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The Killing Fields (1984)

R  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  1 February 1985 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 39,331 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 68 critic

A photographer is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody "Year Zero" cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million "undesirable" civilians.

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Title: The Killing Fields (1984)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Dith Pran (as Dr. Haing S Ngor)
...
Al Rockoff
...
...
Military Attache
...
U.S. Consul
...
Dr. MacEntire
Athol Fugard ...
Dr. Sundesval
Graham Kennedy ...
Dougal
Katherine Krapum Chey ...
Ser Moeum (Pran's Wife)
Oliver Pierpaoli ...
Titony (Pran's Son)
Edward Entero Chey ...
Sarun
Tom Bird ...
U.S. Military Advisor
Monirak Sisowath ...
Phat (K.R. Leader 2nd Village)
Lambool Dtangpaibool ...
Phat's Son
Edit

Storyline

Sydney Schanberg is a New York Times journalist covering the civil war in Cambodia. Together with local representative Dith Pran, they cover some of the tragedy and madness of the war. When the American forces leave, Dith Pran sends his family with them, but stays behind himself to help Schanberg cover the event. As an American, Schanberg won't have any trouble leaving the country, but the situation is different for Pran; he's a local, and the Khmer Rouge are moving in. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a reporter for the New York Times whose coverage of the Cambodian War would win him a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. But the friend who made it possible was half the world away with his life in great danger... This is the story of war and friendship, the anguish of a country and of one man's will to live. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gritos del silencio  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$34,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roy Scheider, Alan Arkin and Dustin Hoffman all expressed a keen interest in the lead role in the film. However, producer David Puttnam and director Roland Joffé had already decided to use Sam Waterston. The studio were not too happy with the decision to cast a relatively unknown actor in the lead, and Puttnam and Joffe were afraid that with the interest expressed by such well known performers as Hoffman, the studio may actually force them to cast someone other than Waterston. As such, when describing what the shoot would involve, they greatly exaggerated the danger of the location shoots, leading to most of the interested actors dropping out. See more »

Goofs

When Schanberg and Pran visit the city of Neak Leung (which had just been accidentally hit by a B-52 strike) a group of Cambodian National Army operatives rush into town in a jeep. The song "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney and Wings is blaring, supposedly from a radio on the jeep. While the scene was to have taken place in May, 1973, the song "Band on the Run" was not released until 1974. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sydney Schanberg: Cambodia. To many westerners it seemed a paradise. Another world, a secret world. But the war in neighboring Vietnam burst its borders, and the fighting soon spread to neutral Cambodia. In 1973 I went to cover this side-show struggle as a foreign correspondent of the New York Times. It was there, in the war-torn country side amidst the fighting between government troops and the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, that I met my guide and interpreter, Dith Pran, a man who was to change my life ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Swimming to Cambodia (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Imagine
Written by John Lennon (uncredited)
Performed by John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (uncredited)
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
All-time, no-holds-barred, 100% favourite
30 March 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about this film that gets to me so much, but it is THE most haunting, emotional film experience... and I've only ever seen it on video.

Excellent performances from Waterston, Ngor and Malkovich. A brilliant score by Mike Oldfield. Scenes of high emotion, tension, drama, horror and even one or two pieces of light relief (well, it has got Australia's Graham Kennedy of comedy fame).

The stand-out scenes for mine are those in the French Embassy; I can never watch the final scene from this sequence with a dry eye.

An excellent film and the soundtrack is not a bad investment either.


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