Witness (film) was a successful, highly acclaimed movie in 1985 featuring a clash between a violent city culture involving police corruption and the non-violent culture of neighboring Amish farming. Contrary to many Hollywood movies, this film is very respectful of a religious way of life.
The star-studded cast included Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Danny Glover, and the accomplished Russian ballet star Alexander Godunov in a serious role. Patti LuPone is stellar in a small supporting role. Its worldwide box office revenues were nearly ten times its budget of only $12 million. It won m=mijnor Academy Awards for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Best Film Editing, and was passed over for the major awards despite receiving nominations in several top categories. Film critic Roger Ebert called it the finest acting performance by Harrison Ford of his career.
As in real life, many in the Amish community are portrayed as more honorable and respectful than the non-Amish who include the sister of Harrison Ford's character named Book.
The barn-raising featured in one scene in the movie is realistic: Amish can build and erect a new barn in one long day of community work. Filming throughout the movie was done in Philadelphia and its surrounding Amish communities in Lancaster County, where the action is to have taken place.
The movie was filmed on location in Philadelphia and on an Amish farm in nearby Lancaster County.
In the climatic scene there is a standoff between a violent wrongdoer and a peaceful group of strong Amish.
|“||We want nothing to do with your [non-Amish] laws.||”|
|“||You be careful out among the English.||”|
There is a small amount of German dialog without providing the viewers English subtitles to understand it.
The ending is dramatic but perhaps slightly unrealistic in how good versus pure evil is typically resolved.
The caricature of ridicule of the Amish seems unrealistic, as actually the secular world is fairly respectful of Amish and even enjoy visiting their communities.