Witness - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Witness Reviews

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August 10, 2017
Really entertaining story about a guy who has to hide out for a few weeks from dirty cops and is forced to do so at an Amish town. I'm a sucker for culture clash movies if they are done well and this movie is the best there is. The scene where Rachel dances in the barn to the music is so masterful. So amazingly directed by Peter Weir. One of my all time favorites.
½ March 29, 2017
Watching this for a second time long after my first viewing I have come to appreciate this film a whole lot more now that my mindset on films is a lot less narrow minded. With fantastic performances by all involved, solid direction by Peter Weir, a good script, incredible score and a solid enough plot this is one of the best fish out of water films.
March 6, 2017
Delicate and heartfelt. The writing and acting are on-point throughout.
½ January 8, 2017
What's with the music? The story is laughable but they have tried to add suspense with synthesisers. If this movie had been made in the last decade it would have a lot lower rating
½ December 9, 2016
Peter Weir, in his first Hollywood outing, refashions with nuanced finesse the conventional genre of a cop thriller into a heartwarming human drama set midst a cultural clash of violence and pacifism of the Amish community.
½ September 26, 2016
Está bien, no hay mucho que agregar.
La película en sí no es la gran cosa. Un niño amish es testigo de un asesinato y Harrison Ford es el detective que investiga el caso, una cosa lleva a la otra y el detective termina viviendo con los amish.
La idea de la película la encontré bien original y bien hecha, pero la historia en si fue la que no es tan atrapante, pero no deja de ser interesante y entretenida.
½ September 19, 2016
Witness is one of those films that I am shocked I never watched before, because I was absolutely obsessed with Harrison Ford back in the day. It's a shame that I didn't watch it sooner because there's a lot in this film that I love, and it might have climbed to be a favorite if I had some nostalgia. The first and third acts of the film are the kind of stuff that I was hoping for out of this movie, and make it a delight to watch. I love the story of this Amish boy who knows nothing of modern society witnessing the darkest parts of it, and the cop who will stop at nothing to protect the boy and find out what happened. Then there's the third and final act where it kind of shifts back into that same story, and I get excited all over again. But there's also a second act between the great bookends, and every issue I have with the film comes in that second act. I could accept if it was just the story of a man from the big city learning to live the Amish lifestyle, because those moments were kind of humorous and touching. What didn't work for me was the dramatic shift into a star-crossed lovers tale. For quite awhile it felt like the entire plot had taken a strange detour, and I had no confidence that it would find its way back. The boy who was one of the central figures in the beginning becomes a non-entity, being utterly replaced by his mother until the end. I think, without the romance plot, Witness would be a favorite film of mine and I would rush out to buy a copy. But with that added to the story, I don't know when I'll watch it again.
September 10, 2016
Very much underrated and forgotten as far as Harrison Ford's filmography is concerned. A total recommend. McGillis is fantastic!
August 27, 2016
A drama that excels in the Amish Community, Witness is great with Harrison Ford breaking the mold on proving his acting worth
July 19, 2016
Show film to my daughters, they immediately make an Amish pinterest board.
½ July 16, 2016
Hiding out among the Amish & taking to their ways & beliefs. The violent vulgarities of big city life just can't compete.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2016
Ford is very good but the movie is riddled with problems. The romance, complete with that awful "breast exposure" scene, is so unconvincing that it renders the rest of the movie dramatically inert.
June 7, 2016
Strong and enthralling work by Peter Weir who brought some mantle of mystique upon seeming at first sight as an ordinary script, but executed into a wonderful story combined suspense, love, and secular against spiritual.
June 5, 2016
It has a couple of really well-executed scenes, especially ones involving suspense, but overall it fits the bill of cliche 1980s movie with the rest of what it does. It's opening is too long, the kid is set up to be relevant early on only to be essentially discarded halfway through and the ending feels rushed and offers no real resolution. The plot basically happens out of the absurdity and unbelievability of its opening scenes. Entertaining, but certainly flawed.
May 21, 2016
Good film; the music throws you a little bit.
May 8, 2016
A very good movie made in 1985.
May 3, 2016
Witness (1985) ????
Policeman goes into hiding in Amish country to protect Amish boy, who was the sole witness of a murder, until the trial. Beautifully written and directed; Ford has never been better. Superb thriller invites comparison with Hitchcock. Screenplay and Film Editing won Oscars.
½ March 20, 2016
Harrison Ford gives a career-high performance in this solid crime drama. The human elements take the spotlight, which makes the tense finale all the more effective. It also features some great earlier work from Danny Glover.
February 27, 2016
A blend of your run-of-the-mill police thriller with a masterful star-crossed love story. The cast delivers great performances, but the unspoken, blossoming attraction between Ford and McGillis and their chemistry together, really carry the movie. The story is supplemented by an interesting look at clashing cultures. First, with an Amish widow (McGillis) and her son traveling through (then) modern-day society. Next, with a police detective (Ford) being thrust into the life of the Amish.
½ February 23, 2016
Book it Before the End
As the opening images of an Amish community gathering to mourn the loss of a member of their own rolls across the screen, a few of the last things you expect to follow are suspense and romance. However that is exactly what follows in this highly original take on a cop thriller meets love story. However, with the subtle originality and the intensity of the acting, the finale just wasn't quite there in Peter Weir's "Witness" (1985).
As the widow, Rachel (Kelly McGillis), and her son, Samuel (Lukas Haas), travel to Philadelphia, Samuel becomes the witness to a heinous crime. Police officer, John Book (Harrison Ford), takes them under his protection, but soon finds himself fleeing along with them as corruption surfaces and a dangerous situation falls upon them. Before long he's thrown into the new and peculiar world of Rachel and Samuel's Amish community, and forced to conform to their way of life or risk being discovered.
As Book develops from a hardened cop who believes he is the best, and incapable of love, into someone completely different. He turns into someone who fits in with the Amish community, but never loses the sense of who he was before. Rachel, begins the movie as a strong and proud Amish mother who follows the cues of her elders, however as the film develops, so does she, as she stands up to those she took cues from and speaks her mind.
The insight that Ford gives us into John Book's personality through his actions make his character all the more complex. Ford hints at Book's dominance by drinking milk out of his sister's milk carton and then shoving it in her hand as he rushes out the door, or in the way his voice booms and all else goes silent. However, Ford also plays up Book's childlike side as he sings along to a favorite song, and dances awkwardly, all along making Book's character that much more complex.
Not only does Ford add complexity to Book, but he also expresses emotion in a way that encompasses his whole body. Ford expresses fear in a way that it is not only shown on his face, but also in his eyes, and in his shaking and sweating. The irritation that he feels for being in the Amish community is shown not by sarcasm alone, but in how stiffly and slowly he walks in Amish clothing. And we see that he is in love before he does, by the longing in his eyes with each lengthy glance. The complexity of Book's character, along with his and Rachel's character development, is how they even become capable of love.
At first glance, the boy-meets-girl love story of the film seems fairly typical and unoriginal. Looking closer at the circumstances in which they fall in love and their character development brings forth the originality of this film. The simple acts that cause them to fall in love from building a barn to listening to music, is what brings this love story its originality.
All in all, this unique take on a suspenseful romance deserves its place as an original film. However, the ending left me wondering what was next for the characters, and a little disappointed that it didn't end with bang, or a romantic grand gesture. The satisfaction you feel at the end of a film just wasn't there, only questions.
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