The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  21 January 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 14,888 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 88 user | 27 critic | 9 from

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pete Curtis
Bill Kerr ...
Colonel Henderson
Noel Ferrier ...
Wally O'Sullivan
Bembol Roco ...
Paul Sonkkila ...
Kevin Condon
Ali Nur ...
Dominador Robridillo ...
Betjak Man
Joel Agona ...
Palace Guard
Mike Emperio ...
Bernardo Nacilla ...
Domingo Landicho ...
Hermino De Guzman ...
Immigration Officer


Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. His apparently humdrum assignment to Indonesia soon turns hot as President Sukarno electrifies the populace and frightens foreign powers. Guy soon is the hottest reporter on the story with the help of his photographer, half- Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, who has gone native. Guy's affair with diplomat Jill Bryant also helps. Eventually Guy must face some major moral choices and the relationship between Billy and him reaches a crisis at the same time the politics of Indonesia does. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Love Caught In The Fire Of Revolution See more »


Drama | Romance | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 January 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El año que vivimos en peligro  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was part of a cycle of pictures made during the 1980s that featured journalists covering war. The movies include Salvador (1986), Under Fire (1983), Circle of Deceit [Circle of Deceit (1981)], Witness in the War Zone (1987), Cry Freedom (1987), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). See more »


The LE TIGRE t-shirts the reporters are wearing did not come until 1977 - they were not around in 1965. See more »


Billy Kwan: In the West, we want answers for everything. Everything is right or wrong, or good or bad. But in the
[shadow play]
Billy Kwan: no such final conclusion exists.
Billy Kwan: Look at Prince Ajuna. He's a hero. But he can also be fickle and selfish. Krishna says to him, "All is clouded by desire, Ajuna, as a fire by smoke, as a mirror by dust. Through these, it blinds the soul.
See more »


Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »


By Gene Vincent (uncredited) and Tex Davis (uncredited)
Performed by Gene Vincent
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Politics, Mysticism and Romance
25 November 2003 | by (Las Vegas) – See all my reviews

In "The Year of Living Dangerously" director Peter Weir attempts much and accomplishes most of his goals. It's a socio-political essay on the dangers of Western meddling in Third World countries. It's a fascinating view into the challenges of journalism in a volatile foreign country. It's a steamy romance involving two beautiful, intelligent characters. It's a distinctly Far Eastern morality play that seems to delight in yin/yang paradoxes. Plus it's one of the best films at evoking the mood, texture, and sensuality of life in Southeast Asia. Don't be too harsh on Weir for the lapses in historic accuracy and plotting, because it's a complicated, busy landscape he is painting here. The best things about the film are:

-Linda Hunt's amazing performance. Unlike other gender-bending performances (Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria", Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie") you never once give any thought to the fact that this is a woman playing a man. It's a seamless transition and a performance of immense heart and honesty. The image of a distraught Billy pounding at his typewriter, pleading "What then must we do?" while an aria swells around him and the eyes of Jakarta's poor stare at him from his own photographs, is an incredibly moving scene.

-The atmosphere created by the combination of Russell Boyd's cinematography and Maurice Jarre's score. Take a look at the scene with Weaver walking through the streets of Jakarta in a tropical downpour. The effect is breathtaking.

-The chemistry between Gibson and Weaver. You can feel the heat between them. Unlike other posters here, I believe their romance is one of the film's strong points.

I agree that the ending is a bit of a letdown, but it doesn't diminish Weir's accomplishments. "The Year of Living Dangerously" is a startling unique film, and certainly one his best.

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