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4.6 11
Director: Peter Weir

Cast: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Josef Sommer


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Peter Weir's 1985 Amish drama comes to DVD via Paramount in a bare-bones edition that's about as plain as the Amish people it portrays. Witness features a nice transfer in the original 2.35:1 widescreen format, anamorphically enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. Picture quality is excellent, with solid blacks and bright colors. Audio is presented in a brand new


Peter Weir's 1985 Amish drama comes to DVD via Paramount in a bare-bones edition that's about as plain as the Amish people it portrays. Witness features a nice transfer in the original 2.35:1 widescreen format, anamorphically enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. Picture quality is excellent, with solid blacks and bright colors. Audio is presented in a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, though it's not as impressive as other Paramount remixes. An English Dolby Surround track is also included, as well as a French Dolby Surround language track. Rear speakers are utilized minimally, with the majority of sound focused in the center speaker. Extra features are very slim, though Paramount was gracious enough to include a seven-minute interview with director Weir (discussing his first meeting with star Harrison Ford, among other topics). Also included is a scratchy full-frame theatrical trailer for the film. A more fitting edition seems warranted for such an acclaimed film, but as far as the audio and video go, this will do.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
Continuing his ongoing fascination with outsiders and marginalized cultures, Australian director Peter Weir made a successful transition to American filmmaking with a boundary-stretching thriller. A Philadelphia detective (Harrison Ford) is forced to take refuge with an Amish family when a murder involving police corruption is witnessed by one of the community's children (Lukas Haas). While the film's opening and closing passages provide plenty of action and nail-biting suspense, the heart of the movie focuses on a touching romance between Ford, the awkward outsider, and Kelly McGillis, as an assured but lonely widow. Witness builds tension not only through its thriller plot but also by constantly playing off the natural conflict between modern society and the isolated, tradition-bound Amish. Thanks to Weir's feeling for behavior and his inspired eye for landscapes, the film is strongest in passages involving silent actions and interactions, saving the dialogue for mere exposition. Beautifully photographed, with a moral and romantic depth rarely touched on in most suspense movies, Witness is one of those rare genre films that appeals equally to both male and female audiences.
All Movie Guide
With a compelling story, excellent performances, and assured direction, Witness remains one of the most successful examples of the romantic thriller. Director Peter Weir's first film set in America, it gripped audiences and critics alike with its beautiful austerity and a quiet force as restrained as the romance between its two central characters. One of the only feature films ever to focus on Amish culture, it does so without condescension, displaying the respectful curiosity of a thoughtful tourist. The film is also remarkable for Harrison Ford's lead performance as a hard-boiled Philadelphia cop; previously pegged as a one-dimensional action star, Ford finally demonstrated the range of his quiet talent. His Best Actor Oscar nomination established him as a more "serious" actor and helped him to branch out into films that didn't take place in outer space or feature bullwhips as a plot device.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Widescreen version enhanced for 16x9 ; Dolby Digital: English 5.1 surround; English Dolby surround; French Dolby surround; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Theatrical trailer; Interview with Peter Weir

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harrison Ford John Book
Kelly McGillis Rachel
Josef Sommer Paul Schaeffer
Lukas Haas Samuel
Jan Rubes Eli Lapp
Alexander Godunov Daniel Hochleitner
Danny Glover McFee
Brent Jennings Carter
Patti LuPone Elaine
Dianne Crittenden Actor
Nino del Buono Detective
Michael Gwynne Actor
Tom Kennedy Ticket Seller
John D. King Amish
Angus MacInnes Fergie
Frederick Rolf Stolzfus
Viggo Mortensen Moses Hochleitner
John Garson Bishop Tchantz
Beverly W. May Mrs. Yoder
Ed Crowley Sheriff
Timothy Carhart Zenovich
Sylvia Kauders Tourist Lady
Marian Swan Mrs. Schaeffer
Maria Bradley Schaeffer's Daughter
Rozwill Young T-Bone
Paul S. Nuss Amish
Emily Mary Haas Amish
Fred Steinharter Amish
Paul Goss Amish
Annemarie Vallerio Amish
Bruce E. Camburn Amish
William Francis Town Man
Thomas Quinn Couple in Garage
Ardyth Kaiser Couple in Garage
Eugene Dooley Detective
Victoria Scott D'Angelo Detective
Richard Chaves Detective
Tim Moyer Detective
Joseph Kelly Detective
Norman Carter Detective
Craig Clement Detective
Robert Earl Jones Custodian
Michael Levering Hoodlum
Cara Giallanza Hoodlum
Anthony Dean Rubes Hoodlum
Bernie Styles Counterman
Jennifer Mancuso Little Girl
Blossom Terry Mother in Station
James Clark Detective

Technical Credits
Peter Weir Director
John Anderson Set Decoration/Design
David Bombyk Co-producer
Dianne Crittenden Casting
Dallas Dornan Costumes/Costume Designer
John R. Elliott Special Effects
Gary Epper Stunts
Ed Feldman Producer
Shari Feldman Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Hancock Makeup
Maurice Jarre Score Composer
Stan Jolley Production Designer
William Kelley Original Story,Screenwriter
Thom Noble Editor
John Seale Cinematographer
Ted Adams Swanson Production Manager
Earl W. Wallace Original Story,Screenwriter
Pamela Wallace Original Story
Wendy Weir Associate Producer
Glenn Wilder Stunts

Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Funeral Rites [:14]
2. The Journey [:44]
3. Material Witness [1:04]
4. John Book. [3:45]
5. Positive I.D. [3:54]
6. Watch Your Back [:07]
7. Gun of the Hand [6:19]
8. Plain John [6:33]
9. Honest Work [1:07]
10. Breaking the Rules [6:52]
11. Barn Raising [1:48]
12. The Storm [9:37]
13. Lost the Meaning [4:04]
14. Twilight [3:52]
15. It's Over [6:17]
16. Be Careful Among the English [1:36]
17. End Credits [6:10]


Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Good acting especially by Harrison Ford and Lukas Haas, like the cinematography and of course the soundtrack was really good. The music reminded me a little bit of Blade Runner for some reason, which is also another really good soundtrack.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the other reviews here, adding that this remains one of my all-time favorite movies, and I see a lot of movies! It is haunting and mesmerizing and gorgeously filmed. It is also one of Viggo Mortensen's first films. Can you spot him?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Witness in the movies way back and loved it then. I bought the tape and recently bought the DVD. Harrison Ford plays a Chicago cop who accidentially becomes involved with an Amish family due to the amish boy witnessing a murder. Kelly McGinnis is awesome. The outcome of the movie is of course the good guy wins, but I was always very disappointed that Ford and McGinnis characters didn't take a chance with each other. Yes I know, so chickish, but Im a chick!! Can (and have) watched this movie many many times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very well acted and directed film. Danny Glover is great in a rare villain role and harrison Ford gives one of the more nuanced performances of his great career. I was perhaps most impressed with the perfomance of Lucas Haas as the title character. He brought a lot of depth to a character considering he has few lines. I appreciate that Ford and Mcgillis cannot be together in the end. It seems more realistic, allowing for a healthy respect of people from two very different societies.
cottontail More than 1 year ago
Great film that holds your interest through the entire movie. Interesting blend of the Amish culture with the suspense and murder. Harrison Ford is great! Very well done, highly recommend this movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
having lived near where this film took place, i must credit the director, actors & writers with getting it right. the Amish are a wonderful people and were very accurately portrayed, including the local accent. of course Harrison Ford was superb, as usual. the plot was believable and kept you wondering throughout the movie, how will it end.
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