7.9/10
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190 user 69 critic

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.

Director:

Roland Joffé

Writer:

Bruce Robinson (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,989 ( 18)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Waterston ... Sydney Schanberg
Haing S. Ngor ... Dith Pran (as Dr. Haing S Ngor)
John Malkovich ... Al Rockoff
Julian Sands ... Jon Swain
Craig T. Nelson ... Military Attaché
Spalding Gray ... U.S. Consul
Bill Paterson ... Dr. MacEntire
Athol Fugard ... Dr. Sundesval
Graham Kennedy ... Dougal
Katherine Krapum Chey Katherine Krapum Chey ... Ser Moeum (Pran's Wife)
Oliver Pierpaoli Oliver Pierpaoli ... Titony (Pran's Son)
Edward Entero Chey Edward Entero Chey ... Sarun
Tom Bird Tom Bird ... U.S. Military Advisor
Monirak Sisowath Monirak Sisowath ... Phat (K.R. Leader 2nd Village)
Lambool Dtangpaibool 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 the local journalist 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:

Every so often, there is a film that is destined to be talked about and remembered for years to come. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Khmer | Russian

Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los gritos del silencio See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,181, 4 November 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$34,700,291
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Haing S. Ngor's murder, his niece went to his apartment to start sorting through his possessions, only to find that his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for The Killing Fields (1984) was sitting on his sideboard with all the gold rubbed off it. Obviously the award meant so much to the doctor-turned-actor that he had felt compelled to hold it continually to the extent that all the gold wore off. See more »

Goofs

When Schanberg and Pran visit the city of Neak Leung (which had just been accidentally hit by a B-52 strike) a group of Cambodian National Army operatives rush into town in a jeep. The song "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney and Wings is blaring, supposedly from a radio on the jeep. While the scene was to have taken place in May, 1973, the song "Band on the Run" was not released until 1974. 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

Featured in The Peculiar Memories of Bruce Robinson (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Imagine
Written by John Lennon (uncredited)
Performed by John Lennon & The The Plastic Ono Band (uncredited)
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Joffe's best work to date
22 January 2003 | by shanfloydSee all my reviews

Based on the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia, this is an excellent tale of hardship and friendship. Basically director Roland Joffe` did an wonderful job in exposing the detailed facts so simply in the film that you believe that you are in that time in person. The two actors, Sam Waterson and Haing Ngor both displayed godlike pieces of acting. It's unfortunate Waterson couldn't join Ngor in Academy Awards. In addition, the director's credit is to highlight both the characters' points of view. That's why the movie became so interesting to watch. John Malkovich brought out a fine performance as a photographer.

In the course of the story of adventures of the two men, the film also has vivid descriptions of the public life during the war. Several detailed scenes of war violence are presented here so indifferently that you are bound to be convinced about its historical accuracy. Here we find the magical cinematography of Chris Menges. Again, during the time of Dith Pran's suffering, it never seemed that the director is showing too much.

One of the most important, and my favorite, aspects of the film is its ending. You cannot imagine of a better alternative of this happiest ending possible in a war drama. And with the fantastic use of Lennon's "imagine", it has got to an enormous height of perfection. 5/5.


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