12 Gripping Films Where The Protagonist Witnesses a Murder

Hollywood makes us think that witnessing an unnatural death is just as sinister as doing the deed. We watch the witness to the crime and think, “Oh man, you really shouldn't have witnessed that.” It makes for great suspense.

These 12 movies are ideally suited to heighten the drama in your household on an otherwise uneventful evening.

1. The Fugitive

The Fugitive Harrison Ford
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

In the first of two appearances on this list, Harrison Ford plays a doctor wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, except he didn't murder his wife. Worse yet, Ford's Dr. Kimble knows who did murder his wife—a one-armed man!

Yeah, right, Harry. Get in the squad car.

2. Body Double

The Body Double Slavitza Jovan
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

A 1984 thriller from acclaimed director Brian de Palma, Body Double is an above-average whodunnit. But is it a whodunnit if a peeping Tom knows who dunnit?

Ponder that while you watch Body Double.

3. Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition Tyler Hoechlin
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

This Tom Hanks- and Paul Newman-led mobster classic from Sam Mendes captures the gritty, pomade-slicked 1930s crime era masterfully. Part of the story involves a young boy witnessing homicidal mobster activities.

4. The Girl Who Knew Too Much

The Girl Who Knew Too Much Adam West, Lisa Todd
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

You can guess what the girl knows.

5. Green Room

Green Room Patrick Stewart, Macon Blair, Jacob Kasch
Image Credit: A24.

One of Anton Yelchin's last movies before his tragic passing, Green Room, tells the story of a band that witnesses something unsightly at a neo-Nazi bar. The movie is a solid thriller, but it's also a reinforcement of a lesson that shouldn't need any reinforcing: don't hang out at Nazi bars, m'kay?

6. Rear Window

Rear Window Grace Kelly
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Alfred Hitchcock's take on the witness-to-a-murder trope? Looks like it's classic movie night!

7. Blow Out

Blow Out John Travolta and Nancy Allen
Image Credit: Filmways Pictures.

What happens when John Travolta accepts a job as a sound recordist for the movie studios? Not good stuff, it turns out. Blow Out is a Brian de Palma thriller and one of the better-received John Travolta movies.

8. Judgment Night

Judgement Night Emilio Estevez
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

All Emilio Estevez and Cuba Gooding, Jr. wanted was to watch a boxing match. Instead, they watched a match between predator and prey. Judgment Night.

9. Witness

Witness Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Amish may not have iPads, blenders, Bose headphones, or electricity, but they do have murders. Harrison Ford is investigating them, and a young Amish witness is helping. Are you going to watch and see what happens?

10. Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks Kevin Costner, Marg Helgenberger, Danielle Panabaker
Image Credit: MGM Distribution Co.

Can you say, “Kevin Costner does Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?” That's what we get with Mr. Brooks, in which the Cost-man is torn—do I want to do spreadsheets or homicides?

But what happens when a stalker stalks the murderous stalker? Watch Mr. Brooks and find out.

11. The Client

The Client Brad Renfro, David Speck
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Based on the John Grisham novel, The Client follows a young boy with the misfortune of witnessing a mob-related death. Of all the deaths in the world to witness, a mob-related death might be the worst.

12. Collateral

Collateral Movies Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Tom Cruise as a mad man works so well because it's so darn believable. Therefore, his imitation of an unstable hitman tormenting Jamie Foxx (a cab driver) in Collateral made for great cinema. Along the way, Cruise does plenty of hitman things in front of the cabbie.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.