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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.


, (uncredited)
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Unblinking and unsettling, this documentary lays bare a mysterious process that goes on all around us - what happens to people who die with no next of kin.

Directors: Grover Babcock, Blue Hadaegh


Credited cast:
Chuck Riley ...
Ed Dorris ...
Himself, Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept., Homicide (as Sgt. Ed Dorris Ret.)
Thomas Noguchi ...
Himself, Los Angeles County Coroner
Sirhan Sirhan ...
Wayne Henley ...
Ed Kemper ...
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)
James Brady ...
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)


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


A brutal study of violence in the U.S.A. See more »


Documentary | Crime


See all certifications »





Release Date:

5 September 1981 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Adeus América  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


[last lines]
Narrator: While you watched this movie, five of us were murdered. One was the random killing of a stranger.
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Written by John Lennon
Performed by John Lennon
©1971 Northern Songs Limited
All rights for the U.S.A, Mexico and the Philippines
controlled by Maclen Music Incorporated
Used by permission. All rights reserved
Courtesy of Capital Records, Inc. and EMI Records Limited
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User Reviews

82 shockomentary is a killer
17 November 2013 | by (adelaide, australia) – See all my reviews

This is one doco I wouldn't hurry to watch again. There were a few moments of this old, riveting, eye opening pic (that I viewed for the first time last week) that absolutely chilled me. Amongst some images of sick, abhorrent violence, we come face to face with those notorious few, who've earned their names in history, as the worst serial killers, and I need not spell em' out for you. Every frame of this pic is real, no dramatization or reenactment by capable actors, it's the real deal, a true shocking slice of America. It really goes into the Kennedy Assassination, which I liked, the two shooter theories, and CU shots of the actual point of impact. We even see Reagan get it, up close. Some of the interviews with those cold sadistic sons of bitches, is what's most affecting, the easily disturbed should steer clear of this one. We are totally repelled by these monsters. Bundy is what true nightmares are made of, I would of loved to be the one frying him. The final words from that Judge left a lasting memory. Starting with a police shootout, and ending with John's Lennon's vigil, TKOA is that truly one time shockomentary pic, where age in no way has dampened it's impact. Like a scar, it never gets smaller, or goes away. It's there for life. This is the lasting impact has. This well made doco, is not one I'd opt to watch again. It's too confronting and morbidly chilling. I'm better watching the new horror film, something this great, 'in your face, real life, can't get out of your head' pic is more than, and I give weight to the latter of that description.

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