7.9/10
44,260
187 user 66 critic

The Killing Fields (1984)

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.

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ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Dith Pran (as Dr. Haing S Ngor)
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Al Rockoff
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Military Attaché
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U.S. Consul
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Dr. MacEntire
Athol Fugard ...
Dr. Sundesval
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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
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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 »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gritos del silencio  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,400,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$34,600,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was part of a cycle of pictures made during the 1980s that featured journalists covering war. The movies include Salvador (1986), Under Fire (1983), Circle of Deceit [Circle of Deceit (1981)], Deadline (1987), Cry Freedom (1987), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). 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 ...
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Connections

Referenced in R.I.P.D. (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Review
29 September 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Killing Fields is one of the most influential films of the 20th century. Its provocative and dangerous subject matter stresses the importance of communication and the freedom to communicate. Based on the Khmer Rouge occupation and genocide of Cambodia in the 1970's, the film tells the story of two men, catapulted into chaos and peril.

The movie is first and foremost, a historical account. The events are based off the true story of Dith Pran and Sydney Schanberg. Given that I had not known much about the Cambodian genocide of the 1970's prior to seeing this film, I must herald the piece as a successful feat of cinematography that served as both informational as well as inspirational. The film is believable, realistic, and heart wrenching. I immediately felt for the two main characters as they quickly exchanged trust and fell victim to the powers of political violence. While it is slightly romanticized, The Killing Fields still manages to produce a message with real life implications.


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