» » Témoin à tuer (1989)

Short summary

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.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Marr
    "Perfect Witness" is a typical journeyman HBO tv flick which tells of a small time restauranteur (Quinn) in NYC who witnesses a gangland hit, identifies the killer from mug shots but refuses to testify, and finds himself being squeezed by a US Attorney (Dennehy) and the mob with equal vigor. Overall the film is a mediocre telling of an interesting story with a hook at the end which is almost worth the wait. All drama with no action, romance, sex, or other trimmings, "Perfect Witness" makes for a flawed but okay watch for the needy channel surfer. (C+)
  • comment
    • Author: Shou
    Alright, here we go. I was totally into this movie because I like all of these law type of movies. It really interested me, and of course having my all time favorite actress ever, Stockard Channing, in it made it just that much better. She was so totally *amazing* in it, and I would like to recommend this movie to everyone. There is one MaJoR drawback to this movie though. The last like 30 minutes of this movie are so NoT worth watching, because the best character in my honest opinion, (I bet you can not guess who I am talking about here. Lol...) gets shot and dies. The movie goes down hill after that, but until that part it is one *awesome* movie. Stockard Channing rox!
  • comment
    • Author: Shliffiana
    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.
  • comment
    • Author: Ceroelyu
    This kept my interest for over halfway but then story began to get a little too depressing and the language got offensive and the whole thing just sort of collapsed. Near the end, I could care less what happened.

    I am used to hearing actor Brian Dennehy's verbal blasphemy. He's one of the worst of all times in that regard, abusing the Lord's name in vain, but it was disappointing to see Aiden Quinn's character, "Sam Paxton," slowly deteriorate. He was likable most of the way, and then started to cop an attitude. What happened to Stockard Channing's character "Liz" also was disappointing.

    Overall, too much of a downer to recommend.
  • comment
    • Author: Anardred
    (Some Spoilers) Taking a break from running his restaurant on Manhattans's West Side Sam Paxton, Aidan Quinn, stops off at his favorite watering hole Costallo's Ginmill to have a few drinks. Sam minding his own business and not looking for trouble, but only his next drink, sees Kevin "Smiley" O'Rouake, David Cumming, pop in the place with a grin from ear to ear.

    Before you can say "Geronimo" Smiley blasts bar patron a Mr. Woods, Markus Flanagan, into the promised land emptying his .9mm automatic into him! Sam doing his civic duty is the only person willing to identify Smiley with everyone else in the bar claiming that they were looking the other way, when Woods got blasted, and totally ignorant of what happened! It was by him doing the right thing that Sam got himself and his family royally screwed for the remainder of the movie.

    Smiley being a member of the notorious West Side Rovers extortion gang had his boys put the squeeze on Sam even when he was provided police protection by Manhattan D.A James Falcon, Brian Dennehy. Falcon was determined to put the Rovers out of business and behind bars and it was Sam, by testifying against Smiley, that was going to make his dream come true. So obsessed was Falcon in getting the Rovers their just deserts that he had his assistant and long time lover Liz Sapperstein, Stocker Channing, killed in a blotched sting operation with bar owner Costello, Ken Pogre, forced-by being blackmailed by Falcon-to go undercover for him.

    ***SPOILERS*** Sam soon realizing that it's better to shut his mouth then open it goes along with the Rover's attempts to keep quite until he finds out that his best friend Costello knew that he his wife Jeanie, Laura Harrington, and son Danny were being targeted by the Rovers who kidnapped and broke Danny's, Nial Lancaster, arm! Throwing caution to the wind Sam is now more then ever willing to testify against Smiley in open court and point him out as Woods' killer. As the shoe is about to drop, right on top of Smiley's head, Sam on the stand finds out, to his both shock and surprise, that he doesn't have to say a word! Smiley ends up doing all the talking for him! And what's even more surprising it was James Falcon who set this all up right from the start! With the now confused and befuddled Sam Paxton not having a clue to what his role, in Falcon's set-up, was going to be!

    P.S As the film title indicates Sam Paxton turned out to be D.A Falcon's "Perfect Witness" in getting the goods on the West Side Rovers without him never for once, even when he was told at the end of the movie, realizing it!
  • comment
    • Author: OwerSpeed
    Was looking for a bad movie diversion over Labor Day weekend and I happened to see a few Brian Dennehy made for TV movie suggestions pop up on YouTube. So I watched three or four of them - doesn't really matter, they're all exactly the same. Dennehy is a cop or a lawyer or whatever and he has a conflict of being loyal to one thing or another.

    Don't get me wrong - Dennehy is legendary. Love the man. Serengeti calls it when he raps "Favorite actor Dennehy, favorite drink O'Douls - Bears, Hawks, Sox, Bulls".

    But "Perfect Witness" is far from perfect. The thing I don't get is...the main character...he doesn't actually do anything. He says he'll testify, then he doesn't. That's it! That's the whole movie. Like...what? That's all?

    Near the end of the movie somehow he gets out of jail and returns to the job where he works. As he walks in the door customers and staff start clapping for him. Why??? He didn't do anything!! He literally did nothing (that's why he was in prison). Jeez, I'd like to get a round of applause for something like, I dunno, sitting on the couch and smoking a joint. "Hey, that guy's a hero! Woohoo!!"
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Brian Dennehy Brian Dennehy - James Falcon
    Aidan Quinn Aidan Quinn - Sam Paxton
    Stockard Channing Stockard Channing - Liz Sapperstein
    Laura Harrington Laura Harrington - Jeanie Paxton
    Delroy Lindo Delroy Lindo - Berger
    Joe Grifasi Joe Grifasi - Breeze
    Ken Pogue Ken Pogue - Costello
    Markus Flanagan Markus Flanagan - Woods
    David Margulies David Margulies - Rudnick
    Nial Lancaster Nial Lancaster - Danny Paxton
    James Greene James Greene - Paddy O'Rourke
    Colm Meaney Colm Meaney - Meagher
    Tobin Bell Tobin Bell - Dillon
    Tony Sirico Tony Sirico - Marco
    Sam Malkin Sam Malkin - Stefano
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