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Drama - Police

Witness (1985)

Duration1h 52m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyAn original screenplay which had apparently been knocking around in Hollywood for years.
DirectorPeter Weir
Writers/ScriptEarl W. Wallace, William Kelley + Pamela Wallace.
StarringHarrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Josef Sommer, Lukas Haas, Alexander Godunov, Danny Glover, Angus MacInnes, Viggo Mortensen, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.4/10 by 91,276 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 83% by 41 reviewers . Review2view: 8.5/10

Elevator Pitch: Amish widow Rachael Lapp and her son Samuel are on their way to visit a relative. While in Philadelphia station Samuel witnesses an assassination of a man who turns out to be an undercover cop, and he and his mother are taken to the police station by detective John Book, where Samuel identifies a drugs squad detective as one of the murderers. While taking the family to safety Book exchanges shots with the assassin and is wounded. They get to the Amish community where Rachael nurses Book back to health, and they are attracted to each other. But over time the villains close in on the community, so will they survive.

Content: Rachael is seen briefly semi-naked while washing. The only drinking is taking place when the detectives visit a bar looking for the perpetrator. The assassination takes place, bloodily, in the station washroom. Once at the Amish community life goes on as usual, and Book, having carpentry skills, helps erect a barn. It is obvious that he and Rachael are attracted to each other. They dance to music on Book’s car radio and finally succumb to their attraction. The renegade police are on the trail and it looks as if they may win.

A View: I first saw this film in the cinema and liked it a lot, but watched it again to see how it stacked up against what is available today. I sensed that Harrison Ford took some time to adjust into the role, but after a while he seemed to fit it. The clash of the two environments was wonderfully portrayed, particularly by the developing relationship between Rachael and Book, and the tension as the villains close in terrific. So even after 25 years still a great watch.

Here are three other films about people being chased: Mercury Rising, Unknown, Three Days of the Condor,

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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  1. Pingback: Gloria (1980) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - December 4, 2021

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