Witness (1985)

This week's 80's film is Witness. It stars Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and Danny Glover in this dramatic film.

Harrison Ford is John Book, a Philadelphia police detective. He gets involved investigating a murder at a train station of a fellow police officer that was undercover. There is one witness to the crime, Samuel, a young Amish boy, who is like a fish out of water in the big city. He was traveling with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) to visit a family member in Baltimore. As John looks into the murder, and delves deeper, it becomes clear that the crime is bigger than originally suspected, and now his, Samuel's and Rachel's live are all in danger. Faster than we can say "plain people of Lancaster County," the trio is off to the Amish Experience make themselves scarce and stay among Rachel's kind. Along the way, we get a firsthand look into Amish life, and even a barn raising (after all Harrison Ford had worked as a carpenter before he hit stardom so it wasn't much of a stretch). It all ends in a climax that has John Book taking out the baddies singlehandedly, and the Amish folks doing their best to stay out of the way.

I think this may be the third time I'm seeing Witness. It's one of those classic films that everyone should see at least once, and stands up to repeated viewing. I remain a Harrison Ford fan, and while his Han Solo and Indiana Jones roles get all the attention, this film shows his flexibility, and what he can do with a more serious role. In fact, I think this may be one of his best performances, but he has had so many, it would be hard to narrow it down to one best. On top of that, in Witness the care taken to show the Amish in a realistic fashion was well done.

Witness is a very strong film. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth seeking out, and if you've seen it before it's a treat to watch it again.

Overall Grade: A

Reviewed by Jonas

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