Eye Witness (1981): Peter Yates’ Thriller Starring William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver

Following the success of Breaking Away (1979), writer Steve Tesich and director Peter Yates reteamed on Eye Witness, a middling thriller about Daryll Deever (William Hurt, miscast) a janitor who becomes infatuated with TV investigative reporter Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver).

When she arrives at his building to interview the tenants about a murder, the janitor, who discovered the body, wants to keep the newswoman interested.

Though he reveals nothing more, she does become interested in him, and when her aristocratic boyfriend (Christopher Plummer) learns from the unwitting woman that there’s someone with knowledge of the murder, he’s more concerned about what he might know than about her relationship with him.

Meanwhile, his paranoid friend (James Woods) gets incriminated, though he had no involvement.

Hurt and Weaver continue to investigate the murder together, and as they become more closely entwined, both of their lives are at risk.

The film offers a good chance to see three gifted actors, Hurt, Weaver, and Woods, early on in their impressive screen careers; all three would be nominated for Oscars and Hurt would win in 1985 for “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”


Running time: 102 minutes.

Directed by Peter Yates.

DVD: Jun 28, 2005

Twentieth Century Fox