Perfect Witness

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A witness to a mob killing has second thoughts about testifying when he realizes his family might become a target. It took a mob to run the city — and one man to put them away.

ACTORS :  Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1989

POSTAGE : Free In Australia

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Perfect Witness  Story of a man (Quinn) who witnesses a mob killing and rather than testify he goes to prison. When released, he decides to finally testify, even though it means that he and his family will have to go into the “witness protection program” thereby disrupting their lives. However, an unexpected courtroom maneuver by the prosecuting attorney (Dennehy) changes the outcome for this man.

HBO movie about a witness to a murder

 

Perfect Witness  Brian Dennehy, Stockard Channing, and Aiden Quinn star in the 1989 “Perfect Witness” for HBO.

Dennehy is the DA of New York City, and Channing an Assistant DA with whom he is romantically involved. She has been working on a witness who (David Proval) who will testify against organized crime.

Then a restaurateur (Quinn), while making a phone call in a bar, witnesses a contract hit. The DA’s office is all over him to get him to testify. He consents until his family is harassed and then refuses, going before the Grand Jury and flatly refusing to testify.

There is an interesting plot twist at the end.

Pretty good movie with a group of top actors in the lead. Quinn looks so different today – back then he was a skinny guy whom Sinatra’s daughter wanted to play her father. He does a fine job. Dennehy is one of the great actors, having seen him on stage in “Long Day’s Journey” – he has immense power. Channing, blond here, is excellent as someone who wonders if it’s all worth it.

Ken Pogue plays the weakling bartender who saw the murder and claims his back was turned. He’s very good.

The leads were American but everybody else, as far as I could tell, was Canadian. Some of the New York scenes were not New York but pretty impressive, better than usual.

HBO I believe does much more impressive work now – this seems like a typical TV movie.

Quinn’s character witnesses the murder while he’s in a phone booth. Just think – today he would have used a cell phone from the restaurant and been out of the whole thing.

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