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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)
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

Gross USA:

$34,700,291

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,700,291
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nigel Havers was originally offered the role of the British journalist Jon Swain but had to decline owing to his filming A Passage to India (1984). See more »

Goofs

When Sydney is talking to Dith Pran in his room, Sydney's hairstyle changes between shots. It goes from neatly combed to hanging down over his forehead to neatly combed again. 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 ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Background to 'Lucky Miles' (2007) See more »

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

 
poignant
3 March 1999 | by MrsRainbowSee all my reviews

I watched this movie with my father shortly after it came out on video, so I would have been only 9 or 10 at the time. I did not see it again until this year, but I could still remember the scene of a lone man stumbling across a field strewn with the skeletons of his countrymen. Watching it again was both a moving and a worthwhile experience.

There are so many scenes which will, as the movie case says, haunt the viewer long after watching. The scene already mentioned, Waterston and Ngor wandering through the remains of the homes of Cambodian civilians destroyed by American bombs, a little girl, her hands over her ears, crying and screaming, surrounded by explosions and gunfire.

The acting performances are top notch all round, particularly, of course, by Dr. Ngor. The team of Joffe and Menges is superb, as they also are in The Mission. Both films are in my video library.

As an aside, whatever happened to Joffe? Super Mario Brothers? The Scarlet Letter? The Mission and The Killing Fields are such rich, well-crafted films. It's a shame that actors and directors are pulled towards Hollywood. Artistic integrity is priceless. Perhaps that's why it's given away by so many.


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