In 1985, a year after Temple of Doom, Harrison Ford starred in one of the best movies of his long career: Witness. The movie saw Ford bag an Oscar nomination, still his only one to date, and follows his character Detective Sergeant John Book as he’s enlisted to keep an Amish woman safe after she witnesses a brutal murder.
The crime thriller movie is up there with Ford’s very best, and was nominated in eight categories at the year’s Oscars. As it turns out, Ford had a major hand in the film’s success because he helped to rewrite the script. “Great movie, I was really pleased [with it],” said the actor, speaking with People.
“The striking thing about it was we had four weeks of pre-production which is incredibly short for a film like that.”
What did Ford and director Peter Weir spend that time doing? First hand research, and it paid off. “Peter went off the research the Amish and I went off the research the police. We met two weeks later, told each other what we’d learned. We rewrote the script, and two weeks later we were shooting the movie.”
That script would go on to win the award for Best Original Screenplay, although Ford’s name wasn’t on the list of writers despite his work on the script. Ford and Weir’s research and rewrites are a significant factor in why the movie feels so grounded and real, and helped to add a layer of authenticity to Witness.
Despite all its success, Witness is seriously underrated among Ford’s filmography. Hopefully, that will eventually change because Ford gives one of his best performances, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best ’80s movies. If you haven’t seen it before, you really should check it out.
For more on Ford, check out our Indiana Jones 5 review. Or, see why his favorite movie is this Robert Duvall classic. You can also find out more about his TV adventures with our guide to the 1923 season 2 release date and learn why he refuses to speak to Kevin Costner about Yellowstone. Alternatively, check out our handy guide to all the new movies coming in 2023.