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Witness for the Prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 8,335

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Movie Info

An unusual murder case tempts an ailing barrister back into action in this courtroom drama based on an Agatha Christie play.

Dec 11, 2001


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Latest News on Witness for the Prosecution

July 13, 2006:
Kidman & Pacino in "Prosecution" Remake?
Billy Wilder's 1957 film "Witness for the Prosecution" is rather excellent, which is why...


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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (0) | DVD (9)

His theatrical mise-en-scene -- his proscenium framing -- serves the material well, as does Charles Laughton's bombastic portrayal of the defense attorney.

August 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...the film's origins as an Agatha Christie novel and play, combine to give the movie a heavy -- almost stolid -- theatrical flavour.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A courtroom meller played engagingly and building evenly to a surprising and arousing, albeit tricked-up, climax...

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

And the air in the courtroom fairly crackles with emotional electricity, until that staggering surprise in the last reel.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Witness For The Prosecution has the pace and patience of live theater, but not the look. Wilder doesn't get overly flashy with camera moves and angles, but he does shift positioning subtly and effectively.

July 22, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Marlene Dietrich tries not to give anything away as usual while Agatha Christie's whodunit plot whirs tidily about her expressionless beauty.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Wilder's adaptation is guilty of being absolutely marvelous.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4

This Oscar-nominated courtroom drama represents Billy Wilder at his most theatrical and old-fashioned, but the saga is enjoyable and so is the acting of all-star cast.

March 16, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A slew of terrific performances help to elevate Wilder's twist-ridden courtroom drama above your standard fare in the genre.

January 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Wilder plays the suspense well, but this movie belongs to Laughton, who makes his every line resonate like music and thunder.

August 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Too much artificiality.

March 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Marlene Dietrich, Billy Wilder, Agatha Christie: What's not to like?

January 4, 2004
Nitrate Online

Splendid version of the play with perfect cast and Wilder at the helm.

September 23, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Witness for the Prosecution is a witty, terse adaptation of the Agatha Christie hit play brought to the screen with ingenuity and vitality by Billy Wilder.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's got enough unpredictable twists of its own to satisfy even Judge Judy's appetite for justice.

June 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

witty, great fun. Dietrich is top notch.

August 13, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) of Christie's greatest works adapted into one of the screen's best films.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Audience Reviews for Witness for the Prosecution

The star here is definitely Charles Laughton, who steals the show and makes each one of his lines sound memorable, in a delightfully witty and clever plot by Agatha Christie adapted by Billy Wilder into a near perfect piece of thought-provoking entertainment.
April 23, 2014

Super Reviewer

Witness for the Prosecution is a wonderfully-directed, by-the-numbers courtroom drama based on an Agatha Christie play. The story doesn't tread too much new ground but Charles Laughtron keeps the show going magnificently and more than makes up for it. Between this and Night of the Hunter he's my new favorite underrated actor. The chemistry between him and his real-life wife Elsa Lanchester as his buzzkill nurse is gold and Jesus, was Marlene Dietrich great! And as far as the musical number, can anyone say Blazing Saddles? The feeling that something isn't quite right tips you off to an impending twist but it winds up being more like a pretzel factory.
February 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

This movie was too boring, I didn't watch it all the way through.
November 17, 2010

Super Reviewer

One of those films that shows how truly incredible films transcend time and place. Witness for the Prosecution had me gripped, more than any recent film has, or even tried to. Based on a play, the film is quite the talker, but every line of dialogue can only belong to the specific character saying those lines. It's a great character piece, with dazzling bouts of verbal fisticuffs and procedural moments of tension. The performances are so strong, so different, and yet, play seamlessly off one another. The film ends with a request, not to divulge the secret ending. Out of admirable respect for this film, I shan't. However, I enjoyed, and was surprised by every turn.
October 22, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Miss Plimsoll: Sir Wilfrid. You've forgotten your brandy. [nurse Plimsoll knew her patient Wilfrid had alcohol in his thermos]
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Zeugin der Anklage (DE)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (1957) (UK)
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