Witness for the Prosecution

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Reviews Counted: 31

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Average Rating: 4.3/5

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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.

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Tyrone Power
as Leonard Vole
Marlene Dietrich
as Christine Helm Vole
Charles Laughton
as Sir Wilfrid Robarts
Elsa Lanchester
as Miss Plimsoll
John Williams (II)
as Brogan-Moore
Ian Wolfe
as Carter
Norma Varden
as Mrs. French
Philip Tonge
as Insp. Hearne
Ruta Lee
as Diana
Molly Roden
as Miss McHugh
Ottola Nesmith
as Miss Johnson
Marjorie Eaton
as Miss O'Brien
J. Pat O'Malley
as Shorts Salesman
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News & Interviews for Witness for the Prosecution

Critic Reviews for Witness for the Prosecution

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (4)

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

    Aug 15, 2007 | Full Review…
  • ...the film's origins as an Agatha Christie novel and play, combine to give the movie a heavy -- almost stolid -- theatrical flavour.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A courtroom meller played engagingly and building evenly to a surprising and arousing, albeit tricked-up, climax...

    Feb 13, 2001 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • it's Laughton who is afforded free reign to explore his character and demonstrates impeccable comic timing.

    Oct 30, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Laughton knocks it out of the park as Robarts, and his scenes with real-life missus Lanchester are hysterical.

    Sep 11, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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 this delightfully witty and clever plot by Agatha Christie adapted by Billy Wilder into a near perfect piece of thought-provoking entertainment.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

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.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer


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

Aj V
Aj V

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.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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