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Witness (1985)

Trailer
1:19 | Trailer
When 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
2,834 ( 168)
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 ... 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 an 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

Plot Keywords:

amish | murder | train | love | police | See All (111) »

Taglines:

8 year old Samuel: sole witness to a murder. Three killers who'll stop at nothing to silence him. One honest cop who'll give his life to save him... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alexander Godunov later played the role of "Amish Dad" in North (1994). 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: Samuel, the man who was killed tonight was a policeman, and it's my job to find out what happened. I want you to tell me everything you saw when you went into the bathroom.
Samuel Lapp: Um... there were two.
John Book: There were TWO men?
Samuel Lapp: I only saw one.
John Book: [turning to Carter] Does anybody else know about this?
Det. Sgt. Elden Carter: No, no one's had a chance to talk to him.
John Book: What did he look like, the man that you saw?
Samuel Lapp: He was... like him.
[pointing at Carter]
John Book: He was a black man, had black skin?
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The closing shot of John Book driving away in his car passing Daniel provides an initial backdrop for the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the VHS version, just after John Book is shot, we see a close-up of his gun and a voice-over from an earlier conversation Book had with the captain. We hear the words: "Who else knows about this? "Just you and me." In the DVD version, we see the close-up of the gun and then it segues to Book's sister waking up Rachel and her son Samuel, minus the voice-over. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.18 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Party Down
Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,539,990, 10 February 1985

Gross USA:

$68,706,993

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$68,706,993
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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