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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3,990 ( 732)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 25 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:

Every so often, there is a film that is destined to be talked about and remembered for years to come. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Haing S. Ngor became only the second non-professional actor to win an Oscar, following Harold Russell in William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). See more »

Goofs

At the village of Neak Leung, a soldier is listening to Band on the Run by Wings. The accidental bombing of Neak Leung occurred in August 1973; the album Band on the Run was not released until October of that year. 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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Connections

Referenced in Entrails of a Virgin (1986) 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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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Khmer | Russian

Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killing Fields 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
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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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