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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 40,165 users  
Reviews: 182 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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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 <>

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:





| | |

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
See  »

Did You Know?


The year the film was released, Time Magazine's Cultural Highs and Lows of the Year, had as the lowest point, 'David Puttnam's decision to use John Lennon's Imagine in The Killing Fields'. See more »


During the evacuation of the US Embassy, not a single Marine is seen with the cloth camouflage helmet cover that was a required item of uniform. 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 »


Referenced in The Critic: Miserable (1994) See more »


Band On The Run
Written by Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney (uncredited)
Performed by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine
Courtesy of MPL Communiactions, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Killing Friends
21 May 2000 | by (Kebon Village, Indonesia) – See all my reviews

A must see movie...

The story about relationship and life, in decisive situations. And also a struggle towards guilts and torments.

Watching this movie, I'm thinking about how many sorrows and death brought by such horrifying ideology and minds. And how this things still happened to this moment.

One interesting plot, revealed how the west always want to tell the east what to do, and what they think best for them (which is in fact sometimes it's not). From the moment the military covered up their mistakes and their misjudgement about the country, to the day Sam Waterstone felt guilty about his demand for Dith Pran to stay with him and help his journalism work, while he also told Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) to get his family off country.

And the pattern also still happens to this moment.


18 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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