general of the era Gábor Péter. This is very obvious when Virágh is speaking highly of Pelican's jacket as the civil job of Péter was a tailor. See more »


Virág Árpád: But remember: those who don't trust us, don't trust themselves and those who don't trust us don't trust our bright future, either. And those who don't trust our happy, bright future... are traitors.
See more »


Referenced in Ereszd el a szakállamat! (1975) See more »


Jaj, cica
Music by Emmerich Kálmán
Lyrics by Leo Stein and Béla Jenbach
Performed by Róbert Rátonyi
See more »

User Reviews

No, Not there!!!!!
19 July 2004 | by PinkaiSee all my reviews

Thanks to my Hungarian colleague, who lent me the DVD, I watched this interesting and excellent movie. And what a movie it was!

From the beginning till the end, this absurd drama entertains, amuses and at the same time, makes one think. The best point of this movie is the central character, who is a simple person, who does not know how to protest, who believes that all the decisions taken by (and the words uttered by) the Comrades in power must be correct, and who therefore obeys their orders unquestioned, and yet tries to be innovative, and thus unwittingly exposes the stupidity and absurdity that lies at the core of their ideology.

I never knew that Hungary makes good movies (maybe because of the more widely known movies and movie makers from Poland and Czech; though I was told that Hungary produces perhaps the best brains in the world, at least, in Mathematics.), but now I know it otherwise.

If you like a good political satire, just watch it.

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Release Date:

6 June 1979 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

A testemunha See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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