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The Killing Fields (1984)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  1 February 1985 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 36,204 users  
Reviews: 176 user | 63 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:

The Killing Fields  »

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
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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 Sydney is talking to Dith Pran in his room, Sydney's hairstyle changes between shots. It goes from neatly combed to hanging down over his forehead to neatly combed again. 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 Jeopardy!: Episode #22.228 (2006) 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

 
Joffe's best work to date
22 January 2003 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Based on the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia, this is an excellent tale of hardship and friendship. Basically director Roland Joffe` did an wonderful job in exposing the detailed facts so simply in the film that you believe that you are in that time in person. The two actors, Sam Waterson and Haing Ngor both displayed godlike pieces of acting. It's unfortunate Waterson couldn't join Ngor in Academy Awards. In addition, the director's credit is to highlight both the characters' points of view. That's why the movie became so interesting to watch. John Malkovich brought out a fine performance as a photographer.

In the course of the story of adventures of the two men, the film also has vivid descriptions of the public life during the war. Several detailed scenes of war violence are presented here so indifferently that you are bound to be convinced about its historical accuracy. Here we find the magical cinematography of Chris Menges. Again, during the time of Dith Pran's suffering, it never seemed that the director is showing too much.

One of the most important, and my favorite, aspects of the film is its ending. You cannot imagine of a better alternative of this happiest ending possible in a war drama. And with the fantastic use of Lennon's "imagine", it has got to an enormous height of perfection. 5/5.


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