Witness script
Witness (1985)
Synopsis: Witness is a 1985 American crime thriller film directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The screenplay by William Kelley, Pamela Wallace, and Earl W. Wallace focuses on a detective protecting a young Amish boy who becomes a target after he witnesses a murder in Philadelphia.

1 EXT. LANCASTER COUNTY, PA. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

(TITLE SEQUENCE)

The faces of several young children are presented in

CLOSEUP, as they walk TOWARD US across a ploughed

field. On the SOUND TRACK, the haunting SOUNDS OF A

GREGORIAN FUNERAL CHANT. The CAMERA PANS UP to the

faces of older brothers and sisters, then to parents

and grandparents. These are not familiar faces, but

faces from another age, strong and open. All are

dressed in the distinctive clothing of the Amish.

2 EXT. COUNTRY LANE - DAY

Through the last traces of early morning mist another

group of black-clad figures make their way down a lane.

3 EXT. COUNTRY LANE - DAY

An Amish buggy, black and highwheeled, stark against

the landscape, appears, a spirited chestnut in the

traces.

Framed in the glass window of the narrow buggy is the

stern figure of an Amish man in black topcoat and

flatbrimmed hat, his bonneted wife in muted colors,

the face of a boy, attired like his father, peering

out.

The horse's breath smokes on the frosty air, the buggy

CREAKS on its springs, and there's the rhythmic CLIP-

CLOP OF HOOVES on the pavement.

4 ANOTHER LANE

Two Amish buggies reach a crossroads, join a procession

of three others. They disappear as the lane wends

through a leafless thicket of hickory.

5 VALLEY

A BIG SHOT... now the procession numbers almost a dozen

buggies... it is headed toward a distant farmhouse.

6 BARNYARD

Where literally dozens of carriages are parked. The

horses have been taken from the traces, removed to the

shelter of the barn.

7 EXT. LAPP FARMHOUSE - FRONT PORCH

As the black clad mourners begin to move into

the

house (women and children presumably first).

8 INT. LAPP FARMHOUSE

the coffins the upper half open. We see that

the worse

has been dressed in white linen, a piece of

white linen

partially covering the bearded face.

END TITLE SEQUENCE.

9 INT. LAPP FARMHOUSE

Partitions have been removed, making the

central rooms of the farmhouse a spacious hall. The place is

packed, a hundred-fifty or more Amish, all sitting in

absolute silence on rows of wooden benches.

A wooden coffin rests on a bench in the f.g.,

and near it the close relatives of the deceased occupy a

special Place.

RACHEL LAPP:

A young woman of perhaps twenty-seven. Her

face is pale and drawn. In happier circumstances,

although there haven't been too many of late in Rachel's

life, we would see a robust, sensual woman of full

figure, spirit and intelligence.

Eight-year-old SAMUEL LAPP flits next to his

mother; he

would appear stunned, possibly not entirely

comprehend-

ing events.

And the patriarch, ELI LAPP; his stubborn,

weathered -

yet not unkind - features grief-stricken.

THE MOURNERS:

Their faces...

CLOCK:

as it begins to CHIME nine a.m.

FAVORING PREACHER

as he removes his hat. As one, the men in the

congre-

gation remove their hats also.

9 CONTINUED:

Then the preacher begins to speak in a formal

German

dialect:

(SUBTITLES OVER)

PREACHER:

... a brother has been called home.

God has spoken through the death of

our neighbor, Jacob Lapp...

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William Kelley

William Kelley was born on May 27, 1929 in Staten Island, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Witness (1985), The Winds of Kitty Hawk (1978) and The Blue Lightning (1986). He was married to Nina Kelley. He died on February 3, 2003 in Bishop, California, USA. more…

All William Kelley scripts | William Kelley Books

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