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The Killing of America (1981)

A documentary of the decline of America. It features a lot a great footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.

Directors:

, (uncredited)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Chuck Riley ...
Narrator
Ed Dorris ...
Himself, Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept., Homicide (as Sgt. Ed Dorris Ret.)
Thomas Noguchi ...
Himself, Los Angeles County Coroner
Sirhan Sirhan ...
Himself
Wayne Henley ...
Himself
Ed Kemper ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Berkowitz ...
Himself - Son of Sam (archive footage)
Kenneth Bianchi ...
Himself - Hillside Strangler (archive footage)
Lawrence Bittaker ...
Himself (archive footage)
Arthur Bremer ...
Himself - Shoting Wallace (archive footage)
Sam Brown ...
Himself - Sidewalk Sniper (archive footage)
Ted Bundy ...
Himself (archive footage)
Dean Corll ...
Himself (archive footage)
Juan Corona ...
Himself (archive footage)
Mark Essex ...
Himself - Howard Johnson Sniper (archive footage) (as Robert Essex)
Edit

Storyline

A documentary of the decline of America. It features a lot a great footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WE DARE YOU! To see the most shocking film ever made See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Crime

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 September 1981 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Adeus América  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debut length feature as both a producer and a director for Leonard Schrader, the brother of Paul Schrader, with Leonard also acting as a writer on The Killing of America (1981) but was uncredited for being a co-director. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Narrator: While you watched this movie, five of us were murdered. One was the random killing of a stranger.
See more »

Connections

References Jungle Holocaust (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Homicide
Written by Nick Cash & Guy Days
Performed by 999
Courtesy of Albion Records Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chilling and morbidly fascinating
22 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Michael Moore must have seen this movie. This is Bowling for Columbine, dark and hopeless early 80s style. No humour here, just a dystopia view of an ugly, violent, dysfunctional America going down in flames, loosely connected through a sprawling narrative, and fueled by amazing archive footage.

Sensitive viewers be warned. There are plenty of ghastly sequences and photographs here. Some, no, lots of completely horrible stuff that will make you cringe.

While Moore aims at amusing us as he hammers away on his message, The Killing of America goes straight for shock value. The narrative seems to exist primarily as an excuse for showing a lot of violent images. The message never goes beyond "Look at all the violence. Something must be wrong with America". While true enough, this is hardly Pulitzer stuff.

But it is not message that makes this movie interesting. It is the fantastic collection of archive footage that the filmmakers have managed to scrape together. With the risk of appearing warped, I must admit that this is truly fascinating stuff. You'll find news footage here of riots, assassinations of political figures, sniper mass murderers etc. that is rarely shown anywhere.

I have long been fascinated by American contemporary history and politics, and in that vein, I find this movie unmissable. The three segments showing the JFK assassination from different angles alone make it worth watching. I have never really doubted that Oswald was the only assassin before, but now...let's just say I'll leave a little room for speculation. Just a tiny little bit.

Those interested in the phenomena of mass or serial killers will also get their fill of material here. A large segment of the film is dedicated to this, including court footage of Ted Bundy and an interview with Edward Kemper. Both seem earily "normal". Isn't that more scary than if they were ranting lunatics? An audio tape, seemingly real, of Jim Jones admonishing his disciples to take their own lives more willingly, without complaining so much, is another complete hairraiser.

While obviously taken out of context and thrown together in order to create a slanted image of what was going on during the 1960s and 1970s, many of the scenes in this movie rightly show us a different America than the one we recognize from mainstream media.

This is not the whole truth. But it is a small part, an evil, shadowy part. The Killing of America desensitizes recent history. And as such, it is essential.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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