7.4/10
77,166
191 user 92 critic

Witness (1985)

Trailer
1:19 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
2,000 ( 86)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Fugitive (1993)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt led by a seasoned U.S. Marshal.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

As a lawyer investigates the murder of a colleague, he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Harrison Ford, Raul Julia, Greta Scacchi
Patriot Games (1992)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When CIA analyst Jack Ryan interferes with an IRA assassination, a renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Bean, Anne Archer
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After being shot, a man loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, Michael Haley
Air Force One (1997)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Communist Radicals hijack Air Force One with The U.S. President and his family on board. The Vice President negotiates from Washington D.C., while the President, a Veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close
Frantic (1988)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Harrison Ford, Betty Buckley, Emmanuelle Seigner
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An inventor spurns his city life to move his family into the jungles of Central America to make a utopia.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix
Working Girl (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

CIA Analyst Jack Ryan is drawn into an illegal war fought by the US government against a Colombian drug cartel.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer
Edit

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
Edit

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:

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay. See more »

Goofs

When Book sends Samuel to Hochleitner's farm to escape Schaffer and his men, it is barely daylight and foggy. After the first gunshots are heard a short time later, Samuel appears in midday sunlight. 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 »

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

Referenced in General Hospital: Episode #1.12712 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

(What a) Wonderful World
(1959)
Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
Performed by Greg Chapman
Courtesy of Abkco Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
topnotch
13 September 2002 | by rupieSee all my reviews

This is one of those movies whose virtues and subtleties become more and more apparent with subsequent viewings. The crime story is nothing more than a pretense - a "MacGuffin", in Hitchcock's phrase - on which to hang this sensitive and insightful story of the conflict between modernity and the culture of the Amish, which is portrayed here with admiring respect and not a hint of condescension.

Harrison Ford's portrayal of John Book is perhaps his finest work on screen so far. In particular, Book's struggle to suppress his rising attraction for Rachel, and his tormented realization that a relationship between them is not possible, is achingly portrayed. Ford's effort is well-matched by Kelly McGillis, whose beauty here is almost breathtaking. The erotic interplay between them, because it is unconsummated, radiates an almost painful tension, and the easily lampooned "running through the field" scene - because it has been led up to so convincingly - is almost heartbreaking. The character of Eli Lapp, wonderfully played by Jan Rubes, is richly multifaceted. His suspicion of the "English" outsider and his anger at Rachel's attraction to him, is surmounted by an underlying humanity. His parting words to Book, "You be careful out there among them English," are moving testimony to his acceptance of him. His stern yet loving dialogue to his grandson about renouncing hatred and violence is a treasured moment.

Both direction and cinematography are splendid. The simplicity of Amish interiors is shot in a way that makes its austerity almost beautiful, and the barnraising scene is an exercise in cinematic lyricism.

It would be easy to fault the movie for the facile scene in which the punks taunting of Book's newfound friends and protectors drives him over the edge (Eli: "It's not our way, Book" / Book: "No, but it's MY way."), but his gift to the young thug of a bloody nose is mighty satisfying to behold.

My one criticism is with the music; certainly not with the venerable Maurice Jarre's score itself, but with its paltry synthesized realization. They should have found the money to spring for a full orchestra.

In short, a highly satisfying, richly themed, and multifaceted film which is well worth watching.


115 of 137 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 191 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed