The Killing Fields (1984)

Drama | 141 Min

Movie Info

  • Release Date: 20 Jun, 2024
  • Release Date: 1984
  • Genres: Drama

Movie Story

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American newspaper correspondent, New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is covering the secret US bombing campaign ain Cambodia, along with American cameraman Al Rockoff (John Malkovich) and English reporter Jon Swain (Julian Sands). After having persuaded his Cambodian assistant, friend and interpreter, Dith Pran (Dr. Haing S. Ngor) to remain behind with him to help cover the story after the communist Khmer Rouge takeover and withdrawal of US military forces, Schanberg unintentionally betrays his aide by miscalculating the situation. They are separated and Pran is forced to remain when Schanberg and other American journalists and Westerners evacuate to escape a life-threatening situation in occupied-Cambodia during the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975. The film chronicles unforgettable scenes of suffering endured during the Cambodian bloodbath (known as “Year Zero”) that killed 3 million Cambodians, when the courageous and indomitable Dith Pran endures the atrocities of the Pol Pot regime and is captured by the communist Khmer Rouge and punished for befriending the Americans. His struggle to stay alive in the rural, barbaric ‘re-education’ labor camp, his two escape attempts from his captors, and his horrifying walk through the skeletal remains of the brutal massacres in the Valley of Death, the muddy “killing fields”, all present potent apocalyptic images on his journey to Thailand. With John Lennon’s tune Imagine playing on the soundtrack, Dith Pran – now finally reunited with Sydney on October 9th, 1979 (according to a subtitle), narrates the last line of the film, affirming that Schanberg needn’t ask for forgiveness because there was literally ‘nothing to forgive’: Sydney: (Do you) forgive me? Dith Pran: Nothing to forgive, Sydney, nothing. The postscript for the film is provided as a footnote, as the camera slowly pans to the left over the rooftops, and looks out over rice fields: Dith Pran returned, with Sydney Schanberg, to America to be reunited with his family. He now works as a photographer for The New York Times where Sydney Schanberg is a columnist. Cambodia’s torment has not yet ended. The refugee camps on the Thai border are still crowded with the children of the killing fields. Review by Marx-Michael from

Director: Roland Joffe; Writer: Bruce Robinson (screenplay)

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