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The Killing Fields (1984)

The Killing Fields (1984)

Sam WaterstonHaing S. NgorJohn MalkovichJulian Sands
Roland Joffé


The Killing Fields (1984) is a English,French,Khmer,Russian movie. Roland Joffé has directed this movie. Sam Waterston,Haing S. Ngor,John Malkovich,Julian Sands are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1984. The Killing Fields (1984) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,History,War movie in India and around the world.

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.


The Killing Fields (1984) Reviews

  • Joffe's best work to date


    Based on the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia, this is an excellent tale of hardship and friendship. Basically director Roland Joffe` did an wonderful job in exposing the detailed facts so simply in the film that you believe that you are in that time in person. The two actors, Sam Waterson and Haing Ngor both displayed godlike pieces of acting. It's unfortunate Waterson couldn't join Ngor in Academy Awards. In addition, the director's credit is to highlight both the characters' points of view. That's why the movie became so interesting to watch. John Malkovich brought out a fine performance as a photographer. In the course of the story of adventures of the two men, the film also has vivid descriptions of the public life during the war. Several detailed scenes of war violence are presented here so indifferently that you are bound to be convinced about its historical accuracy. Here we find the magical cinematography of Chris Menges. Again, during the time of Dith Pran's suffering, it never seemed that the director is showing too much. One of the most important, and my favorite, aspects of the film is its ending. You cannot imagine of a better alternative of this happiest ending possible in a war drama. And with the fantastic use of Lennon's "imagine", it has got to an enormous height of perfection. 5/5.

  • The best war film ever made.


    Rating: **** Out of **** Hard to say, but I believe when it comes to the war genre, The Killing Fields manages to edge out even Saving Private Ryan, and without a doubt, there's no better war film out there that's done a better job of capturing the realistic details and emotional loss of the time period (that being, the 70's in Cambodia/Vietnam). Thus, I've always considered it a little odd that no one I know has even heard of this film. When lists of the greatest war films are decided, I don't believe I've ever seen this film crack any list. And the reason is simple: The Killing Fields is often ignored because it doesn't come from a soldier's point of view, and neither does it feature any adrenaline-pumping battle sequences. The fact that a strong portion of the film (about 2/5's) comes entirely from a Cambodian man's viewpoint might throw off a few viewers here and there. And yet, the film does just as fine a job as any anti-war film in creating a frightenining, chaotic world. The performances all around superb without exception. Haing S. Ngor, who was tragically killed a few years ago, delivers a riveting, emotionally wrenching turn as the guide who is trapped in Cambodia and forced to fight for his life. He deservingly won the Oscar, though it's a shame he was snubbed for the best actor award. Inarguably, he's the film's central character and he also has more screen time than top-billed Sam Waterston. Despite my complaint on that matter, Waterston is also excellent as the journalist with a guilty conscience. The Killing Fields is a suspenseful and exhilarating experience, a journey through an apocalyptic landscape that features one shocking image after another. Watch, and you'll see why the film is so acclaimed.

  • Honest, Worthwhile film-making...


    I saw this film a while back and just saw it again on TV. If you are interested in seeing a great, tense drama this is a good start. Honest and unapologetic directing from Roland Joffe and fine performances from Sam Waterston & John Malkovich (plus nicely played small parts by Craig T. Nelson & Spalding Gray.) Above all of them, however, is Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, the Cambodian journalist assisting the New York Times reporter played by Waterston during the conflicts in Cambodia around the time of the Vietnam war. This was Ngor's first film and had no previous acting experience. Quite a performance from Ngor, earning a well deserved Academy Award. Interesting note, Ngor himself led a very similar life to his character. Wonderfully touching film, you should see it.

  • Rich, detailed depiction of a man's survival of the Khmer Rouge regime, and the American friend who finds him...


    *Some spoilers* Complex & historically rich, THE KILLING FIELDS is closely based upon New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg's 'The Life And Death Of Dith Pran.' Schanberg was a stringer for the Times during the Vietnam War, and was stationed in Phnom Penh in the early 1970s as once-neutral Cambodia was overrun by outside interference (US and North Vietnam), and collapsed into an explosively violent civil war. Schanberg reported extensively on this war, assisted by Cambodian photojournalist Dith Pran, and this film does an adequate job of introducing the complexities of it – the rightist government (which was nominally US-backed - not touched upon during the film) quickly became paralyzed by inaction, stunning levels of corruption and ineptness. Simultaneously, the mysterious other side (deemed Les Khmer Rouges by the deposed Prince Noorodom Sihanouk) fought with near-incomprehensible ferocity, maintaining an impenetrable veil of secrecy about their ideology and future plans for Cambodia. With the Cambodian government(the Khmer Republic) soon in a swift free-fall, the American embassy was closed on April 10, 1975 and Americans – along with some Cambodians – were airlifted out. After painful debate, Schanberg and Pran opted to remain, in an attempt at covering the now-imminent fall of Phnom Penh. Seven days later, the Khmer Rouge (K.R.) captured the city – the dying government shuddering to a surrender, and Schanberg and Pran went into hiding in the French embassy. The finest moments of the film are the depictions of the chaos, desperation and crowding at the French compound – the intent and future behavior of the K.R. were not well-known at this point (right up to, and for a considerable amount of time after their victory they operated in absolute, cult-like secrecy), and the sense of oncoming apocalypse is perfectly expressed with a subtle, seemingly-throwaway line delivered at this point by a French diplomat: "Adieu, ancien regime," as an official from the now-overthrown Khmer republican government was lead away at gunpoint, and the sound of massacres could be heard all over the city. Pran was stranded in the country as the K.R. immediately launched one of the most infamous revolutions in world history, ordering cities emptied of their populations in an attempt at creating an isolationist agricultural utopia, and dismantling 'bourgeois' institutions. The ideology of the K.R. (critical to understanding the tragic depths of the story, and skimmed over in the film) was essentially a blend of the most extreme theories of Mao and Stalin, mixed with a strand of nationalism rivaling any variant of fascism in its ferocity. In this harshly reconstructed society, urbanites and the educated (like Pran) were automatically considered enemies of the people, likely to be killed as potential counterrevolutionaries. Forced into a gulag in the countryside, Pran camouflages his background, but is still subjected to the brutalities inflicted upon many of his comrades. Upon hearing that Vietnam has invaded Cambodia, Pran flees into the bush, gradually making his way to the Thai border. Word reaches Schanberg, who has been searching for Pran for nearly four years (Cambodia had been sealed off from the outside world), and the two are reunited in a refugee camp in Eastern Thailand. KILLING FIELDS is a gripping film, successful on many fronts. Filmed in Thailand, the performances seem very authentic, and the period setting is painstakingly recreated. The cinematography has an impressive John Ford grandeur. Thus my main problems with the film amount to hairsplitting: the Mike (ugh) Oldfield score is abysmal, and at least one otherwise great scene (the US embassy evacuation) is ruined by it. A little more digging into some of the political ideologies swirling around the actual events would give the later scenes (Pran in one of the KR collectives) needed context. Other commentators here have already noted the inapproriateness of Lennon's 'Imagine' at the films' end, and the mercifully brief Schanberg-at-home scenes during the latter half of the film are a bit much. Very intense - as doctor-survivor-actor Haing S. Ngor – who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Pran – stated in 'A Cambodian Odyssey,' - his own autobiography: "Had the film portrayed the actual severity of what had occurred, no one would've been able to sit through it." This is easily among the most harrowing tales of friendship and loyalty to have ever made it to the big screen; even with minor problems, a film very much worth seeing.

  • One of the most beautiful and moving films ever made.


    First of all I love this genre of movie; I'm not a huge fan of action or fantasy or romance movies, I have so-called "comedies" but I love genuine FILM, as in FILM not MOVIE; art as opposed to enterprise. This film, The Killing Fields, is one of the defining films in it's class; based on the true story of an American journalist (one Sydney Schanberg) working in Cambodia and his guide/interpreter; a Cambodian named Dith Pran. When the Khmer Rouge (probably one of the most vicious and barbaric regimes in history) takes power the Westerners flee. The enterprising American, however, remains behind with his faithful guide (who sends his family off to America). This turns out to be a bad decision; through a series of misadventures Dith Pran cannot escape Cambodia and must remain behind while his friend flees. The movie weaves a wonderful tale of adventure, misadventure, loss, suffering, death, and reunion (in no particular order). This movie is so beautiful and touching (and so very graphic) that one cannot help but be affected by it; a must-see, one of the defining movies on the subject of war as well as loss and certainly the most evocative film about the Khmer Rouge and the Viet Nam War in Cambodia. A beautiful film about war and tragedy but filled with hope throughout...


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