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The Killing Fields (1984)

R  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  1 February 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 40,542 users  
Reviews: 183 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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Won 3 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ...
Katherine Krapum Chey ...
Ser Moeum (Pran's Wife)
Oliver Pierpaoli ...
Titony (Pran's Son)
Edward Entero Chey ...
Tom Bird ...
U.S. Military Advisor
Monirak Sisowath ...
Phat (K.R. Leader 2nd Village)
Lambool Dtangpaibool ...
Phat's Son


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


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 »


Drama | History | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gritos del silencio  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$34,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stanley Kubrick once considered filming 'The Killing Fields', but a close aide reviewed the book as "un-cinematic", according to notes and letters in the Kubrick archive in London. See more »


At the village of Neak Leung, a soldier is listening to Band on the Run by Wings. The accidental bombing of Neak Leung occurred in August 1973; the album Band on the Run was not released until October of that year. See more »


[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 »


Written by John Lennon (uncredited)
Performed by John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (uncredited)
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Honest, Worthwhile film-making...
1 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film a while back and just saw it again on TV. If you are interested in seeing a great, tense drama this is a good start. Honest and unapologetic directing from Roland Joffe and fine performances from Sam Waterston & John Malkovich (plus nicely played small parts by Craig T. Nelson & Spalding Gray.) Above all of them, however, is Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, the Cambodian journalist assisting the New York Times reporter played by Waterston during the conflicts in Cambodia around the time of the Vietnam war. This was Ngor's first film and had no previous acting experience. Quite a performance from Ngor, earning a well deserved Academy Award. Interesting note, Ngor himself led a very similar life to his character. Wonderfully touching film, you should see it.

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