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Perfect Witness
Perfect Witness
Actors: Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing, Laura Harrington, Delroy Lindo
Director: Robert Mandel
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 43min

Restaurant owner Sam Paxton has witnessed a mob hit. Now he's being pressured by the DA to aid the prosecution - and pressured by the mob to lay off. With his wife and child at risk, Sam is trapped - the perfect witness wh...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing, Laura Harrington, Delroy Lindo
Director: Robert Mandel
Creators: Lajos Koltai, Wendy Greene Bricmont, Amy H. Rogers, Elaine Sperber, Wayne Rogers, Ron Hutchinson, Terry Curtis Fox
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/14/2004
Original Release Date: 10/28/1989
Theatrical Release Date: 10/28/1989
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Good movie that shows power of US Attorney's Office
jct456 | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There is an African proverb that "When the elephants fight, it is the mice who are crushed." This well-written and well-performed HBO movie is a great illustration of that proverb. Sam Paxton, a restaurant owner in New York who has a wife and young son, witnesses a mob hit when making a late night telephone call. He is the only witness willing to step forward to identify the murderer, an enforcer for the Mob.

Sam is the honest, guileless Everyman trapped in a situation not of his making. He finds himself caught, first, in the turf battle between the local New York district attorney and the United States Attorney, who is conducting a RICO investigation of the Mob's protection racket in the restaurant and meat distribution trades, and, later, between the aggressive, ambitious U.S. Attorney and the threats of the Mob. At first Sam is willing to testify until dissuaded by Mob threats and by neighborhood ostracism. When Sam refuses to testify, the U.S. Attorney plays hardball with Sam to force him to testify before the grand jury and in trial, including sending the poor man to jail for several months for civil contempt, where he is in the company of members of the Mob.

There is a plot twist at the end which lends a sadder and more ironic sheen to the preceding events.

This movie shows the collateral human consequences of government criminal investigations. The movie, though made a while ago (definitely, pre-cell phone), is still timely - police in large cities really have difficulty getting witnesses to step forward in drive-by and gang shootings.

There is a strong performance by Brian Dennehy as the hardnosed U.S. Attorney on a crusade to clean up the city, and a particularly good performance by Aidan Quinn, who excels in these kinds of roles, as the hapless witness who is also a man of integrity.
A Perfect Murdering Witness
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 09/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A meat distributer gets tired of the mobs fees on his market. He decides to testify for the DA. A restauranter, played by Aidan Quinn, witnesses a mob murder in a bar while making a phone call after hours. The DA, played by Brian Denehy, and his associate, played by Stockard Channing, will do almost anything to get him to testify for them. He agrees to testify but has a change of heart after the meat distributor and his wife are found dead and then his son is badly beaten. Excellent drama. I recommend you catch this one, especially if you are a fan of any of these stars. If you enjoy this be sure to catch "Convicted"."
Perfect Witness DVD Review
Manny M. Agah | 06/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a well-made, well-written, and well-acted HBO film. HBO has always made some of the most interesting and entertaining films. Perfect Witness is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio and has very good picture and sound quality."