Witness - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Witness Reviews

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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.
½ February 9, 2016
Good thriller, both leads did great.
January 25, 2016
Brilliant. Harrison Ford, Patti LuPone, Danny Glover, and Kelly McGillis are superb.The score is mesmerizing, and the cinematography of Lancaster, PA is stunning.
½ December 13, 2015
Although Witness had an intriguing story, tense pacing and some exhilarating action, it didn't add anything original to the corrupt cop genre or cause as much trouble as it could've in its reserved, Amish setiting.
December 12, 2015
"Witness" is a delightful dramatic film and an excellent thriller, despite not being an action-driven film. What it lacks in flash, it makes up for with undeniable charm. It gives us a significant look at Harrison Ford and his acting abilities from a different point of view. Outside of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, "Witness" is one of the action star's best films.
½ November 22, 2015
A solid, surprisingly sexy crime thriller mashed with romantic drama. Beyond the inclusion of the Amish community it's nothing you haven't seen before; but fun nonetheless.
½ November 18, 2015
The strangest thing to me about this movie is that it made it onto AFI's 100 Passions list. The relationship between Rachel and John is certainly interesting, but is it one of the best romantic stories in film in the last hundred years?
November 14, 2015
If you want to know about the life of Amish people, this is it. Peter Weir turns an ordinary thriller into one of his best, with Harrison Ford's one-and-only Oscar nominated performance, and Maurice Jarre's perfect score.
November 12, 2015
This is another 80's gem I'd never seen in its entirety. Harrison Ford was in the prime of his career and Kelly McGillis shows her tatas. They're not really that impressive but kudos to her for showing them anyway. Pretty solid movie really and it's fun to see a pre-Lethal Weapon Danny Glover as a bad guy.
½ October 29, 2015
I read a review of "The Babadook," comparing Noah Wiseman's character to the child actor from his film. Many similarities (maybe his agent even made him watch this?) and I have to give credit where due: this film seems very progressive for 1985, as far as modeling cultural tolerance, and flipping the script 3/4 through to show how when- acting as tourists--we gawk and condescend to outside groups we perceive as strange-- we are the ones who appear ridiculous.
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