A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.


Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous (co-director) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 53 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Anwar Congo ... Self - Executioner in 1965
Herman Koto ... Self - Gangster and Paramilitary Leader
Syamsul Arifin Syamsul Arifin ... Self - Governor of North Sumatra
Ibrahim Sinik Ibrahim Sinik ... Self - Newspaper Publisher
Yapto Soerjosoemarno ... Self - Leader of Pancasila Youth
Safit Pardede Safit Pardede ... Self - Local Paramilitary Leader
Jusuf Kalla ... Self - Vice President of Indonesia
Adi Zulkadry ... Self - Fellow Executioner in 1965
Soaduon Siregar Soaduon Siregar ... Self - Journalist
Suryono ... Self - Anwar's Neighbor
Haji Marzuki Haji Marzuki ... Self - Member of North Sumatra Parliament (as Marzuki)
Haji Anif ... Self - Paramilitary Leader and Businessman
Rahmat Shah Rahmat Shah ... Self - Member of Parliament
Sakhyan Asmara Sakhyan Asmara ... Self - Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport


A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A story of killers who win, and the society they build See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Joshua Oppenheimer began interviewing survivors and victims families of the events of 1965 before moving the focus of the film to the murderers following interference from local authorities. Anwar Congo was the 41st perpetrator/killer he interviewed. See more »


Anwar Congo: Did the people I tortured feel the way I do here? I can feel what the people I tortured felt. Because here my dignity has been destroyed, and then fear come, right there and then. All the terror suddenly possessed my body. It surrounded me, and possessed me.
Joshua Oppenheimer: Actually, the people you tortured felt far worse, because you knew it's only a film. They knew they were being killed.
Anwar Congo: But I can feel it, Josh. Really, I feel it. Or have I sinned. I did this to so many people, Josh. Is it all coming back to ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The name "Anonymous" appears 49 times under 27 different crew positions in the credits. This was done to protect the identities of those crew members who feared retribution from the former Indonesian death squad leaders. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 115-minute version is generally the theatrical version. It was presented at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. The 159-minute version competed at the CPH:DOX festival and won its main award. It is also the main version being released in Indonesia. See more »


Featured in Pauw & Witteman: Episode #7.117 (2013) See more »


Theme Song from the Film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI
Composer: Embie C. Noer
Courtesy of Pusat Produksi Film Negara Indonesia
See more »

User Reviews

Mindblowing In A Million Ways
8 January 2014 | by schadenfrohSee all my reviews

I have *never* seen anything like The Act of Killing. It is a documentary of sorts about the Indonesian death squads who killed millions of 'communists' in the 60s. Director Josh Oppenheimer worked with the squad leaders to make a 'film' about their involvement any way they wanted to make it. The result is staggeringly, devastatingly honest. I watched almost the entire the film with my jaw on the floor and my heart in my throat.

The massacres are so impinged upon the collective consciousness of Indonesia, even today, that it appears to permeate every aspect of every person's life. These squad leaders are still feared and celebrated, and their actions are institutionally supported, so, as a result, they get to run around patting themselves and each other on the back for their atrocities. It's bizarre on the highest order, and, though I wouldn't have thought of it, there probably isn't a better way to treat the subject matter than the way this film does.

There are some scenes that are actually hard to watch, too real, even when they're not. Watching Chinese immigrant shop owners getting shaken down by gangsters for money was particularly sad, as was seeing confused, scared children cry ceaselessly after participating in hyper- realistic reenactments of massacres.

Too often, when it comes to documentaries, people implore, "you have to see this one," citing its social, economic, personal, governmental, or scientific importance. Well this film is one everyone should see. It's really hard to believe sometimes that people like these death squad leaders really exist and travesties like this really have and continue to happen.

This film absolutely blew my mind. It is unquestionably one of the very best documentaries I've ever seen.

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UK | Denmark | Norway


Indonesian | English

Release Date:

8 November 2012 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Act of Killing See more »

Filming Locations:

Medan, Indonesia See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,450, 21 July 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (extended) | (TV) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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