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Witness (1985)

25 mistakes

Directed by: Peter Weir

Starring: Danny Glover, Harrison Ford, Viggo Mortensen

Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Plot hole: When John tries to start his car with the flat battery the least he should have done is switch the windshield wipers off.

Continuity mistake: When Harrison Ford confronts (and beats up) the tourists, there are a number of close-up shots of the people in the first wagon, including one where Viggo Mortensen leans forward and tells the driver to do nothing, even though he is being provoked. In all these close ups, Mortensen is bare-headed. When the shot changes to Ford's perspective, from the cart behind, we see one of the tourists grab a straw hat from Mortensen's head. The hat has appeared out of nowhere in a split second. There is a child with a straw hat behind Mortensen, but the hat stays on his head in both shots.

Plot hole: When Schaeffer, McFee, and Fergie drive to the Lapp farm to kill John, the car stops on top of a hill. Then it reverses a bit to be out of sight from the farm. But then the formerly careful guys get out and walk down the open road, sporting their guns like in an Italo western.

Continuity mistake: When the people are having their break during the barn raise there is a panorama shot where most of the roof is gone that had been already fixed.

Visible crew/equipment: After the funeral service, Eli, Rachel, and Samuel go back home by carriage. When the carriage is shown from the front you see a reflection of a camera in the windshield in front of Eli's hat.

Witness mistake picture

Revealing mistake: During the barn raise you see the some men using ridiculously small nails to connect huge beams.

Character mistake: When Schaeffer, McFee, and Fergie walk down the dusty road to Amish village, Western gunslinger style, they make a silly mistake no cop would make - they assume that Amish villages are unarmed and undefended. No so. The Amish have no prohibition on guns and almost every house would have at least one hunting rifle or shotgun. The three bad guys are risking being shot to bits before they get halfway down that hill; they don't even make an attempt at concealment. (Wouldn't they also at least think John - a police officer - would still have his gun or might have got hold of a firearm from the Amish?)

Continuity mistake: On the way to Philadelphia the length of the train changes. It's very long when it enters the station, a locomotive + 1 wagon on the way in a shot from the front, and a locomotive + 3 wagons in a panorama shot later.

Plot hole: The way John confronts Samuel with the first suspect (throwing and pressing the guy against the side window of the car Samuel sits in) is plain ridiculous and certainly not the practice of a good cop like John. Later they have a proper confrontation with six more suspects.

Continuity mistake: When the local bums provoke the Amish, Viggo Mortensen's hat is grabbed twice - for the first time when the leader of the gang smears Alexander Godunov's face with ice cream, the curly-haired guy can be seen swiftly grabbing Mortensen's hat in the background. Thereafter Mortensen is hatless - until the same curly-headed bum grabs his hat again, now in the wide shot.

Witness mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Samuel looks at the handgun in the drawer, the gun is vertical in closeup, but the grip is tilted left when Samuel reaches for it.

Witness mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the three Philadelphia cops walk toward the house it is dusk; when a few seconds later McFee breaks down the door you can see the background and now it is full day with bright sunshine.

Continuity mistake: When Schaeffer and the bad cops approach the Amish Farm, it's late afternoon/early evening. But when Samuel runs to the Hochleitner farm, and when the other Amish come running, it is mid-day or early afternoon.

Witness mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When John says good-bye to Samuel you see them from across a brook, sitting on the bank. In the next shot they are shown from behind and the brook is gone. To top it off, John even walks off in the direction where the brook was before.

Visible crew/equipment: When the Lapps pull the car into the barn, you can see a crew member (a blond guy wearing a green top) at the steering wheel, quite obviously directing the car.

Continuity mistake: When Samuel shows his new toy to Rachel she looks out of the kitchen window into the fields. Two shots later she looks out of the same window and, surprise, there are Eli and John putting up the bird house. When she talks to Eli later there is same window in the background, with no bird house to be seen.

Factual error: When Rachel and Samuel leave for Philadelphia by train the train overtakes Daniel's cart after quite a while. That's not possible since Daniel was still standing on the platform when the train left the station.

Continuity mistake: When John crashes against the birdhouse, itS pole is laying on the car's hood. When Rachel runs to help him, it is not on the hood anymore.

Witness mistake picture

Continuity mistake: During the barn raise John is seen hammering somewhere up in the structure. The hammering continues while the camera is on Daniel who is getting some lemonade from Rachel. He then offers his lemonade to John who is now standing on the ground.

Audio problem: When John milks the cow you hear the milk splashing into the bucket but you don't see any.

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Harrison Ford was very taken with the Amish and the beautiful scenery in which Witness was filmed. Mr. Ford is a supporter and contributor to the Lancaster Farmland Trust, which helps save and preserve precious family farmlands. The Krantz' farm (where Witness was filmed) was saved and preserved by this trust fund.