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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as near to perfect as a hollywood movie can get
If you ever had doubts as to why Peter Weir is regarded as one of the finest directors working today, then watch this film. On any level, this is the way movies should be made. A career-best performance from Harrison Ford, ably supported by beautifully pitched performances from everyone else, especially the wonderful Lukas Haas as Samuel, the young Amish witness Ford is...
Published on 31 May 2005

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Xmas gift
Bought as an extra little gift for my son who enjoys the Harrison Ford as detective rather than Indiana Jones. Storyline good but the quality is a little dated. Feels like you are watching it through a constant mist.
Published on 10 Jan. 2013 by learned


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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as near to perfect as a hollywood movie can get, 31 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Witness [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
If you ever had doubts as to why Peter Weir is regarded as one of the finest directors working today, then watch this film. On any level, this is the way movies should be made. A career-best performance from Harrison Ford, ably supported by beautifully pitched performances from everyone else, especially the wonderful Lukas Haas as Samuel, the young Amish witness Ford is assigned to protect, and Kelly McGillis as his mother. I've seen thise film so many times and yet it never fails to draw me into its simple but brilliant world. Like Eastwood's UNFORGIVEN, WITNESS is the perfect blend of genre and something more interesting, where we are drawn into the familiar (murder, police investigation etc) only to then divert, dramatically into less familiar (or in this case, uncharted) territory. And like any great story, it's the collision of these two worlds and the way the characters react (especially Ford and McGillis) that elevates this material into the extraordinary. Mainstream cinema at its absolute best. I rememeber when the movie came out the posters ran the tagline "Harrison Ford is John Book". For me he always will be.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, 24 Oct. 2005
By 
JON DEWS (Dudley, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Witness [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Witness is the sort of timeless offering that we rarely see these days. Brilliant acting, haunting soundtrack and tight directing put this in my top 5 anytime. The measure of any film is disappointment that it has come to an end and a feeling that you could see it again and again. I must have seen this film over a dozen times and, like a comfortable old friend, it never disappoints. I cannot think that any modern blockbuster star can have given a performance better than Harrison Ford's in this film. What makes it outstanding is the excellence around him - Jan Rubes as Eli Lapp, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Josef Sommer et al. The barn building scene is worth the price alone.
I managed to find the farm during a holiday in the US in 1996 and it evokes such memories of the film when you see it. The first thing I did when I got home was to put the video on to make sure sure it was the farm - it was!
You note at the end of the credits there are the words "In Memory of Tom Scott". Tom was one of the location casters for the film - a more fitting epitaph than this film could not befall many men!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film, 19 April 2012
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This review is from: Witness [DVD] (DVD)
In my opinion, this is both Peter Weir's and Harrison Ford's finest achievement. It's a simple story, beautifully unfolding with quite exquisite photography and wonderful, haunting music by Maurice Jarre.

The love that unfolds between John Book and the Amish woman, played by Kelly McGillis, is described with real sensitivity and subtlety and the scene between them in the barn is quite one of the most erotic I have ever seen; all done with no nudity, no needless humping bodies, but captured instead with intense looks, lustful stares and guilt ridden hesitation.

The Amish boy is played by Lucas Haas ( I think I have his name right)and is a masterpiece of innocence corrupted by the larger world of the 'English' that he inadvertantly stumbles into.

This film has everything; a great story, wonderful landscape, stunning photography and a masterclass in subtle, cinematic acting. Don't miss it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic, 24 May 2012
By 
David P (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Witness [DVD] (DVD)
Intrigue, suspense, conspiracy, corruption, romance, lust, action, thrills, twists, this film has it all. I remember it being one of my father's favourite films, and it will always remain one of mine too. To make the mundane communal erecting of a barn so compelling to watch, with all the currents of lust and attraction and rivalry and even jealousy stirring just beneath the surface as they do, is complete genius. And there are few things more satisfying in a film than watching a bully get their comeuppance, and surely as a supreme example of this, the ice cream cone scene will never be surpassed! Harrison Ford really does "barely controlled rage" incredibly well, and in terms of that, this scene has to be his finest hour :-)

The mark of a truly great thriller is that you can watch it over and over again, and it still remains compelling viewing, even though the story is known. This film certainly delivers here. In fact, I think I will have to go and watch it again now!

Anyone who thinks this is "slow and boring" is missing out on a great film. I love it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electricity, 1 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Witness [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
I think the interface between Harrison Ford and Kelly McG has been described as the 'most sensual piece of film ever made - where no-one even takes their clothes off'. The eye contact, the desire, transmitted between these two, especially in the scene where the community is building the barn, has never been surpassed. The atmosphere is enhanced by the incredible, much underrated music - the theme tune is powerful and haunting. I own the music CD and play it frequently. Perhaps it was a pity that the music was played on synthetic equipment rather than by an orchestra
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light and dark, 6 Oct. 2011
By 
Skeadugenga (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Witness [DVD] (DVD)
I love this film and have watched it many times. There are so many good things about it, the story, the music, the perfect casting and acting, the humour, the locations, all of which have been covered in other reviews.

What really sets it apart though is the use of lighting, notably so that the interiors of the Amish farm provide rays and pools of light and shadow, which are beautifully used to frame the characters - particularly the serenity and beauty of Rachel. My abiding impression is a glow of light and luminosity, a really glorious film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 29 Jun. 2011
By 
Mrs. Marilyn A. Rice "RR" (sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Witness [DVD] (DVD)
Australian directer Peter Weir does a fantastic job in directing this classic movie, which has a mixture of a thriller and a romance story. It stars Harrison Ford as a policeman named John Book, who hides in Amish country to protect a young boy (Lukas Haas), who has witnessed a murder. What I like about this film is that it has a great story and the acting performances from Harrison Ford and the other members of the cast are great to watch. Harrison Ford was nominated for an academy award for his great performance, but he sadly didn't win it and I think this is Harrison Ford's best performance in his career. The movie did win 2 oscars for best editing and best screenplay and also Peter Weir was also up for an oscar for best director and in his career he has had a total of 6 academy award nods. The final part of the movie is very thrilling to watch and it's actually very similiar to the classic western "High noon". If you have not seen this classic movie, it's well worth watching.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditative, beautiful - near perfect, 21 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Witness [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Like many other Peter Weir films (see Truman Show and Mosquito Coast, for example), Witness juxtaposes two very different worlds, highlighting both the value and the shortcomings of each. In this slow, meditative film, Book's immersion into the Amish world is beautifully handled, mirroring the viewer's own immersion. The love story, for once, rings true and is extremely touching. There are numerous memorable scenes - the throat-cutting scene in the public toilet near the beginning, Samuel recognising the perpetrator as the narcotics officer in the police station, the barn-building scene, and the death-by-corn scene near the end. A beautiful, near-perfect film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific,Thoughtful and Compelling, 10 Oct. 2013
By 
robert stirling (tarn,s.w.france) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Witness [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
This is in the vein of the later Bruce Willis's Mercury Rising [DVD] [1998] but for me is much more gripping and exciting.

It's very carefully composed and well told by director Peter Weir who has a string of hugely successful films to his credit.

Much of the story is centered around an Amish community,where Ford's detective guards a young Amish boy and his mother from corupt police whom the boy witnessed murdering a narcotics agent.

Enevitably a romance develops between Ford and the briefly nude Kelly McGillis,but perhaps it is the sense of community and belonging that begins to attract Ford to the lifestyle rather than Kelly's obvious assets.

It may have helped the balance of the film if more detail was shown of the bad guys but despite this it's still an exceptional production and well worth buying on Amazon.A film that can be watched several times without losing it's entertainment value.

Footnote:I spotted a young,smiling,non-speaking Viggo Mortensen in a minor role as an Amish member whom I have recently reviewed in The Road [DVD] in which he was excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witness, 10 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Witness [DVD] (DVD)
I love this film.
I was raised in Pennsylvania near the Amish, and this film is very nostalgic for me. I identify with it very well, from those rolling fields of grain to the farm, and to the Amish. It is very true to them and their culture, apart from all the violence. At seeing the gun, they really would have put John Book off the farm, just as soon as he was well enough. Otherwise, they are truly represented on the whole. An amazing film! I can't reccomend it highly enough.
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