37 user 29 critic

The Killing of America (1981)

2:14 | Trailer
A documentary of the decline of America. It features footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.


Sheldon Renan





Credited cast:
Chuck Riley Chuck Riley ... Narrator
Ed Dorris Ed Dorris ... Self (as Sgt. Ed Dorris Ret.)
Thomas Noguchi ... Self
Sirhan Sirhan ... Self
Wayne Henley Wayne Henley ... Self
Ed Kemper ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Susan Atkins ... Self (archive footage)
David Berkowitz ... Self (archive footage)
Kenneth Bianchi ... Self (archive footage)
Lawrence Bittaker ... Self (archive footage)
James Brady James Brady ... Self (archive footage)
Arthur Bremer Arthur Bremer ... Self (archive footage)
Sam Brown Sam Brown ... Self (archive footage)
Louise Bundy ... Self - Ted Bundy's Mother (archive footage)
Ted Bundy ... Self (archive footage)


A documentary of the decline of America. It features footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Warning: This film contains actual coverage of violent events which some people may find distressing See more »


Documentary | Crime


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Reportedly, under pressure from the film's Japanese financiers to finish off the film's ending on a more positive note due to the documentary's high negativity content of documented real-life crime and murder, Leonard Schrader inserted footage related to peace vigils that were held to commemorate the late John Lennon of The Beatles. See more »


[last lines]
Narrator: While you watched this movie, five of us were murdered. One was the random killing of a stranger.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Japanese version of this film runs 116 minutes long. It's called "Violence U.S.A." and is narrated in Japanese. Among the additional things featured in the Japanese version are shots of the Grand Canyon, footage of people surfing, skiing, and playing with Frisbees, and a long tribute to John Lennon. See more »


References Stir Crazy (1980) See more »


Written by John Lennon
Performed by John Lennon
©1971 Northern Songs Limited
All rights for the U.S.A, Mexico and the Philippines
controlled by Maclen Music Incorporated
Used by permission. All rights reserved
Courtesy of Capital Records, Inc. and EMI Records Limited
See more »

User Reviews

The twilight of Pax Americana
13 March 2004 | by BaroqueSee all my reviews

Despite having been made back in 1982, this film has not lost any of it's impact...and living in the country where it was filmed, it hits incredibly close to home.

Before you dismiss this as another "Faces of Death" clone, complete with re-enacted scenes, be forewarned. This is real. 100% of the footage came from either TV news departments across the country, or from private collectors! You WILL see newsreel footage of people being shot to death (including one man being shot by police before the opening credits!), and disturbingly graphic descriptions of murders. There is even footage where people leave a courtroom to vomit after hearing a recording made by Lawrence "Pliers" Bittaker during the slow torture death of one of his victims.

Leonard Schrader, the older brother of director Paul Schrader, produced this film for the Japanese film market, where "death films" bring in big money. But instead of an exploitative "shockumentary" as normally expected, this is a detailed examination of how Western Civilization is slowly falling apart.

The assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the attempted assassination of George Wallace, and a number of other people (Charles Whitman, David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, John Wayne Gacey, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Ed Kemper, Brenda "I Don't Like Mondays" Spencer, etc.) who, in their own twisted logic, saw the need to kill people, and acted upon it; all are reported here in great detail.

The film ends with a report on the murder of John Lennon, and a blunt statement that during the public memorial held in his memory, two people were shot.

No, this isn't a gross-out "video nasty", it's a hard examination of how the USA is in a slow collapse before our very eyes.

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USA | Japan



Release Date:

5 September 1981 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killing of America See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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