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The Act of Killing (2012)

2:12 | Trailer
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


"Unprecedented in the history of cinema" - Werner Herzog See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Played for 52 weeks at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts from June 28th, 2013. 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 »


Bunga Seroja
Composer: Husein Bawafie
Courtesy of Ridho Bawafie
See more »

User Reviews

Hard to watch for someone who knows too much of the truth
1 February 2016 | by ediliuantoSee all my reviews

I cannot help the urge not to write something that I could say I truly know and familiar with. I was born in the exact city where this youth organization stronghold (Pemuda Pancasila) is based now and where all the killing had taken place in the past. I am no stranger to all the crimes they did back then or do now.

Back to where it all started on the 30th of September 1965, which marked the rebellion by the Communist Party. Seven of the highly ranked military generals were kidnapped, tortured and murdered then piled in an old well by what the history said to be the communist starting coup d état. (No evidences of torturing as accused, only military style execution resulted from the autopsies of the remains and also no evidence it was done by the communist party member till now).

The name Pemuda Pancasila (Youth of Pancasila) was then known since youth started to march on the street yelling Pancasila (our nation's philosophy) resisting and seeking for revenge by annihilating communism to its root. Both government and military gave full support resulted in uncontrolled anarchy mob led to man slaughter and in present day, an organized crime.

My Mother was 13 and witnessed their brutalities would tell me the horror with fears still could be seen in her eyes. Her brothers would run and hide for their lives in a rice field when Pemuda Pancasila arrived with machetes in military trucks yelling "Pancasila" as their slogan to find and execute anyone who was involved in communist. But all the communist excuses were biased and used only to do what they wanted and to kill whoever they think was communist mostly with no evidence at all.

She witnessed her neighbour accused as one of the member of "Gerwani", woman communist organization, being raped, then dragged to the street and beaten to death as an example for others who resist. They looted, ate, drank, and destroyed what they could not take in my mom's store. One word or eye contact showing disrespect would find her ended up beaten to death.

Dead bodies and body parts scattered everywhere on the street was a normal view. Not one day went by without anyone getting killed at night. Many were victims of the unproven accusation, poor farmers who received fertilizer or farming tools from the communist party would be considered communist while they did not even know anything about what communism is.

I felt really sick watching this movie yet at the same time I was very thankful finally the whole truth about how this crime organization started and is hiding behind a youth organization now be told. It disgusted me how they could live with such unbelievable crimes and told the story so proudly with no regrets and believed in their lies and excuses they made up only to justify their brutality in the past (except Anwar Congo). Some even considered themselves as heroes. Yet I pitied them for being very uneducated and shallow. Imitating what they saw in the western cowboy and Mafia's movies thinking they could be meaner and more brutal like it was just some scene in a movie.

Are they qualified as human beings?

Ps. If you are interested in finding more about their brutalities and violence, you can find videos in youtube recently, they are involved in a riot with other organization and Police.

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Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


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:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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