“Witness” was something of a miracle, surprising critics and audiences alike. John Book discovers that there is corruption among his fellow officers and must hide out with the Amish boy in order to protect him, falling in love with the boy’s mother along the way, played by Kelly McGillis. The film is a loose remake of the 1947 film “Angel and the Badman,” trading in the wild west for Pennsylvania farmland. Numerous actors had circled the role before it eventually went to Harrison Ford (including Tom Selleck), but it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role now, as Ford’s world-weary sadness permeates his character and influences the film.
While promoting “Witness,” Ford said in an interview:
“Witness is really acting. It’s great to get a chance to play a real person.”
Ford’s performance is excellent, though he did lose the Academy Award for Best Actor to William Hurt for his performance in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” Hurt’s performance is a bit bigger and showier, which might have tipped the needle in his favor, but “Witness” is Ford’s best show of his acting abilities to date.