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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
2,000 ( 86)
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:

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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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

An advertiser wanted to capture the look of this film for a television commercial for his product. When he interviewed Directors of Photography, he told them he wanted the look of this film. One of the people interviewed was John Seale, the Director of Photography for this film. Ironically, Seale did not get the job. See more »

Goofs

When Carter pulls the police files on Samuel and his mother, he finds a folder marked "Rachel Lapp" and removes it. He then flicks past a few more files and finds the one marked "Samuel Lapp". Although this might be correct if they were in alphabetical order by the entire name, the files would be more likely to have been held in order of surname, then first name, so the files would probably have been held consecutively. See more »

Quotes

Townsman: [Book, dressed in Amish clothes, has just finished severely beating a local youth who was harassing Daniel Hochleitner] Never seen anything like it in all my years!
Daniel Hochleitner: He's from Ohio, my cousin.
Townsman: Well, them Ohio Amish must be... different. Around here, the brethren don't have any of that kinda fight in 'em! Good day to you, Mr. Lapp! This ain't good for the tourist trade, you know! Tell that to your Ohioan friend!
See more »

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

References Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Witness This Film!

Harrison Ford is one of those actors that often times just shows up and then there lies his character. This is the Harrison Ford school of acting. Not the case in "Witness". I won't begin to wonder what would have caused this change of pace, but it was quite a surprise to see. Peter Weir is a favorite director of mine, mainly for his life changing films (for the viewer and the characters alike), like "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Fearless" ... and I have sadly waited a very long time to get around to this one. Even 17 years after its initial release, it seems to still stand up with themes that truly speak. I expected some sort of a courtroom drama, but instead found a film that presents a dichotomy between old world and new world values and sensibilities and really asks whether change is always for the best. This is a profound and exciting thriller.


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