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Witness (Widescreen)

Harrison Ford , Kelly McGillis , Peter Weir    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.98
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Product Description


When Samuel (Lukas Haas), a young Amish boy traveling with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis), witnesses the murder of a police officer in a public restroom, he and his mother become the temporary wards of John Book (Harrison Ford), a detective who's been assigned to solve the crime. After suspect lineups and mug-shot books yield nothing, Samuel, in the most memorable scene of the film, recognizes the murderer as a narcotics agent whose picture he sees in the precinct. Once Book realizes that the police chief is in on it, too, he whisks Samuel and Rachel back home to Amish country, where he himself goes into hiding as a plain Amish man. The juxtaposition between the life of the Amish and the violence of inner-city police corruption work surprisingly well for the story, and Kelly McGillis as the falling in love widow gives an almost perfect performance. Directed by Peter Weir, the film is extremely successful in drawing the viewer into its world and, accordingly, is immensely entertaining. The only thing that mars its polish is the one-dimensional, almost cartoonish handling of the upper-echelon police corruption--a subtler, more realistic treatment of this aspect of the story would have rendered the film near perfect. --James McGrath

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor quality transfer May 8 2004
By A Customer
"Witness" captures director Peter Weir's first exploration of the cultural clash between America's Amish community and modern society. We witness two worlds that collide and two people that can't bridge the gap between their two worlds despite their blossoming love for each other.
The story revolves around Samuel a little boy who has witnessed the murder of an undercover police officer, his mother Rachel (McGillis)and John Book (Ford) who investigates the murder discovering corruption, deceit and a conspiracy at it the heart of his department. After he discovers that his witness isn't safe, Book whisks them back to their Amish farm where he's forced to hideout as well.
One of Weir's finest films to focus on America, this so-so transfer looks grainy and has lots of compression issues. The transfer isn't a widescreen anamorphic transfer but is presented in that format (i.e., it's presented with the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen but the transfer isn't high definition). The picture occasionally comes across as soft and the rich use of color and light that vividly brought the film to life in theaters isn't well represented here. Hopefully Paramount will update this and remaster it the way it deserves to be done.
The extras include an interview with Weir obviously done around the time the film was made or first appeared on video and the original theatrical trailer. I would have expected a commentary track but since Weir isn't all that big on them to begin with, that would be hoping for too much.
A great film just a poor translation to DVD.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comparing Witness: 1985 and 2004 May 2 2004
By Susan
Format:VHS Tape
As I write my title, it is weird to think this film is nearly 20 years old! How time flies! Anyway...I first saw this film when it first came out and I remember I really really liked it. I was 23 years old and not a Christian at that time. Now, I am soon to be 42 and have been a Christian for over 18 years. For 10 years of my life, I lived as a Mennonite (like Amish in many ways, but we drove cars, had electricity, etc.) I am no longer a Mennonite, and now I watch films again. I appreciate classic cinema very much, but recently have wanted to watch Witness again, to see if I would like it as much as the first time, and to see if I thought they portrayed the Amish correctly.
So, I watched it last night. It was interesting in that I remembered so much, even some small details about it. So it really did impress me that first time when I was young. This time, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't say it is a film I would watch over and over again, as I watch some classic films. To see it once more was enough to just satisfy my curiosity about my memories of it.
I did feel they portrayed the Amish quite well, with the clothes and such. What they did wrong about the portrayal was that in no way would it be allowed for an Amish woman to tend to a wounded man who wasn't her husband, by herself in a room alone with him. It just isn't proper, isn't done. In reality, a man would have done that, or an older woman would have done it, with another woman there. I think the movie allowed the Rachel character to have way more "access" to a man alone than would be allowed in a real Amish or Mennonite community. I doubt he would have really been allowed to stay in the house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My alltime Favourite movie. Sept. 21 2011
Always has been and always will be my all time favourite movie. The music and contrasts and of course Harrison Ford at his most charming ahhhhhh
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witness March 5 2010
By Jasmine
enjoyed the contrast between Amish and conventional communities and the plot,involving the characters was very unique and exciting. The landscape of the Pennsylvania countryside plus the music of Maurice Jarre surrounding the film struck an emotional chord with me.In all the Witness cast was very well acted, particularly Harrison Ford who gave a superb performance as John Book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ford at the top of his game July 17 2004
Some of the most powerful romances can spring up when both sides have to be restrained; here, the widowed Amish woman and the cop-in-hiding know that they come from different worlds, know that a relationship between them will not practically work, and so fill the screen with unresolved sexual and romantic tension.
Woven into the more grisly details of murder and police corruption are scenes of humor and beauty. Dancing in the barn to "Don't Know Much About History". Having to wake up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. It's funny to see how the cop, John Book, tries to fit himself into Amish life the best he can. And it's very moving to see his growing love for the Amish woman who nursed him through a bad gunshot wound and has enchanted him with her character and beauty. The movie's climax is also riveting; it's not often that one sees gunfighting at an Amish farm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Classic April 26 2004
Format:VHS Tape
The movie Witness starring Harrison Ford features one of his best performances. He received his only Oscar nomination for this film in 1985. This definitely goes to show what kind of performance you are in for. This is an extraordinary story; it is a combination of a thriller and a love story.
The movie is about a young Amish boy (Lukas Haas) who witnesses a murder in the men's room of a train station while traveling with his mother, Rachel (Kelly McGillis). When the young boy identifies the murderer as a fellow detective, the detective John Books (Harrison Ford) who is assigned to the case must protect them. John gets shot but realizes he must save the young boy and his beautiful widowed mother. He knows they must go into hiding so he drives them to their farm in the Amish community before he collapses. While learning the ways of the Amish lifestyle, a romance begins between John and Rachel. During several twist and turns the action and suspense continues. The chemistry between Ford and McGillis is remarkable and realistic. This thriller, love story is very touching and definitely one you don't want to miss.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My all-time favorite.
Published 19 hours ago by Jan Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived ahead of scheduled date.
Have not watched it yet so unable to comment on quality of content. I have ordered other DVD's and have not experienced any dis-satisfaction.
Published 1 month ago by Jan Haskett
5.0 out of 5 stars Witness
Well we all know the movie is great and the picture quailty and sound is very good. well worth the upgrade to dvd
Published 8 months ago by HOGG
2.0 out of 5 stars can't watch again
I shouldn't have bought this movie. I rather suspected that I wouldn't like it, and I was right. Well, the story was interesting enough, and I really like Harrison Ford as an... Read more
Published 9 months ago by George Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Histoire de deux mondes
Je n'oublierai jamais ce film, les expressions du jeune Hamish Samuel, qui vit dans un monde sans violence, tous les gens de cette communautés s'entraide tout devient... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Pachu
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this movie, it kept me in suspense throughout
This maybe an older movie but a 'goodie' I think H. Ford does a very good acting job in it and it really held my attention
Published 14 months ago by Shirley J. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film
One of the good film with Harrison Ford.

A very good thriller indeed

Acting is not bad at all in general
Published 17 months ago by Bluefox
4.0 out of 5 stars Good all around
Harrison Ford! What a great movie the acting was good the shoot outs between Danny Glover and Harrison were awesome.
Published on Oct. 11 2008 by action_comedy
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