Paramount Pictures Released 1985



User Score: 32

out of 10
User Rating
2 votes

By TV.com Users

Movie Summary

Peter Weir

Witness centers on a tough detective, John Book, who becomes a young Amish boy's protector after he is targeted by a ruthless killer after witnessing a murder in Philadelphia's train station bathroom. It had been Samuel Lapp's first trip into the outside world but it ended up being quite a memorable one as he accidentally witnesses the brutal murder of a police officer in the bathroom. Captain John Book however in his investigation stumbles upon a larger corruption stemming within the force and sets out to protect Samuel and his widowed mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) from the corrupt officers. Wounded, Book takes the two back to their farm, also housing Rachel's father-in-law Eli in Pennsylvania in order to hide out. As he heals, he begins to take part in the Amish life, wearing their clothes, learning how to run the farm, and eventually taking part in a barn raising. Of course, their safety only lasted for so long as Book's "English" ways marks him different to the local community.


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This is, first of all, an electrifying and poignant love story....And it is also one hell of a thriller.

  • 70

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    It's not really awful, but it's not much fun. It's pretty to look at and it contains a number of good performances, but there is something exhausting about its neat balancing of op...

  • 60


    Witness is at times a gentle, affecting story of star-crossed lovers limited within the fascinating Amish community. Too often, however, this fragile romance is crushed by a thorou...


    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (6)

      • Academy Awards wins:
        1. Original Screenplay
        2. Editing

        Academy Awards Nominations:
        1. Picture
        2. Director - Peter Weir (won by Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa)
        3. Actor - Harrison Ford (won by William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman)
        4. Cinematography
        5. Art Direction
        6. Original Score

      • Production budget - $12,000,000
        Domestic gross - $68,706,993 (8th)

        Domestic adjusted for 2013 - $157,929,313

      • Music:
        (What A) Wonderful World
        Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
        Performed on a radio by Greg Chapman
        Also partially sung by Harrison Ford and danced by him with Kelly McGillis
        Shocking Behaviour
        Written by Paul Chiten and Sue Sheridan
        Party Down
        Written by Alan Brackett and Scott Shelly

      • Other production companies:
        Edward S. Feldman Productions

      • Filming locations:
        30th Street Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
        Intercourse, Pennsylvania
        Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
        Lancaster, Pennsylvania
        Paul Krantz Farm, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
        Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      • Taglines:
        1. Harrison Ford is John Book - A big city cop who knows too much. His only evidence: a small boy who's seen too much...
        2. 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...

    • ALLUSIONS (0)

    More Info About This Movie


    Crime, Love & Romance, Thrillers