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The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Crime | 8 November 2012 (Denmark)
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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.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 53 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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


One of the year's most terrifying true stories. See more »


Documentary | Crime


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site |  »


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Release Date:

8 November 2012 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Amal-e koshtan  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,450, 21 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Two of the world's most honored documentary filmmakers - Werner Herzog and Errol Morris - are credited as executive producers. See more »


Adi Zulkadry - Fellow Executioner in 1965: We crushed their necks with wood. We hung them. We strangled them with wire. We cut off their heads. We ran them over with cars. We were allowed to do it. And, the proof is we murdered people and were never punished. The people we killed, there's nothing to be done about it. They have to accept it. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but it works: I've never felt guilty, never been depressed, never had nightmares.
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 »


Cari Pacar Lagi
Composer: Moh. Charly V.H.
© PT Trinity Optima Production
Courtesy of PT Trinity Optima Production
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User Reviews

Hard to watch for someone who knows too much of the truth
1 February 2016 | by See 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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