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The Killing Fields (1984)

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



4,629 ( 257)
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 Attaché
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?


Actor Bruce Robinson penned a screenplay which he brought to producer David Puttnam, wanting his opinion on the 300 page draft he had written. Puttnam went off to talk to some directors about it and was particularly intrigued by Roland Joffé's take on the screenplay. Joffe maintained that it wasn't a war story but actually a love story between Dith Pran and Sidney Schanberg. This was enough for Puttnam to offer the project to Joffe. 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

It's not about Vietnam folks!
16 February 2003 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

I've read only 20 comments so far, and it was surprising to learn that some viewers (namely 'gregory.messine' and 'RBarse', both of US of A ) think it's set in Vietnam. Come on lads, I've heard that education in America is not great but I didn't expect it to be so bad. Have you ever opened an atlas. Maybe the sound in your theater didn't work or sth. THIS FILM IS ABOUT A WAR IN CAMBODIA. Cambodia is a neighbour of Vietnam. It's set in 1973-79, just after the Vietnam War!!!!!

Anyway, back to movie. It's brilliant, not too sentimental, not too cold. The acting is simply marvellous (to be honest I didn't know any of the actors except for Malkovich), cinematography is a touch of genius. Some people complained about the score. Well I can agree, that the lyrics of "Imagine" in the context sound like a Khmer Rouge anthem, but the rest is beautiful (Oldfield did a good job).The scene when Schanberg watches some TV programme about the Cambodian War while listening to Puccini's opera is so moving, just like the sight of thousands of Cambodians being "evacuated" by the Khmer out of Phnom Pehn.


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