Release year: 1985
Director: Peter Weir
Screenwriter: William Kelly, Pamela Wallace, Earl W. Wallace
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Josef Sommer, Lukas Haas, Alexander Godunov, Danny Glover, Jan Rubes, Brent Jennings
Ratings: 2 Oscars: Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing. 6 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Harrison Ford), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score. 6 Golden Globe nominations: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Harrison Ford), Best Supporting Actress (McGillis), Best Screenplay, Best Original Score.
After a young Amish boy (Haas) is the only witness to a murder policeman John Book (Ford) gets the case. As the boy identifies a cop, both Book, the boy and his mother Rachel (McGillis) is in danger and goes into hiding in Amish country.
This incredible well-working blend of a delicate love story and a tense thriller is amazingly enough the only time Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981) has been nominated for and Oscar. He does do a good job as the hard-boiled police officer forced to live under Amish laws and he has great chemistry with McGillis (Top Gun, 1988) as the love interest. It not just the movie that earned Ford that nomination but also the one that put actor Haas (Inception, 2010) on the star map as he stars as the witness in the title doing a perfect job telling the story through his soulful eyes. It works so well as a romance and a thriller, but it just as much shows an inside into a world unknown to most us, the Amish world. Whether realistic or not, the world we are shown are one of a community standing together. It is the limitations brought by the Amish society which comes in the way of the growing love, a love portrayed with so much sensitivity by Ford and McGillis, that you would be satisfied with just that. One of the times the blend of genres really work and one of the finest hours for both Ford and McGillis.
As realistic as the actors playing background roles as Amish people are, no actual Amish were in the film because they do not (as correctly stated in the movie) like to be photographed. They were intensely interested in the filming, though, and many Amish people were often out of camera range politely watching the filming. One of them is played by Viggo Mortensen who later made it to fame with his role as Aragon in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Picture copyrights: UIP