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Witness (1985)

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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.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

William Kelley (story by), Pamela Wallace (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,545 ( 384)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Frederick Rolf ... Stoltzfus
Viggo Mortensen ... Moses Hochleitner
John Garson John Garson ... Bishop Tchantz
Beverly May Beverly May ... Mrs. Yoder
Ed Crowley 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

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Called Home See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The bar where Book runs in and grabs an assumed suspect was a real bar in the 1200 block of South Street. It closed a year later, was torn down, and was an empty lot for years. See more »

Goofs

During the breakfast scene after John milks cows, Eli uses an office chair with wheels to go from the stove to the table. It is unlikely that Eli would have been able to obtain such a chair (whether from an office supply store, thrift shop, salvage yard, etc.) given the Amish have little contact outside their community.

Contrary to what tourists might think, Amish do shop at regular stores like Kmart, Target, Walmart, and Staples and would use an office chair, especially if they got a good deal. There are often items like office chairs for sale at Lancaster County mud sales, both being bought and sold by Amish. See more »

Quotes

John Book: [John appears in Amish clothes before going to town with Eli, Rachel laughs, John approaches Rachel] My gun, I need my gun.
[Rachel gets the gun out of the cupboard, John turns to leave]
John Book: The bullets? Not much good without 'em.
Rachel Lapp: Of course.
[Rachel takes an almost empty can of flour and pours the bullets and remaining flour into John's hand]
John Book: Thanks.
[John blows the flour off his hand]
John Book: How do I look, I mean, do I look... Amish?
Rachel Lapp: You look plain.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Tom Scott. Scott was a member of the casting department on Witness. See more »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Regarding the accents...
8 April 2005 | by sslopSee all my reviews

I would like to clear up a couple of comments made by movieguy1021, who wrote:

"One thing I didn't understand is how come everyone seemed to use such strong accents yet they've been living in America for a long time."

Most Amish communities mainly speak Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of German, hence the accents in the film. Amish children learn English in school.

And:

"Also, although I may not be the end-all, be-all of Amish knowledge, it seems like for people so strict in their rules, they broke them easily. They didn't seem to object to riding in trains or cars, or even using technology."

The Amish accept some forms of modernisation as long as it is not deemed disruptive to their social structure. Some forms of primitive technology are accepted in their community, such as devices that assist with milking cows. Likewise they accept rides in cars, but members of the community cannot own them.


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