: : : Witness

Story

When Samuel (Lukas Haas), a young Amish boy traveling with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis), witnesses the murder of a police officer in a public restroom, he and his mother become the temporary wards of John Book (Harrison Ford), a detective who's been assigned to solve the crime. After suspect lineups and mug-shot books yield nothing, Samuel, in the most memorable scene of the film, recognizes the murderer as a narcotics agent whose picture he sees in the precinct. Once Book realizes that the police chief is in on it, too, he whisks Samuel and Rachel back home to Amish country, where he himself goes into hiding as a plain Amish man. The juxtaposition between the life of the Amish and the violence of inner-city police corruption work surprisingly well for the story, and Kelly McGillis as the falling in love widow gives an almost perfect performance. Directed by Peter Weir, the film is extremely successful in drawing the viewer into its world and, accordingly, is immensely entertaining. The only thing that mars its polish is the one-dimensional, almost cartoonish handling of the upper-echelon police corruption--a subtler, more realistic treatment of this aspect of the story would have rendered the film near perfect. --James McGrath

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Harrison FordJohn Book
Kelly McGillisRachel
Josef SommerSchaeffer
Lukas HaasSamuel
Jan RubesEli Lapp
Alexander GodunovDaniel Hochleitner
Danny GloverMcFee
Brent JenningsCarter
Patti LuPoneElaine
Angus MacInnesFergie
Viggo MortensenMoses Hochleitner
Timothy CarhartZenovich

  • Genre: Mystery Movies
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Producer: Paramount
  • Length: 112 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaFeb 8, 1985
    EuropeMay 24, 1985
    AustraliaMay 2, 1985
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaJun 29, 1999
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4.0 / 10
Rate
(0.0490/d/web3)