7.9/10
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193 user 71 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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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:

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:

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
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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

The real Dith Pran was born on September 27, 1942 at Siem Reap, Cambodia, and died of pancreatic cancer on March, 30, 2008 in New Jersey, USA. He was 65. See more »

Goofs

During the evacuation of the U.S. embassy, a soldier is taking down the U.S. flag and climbs back into the building of the embassy, but he forgets his assault rifle. 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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Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Review
29 September 2011 | by marykate_nylandSee 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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