The Killing Fields
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Product Description

A new york times reporter and his cambodian aide are harrowingly trapped in cambodias 1975 khmer rouge revolution. Special features: original theatrical trailer and brand-new transfer and dolby surround 5.1 remix. Subtitles in english and french. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 03/29/2005 Starring: Sam Waterston Haing S. Ngor Run time: 141 minutes Rating: R

This harrowing but rewarding 1984 drama concerns the real-life relationship between New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), the latter left at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg--who chose to stay after American evacuation but was booted out--failed to get him safe passage. Filmmaker Roland Joff¨¦, previously a documentarist, made his feature debut with this account of Dith's rocky survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign. The script spends some time with Schanberg's feelings of guilt after the fact, but most of the movie is a shattering re-creation of hell on Earth. The late Haing S. Ngor--a real-life doctor who had never acted before and who lived through the events depicted by Joff¨¦--is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Outstanding
    I have seen this move several times. No doubt the most significant was on the veranda of a the Sunway Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. As the cicadas chirped on the outside, the lizards crawled the walls on the inside, a group of western tourists sat riveted as they viewed the accurate account of the country's recent past. This was not luxury--US$2/night backpacker accommodations.

    The story and the director's cut with Roland Jaffe talking over the movie scenes, make this DVD worth having. Watch it over and over, you won't be disappointed, because the scenes take on new meaning with each viewing.

    It wouldn't hurt to read books by David Chandler and Ben Kiernan in between viewings.

    This is important and experience changing stuff....more info
  • Always get on the chopper!
    This movie could be considered an "Epic". It is very good, especially the last couple minutes when Pran finally reaches safety & then is visited by his old journalist friend.

    I took one star off because apparently the DVD version is not as long as the original. The original version showed a scene where the Vietnamese Army liberated the Khmer Rouge village right before Dith Pran makes his escape. This scene was missing & also some of the other scenes seemed shorter than they originally were. I would estimate that about 15 to 20 min. of film was chopped out of this version. I hate it when film studios do this. It's sacrilege!!!
    Hopefully a Directors Cut is released so I can again see the film in it's full form....more info
  • Very Very Very Pathetic Delivery System
    I have ordered 2 DVDs on August 9, 2007 and today is September 11th 2007 but yet I have no clue about my DVDs. This is pathetic and very shameful thing for a name like AMAZON. I ask everyone not to buy anything before they commit you fast delivery.

    I HAVE NOT RECEIVED MY DVDs YET....more info
  • Powerful but ultimately a little too tasteful
    In the wake of a string of turkeys like Vatel, Fat Man and Little Boy, Super Mario Brothers and the infamous Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter, these days The Killing Fields increasingly looks like proof of the theory that anybody can make at least one good movie. Certainly Roland Joffe never made an entirely successful film afterwards, no matter how much money and talent were at his disposal. It's from that curious period when British cinema was taking on large-scale serious 'American foreign policy' stories that American cinema wouldn't touch (like The Deer Hunter, this was co-funded by EMI), in this case the Khmer Rouge atrocities in the wake of America's disastrous involvement in creating a 'sideshow war' in Cambodia. Unlike other white liberal angst fests like Cry Freedom it doesn't choose to concentrate on the white man's story at the expense of the pitiful foreign types - despite the oft-levelled criticism, it spends surprisingly little screen time with Sam Waterston's increasingly ineffectual journalist Sidney Schanberg after his return to New York, and even when it does, he doesn't get a free ride for putting his own ambitions ahead of his Cambodian translator's safety.

    It's at its best depicting a country on the verge of collapse, and that curious stillness when life pretends to go on as normal in denial of the inevitable. Little in the film catches the atmosphere and still confusion, as well as the curious moral malaise of the war journalists, as the opening sequences, with sleepily disinterested inertia suddenly giving way to an energetic feeding frenzy to photograph the aftermath of a bombing attack. Curiously, once things start to get really bad it avoids the obvious and chooses not to demonise all the Khmer Rouge, emphasising their own divisions and confusions as one generation of freedom fighters find themselves victims for a more fanatical younger generation. Where it does fall down is in its good taste - at times the film just seems too squeamish, as if desperate to avoid alienating a mainstream audience by showing too much of the horror.
    ...more info
  • 3.5 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    An intelligent look at the atrocities that occurred in Cambodia and their effects, The Killing Fields is consistently interesting for 140+ minutes (no small feat), features great performances by Ngor and Malkovich, and ends in a wonderful catharis (though one marred slightly by the inappropriate use of John Lennon's Imagine); trounced by Amadeus at the Oscars, The Killing Fields is probably the better film....more info
  • DVD Jacket for The Killing Fields
    While the DVD itself is an excellent film - the DVD Jacket is of extremely poor quality - not what I expected at all.

    It looks like a photocopy using very thin paper - not what one would purchase new from a store.

    A real disappointment...more info
  • Killing Fields
    In this film, the great Sam Waterson plays no-nonsense New York Times reporter Sid Shonberg, who is reporting on the Cambodian genocide of the early 1970s. In one early scene, he confronts an armed gaurd, pops him in the shoulder with his passport, and says "I am walking out of here, what are you going to do, blow my f---ing head off?" This after, from behind barbed wire, demanding to take a piss and obtain a pack of ciggarettes. All the man wants is to get back to work, nothing else matters.

    Such risks are typical of this reporter, who usually works with Dith Prhan, native of and Shonberg's guide through war-ravaged Cambodia. Where Sydney will almost get in the face of anyone, or any gun barrel, Prhan is gentle and kind, making his way through danger using persistant persuasion and friendliness.

    Shonberg has a habit early in the film of treating his counterpart as somewhat of a subordanent. When Prhan asks him if he is going to leave the country as the war evolves into mass murder, Shonberg replies "that's none of your bussiness," even though Dith's fate-and his work-is inextricably linked to his American friend.

    When the war grows worse and the Kamar Rouge show their true brutallity, Shoneberg realizes confrontation won't always guarentee that the soldiers won't blow his f--king head off. He starts to rely more on his friend to guide him through a country decending into butchery and chaos. Syd also works to get Dith out of Cambodia, as his love for him becomes increasingly apparent as the maddness grows. At one point Shonberg gives Dith a brotherly tap on the leg and a reassuring smile, which would have been incoceivable earlier. But the American fails get Prhan out of Cambodia, and while he returns to New York, Dith is inducted into forced labor and brainwashing

    The first hour of the film is extremelely intense, while the second hour is poinent. You really see the evoluntion--or the braking down--of Waterson's character, as his vaneer of toughness turns to hearbreak and regret. This is what the film, in many ways, is really about, dispite the political backdrop. The contrast between the two journalists is what really makes The Killing Fields into so much more than a war movie.

    The perfomances are excellent to the point where you watch over and over. Waterson's ability to slowly, painfully let his character's gaurd down is amazing--something that we may yearn to see Jack McCoy do, but that will probably never happen. Still this film probably got Sam his job on Law and Order.

    Well deserved. ...more info
  • "The wind whispers of fear & hate. The war has killed love."
    There are films that continue to haunt you long after the end credits fade away. There are films that horrify you because of the gruesome imagery that bombards you while you sit in the darkened theater. And then there are films whose haunting and horrifying nature is magnified even more because it is based on events that actually happened. Such a film is Roland Joffe's "The Killing Fields."

    "The Killing Fields" chronicles the journey of two friends who find themselves swept up in the revolution in Cambodia during the 1970s. As the Khmer Rouge comes to power, New York Times writer Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) and his assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) witness firsthand the transformation of Cambodia's cities and countryside under the new regime. As the situation becomes more dire, Schanberg finds himself in a difficult situation - he knows Pran will run afoul of the new government once the Khmer Rouge completes their takeover but Schanberg still needs him to finish his duties for the New York Times. Both men hope for the best but when Pran attempts to leave the country, he finds that his window of opportunity has disappeared and he is trapped in Cambodia.

    "The Killing Fields" is a film that pulls no punches. Watching Pran trying to stay alive from day to day is a sobering viewing experience. While its story explores the broader political implications of the rise of the Khmer Rogue, the true drama revolves around Pran who embodies the personal suffering of all of the regime's victims. While Waterston is outstanding, this is a film that delivers it message through Pran, and Ngor is more than up to the demands of his role. His performance is honest to the point of heartbreak. This film is not easy to watch but it is a worthwhile journey for those with the courage to sit through it....more info

  • Chilling
    At the time of release this was a shocker. Not many realised what genocide was. How this could go on without intervention by the wider world was disturbing. With the passage of time, and similar atrocities almost every day, it seems we have become sensitised. Worth viewing to remind us to be alert....more info
  • Did little to show the real scope of the horrors.
    The film did not do nearly enough to show the real extents of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge holocaust of 3 million Cambodians that took place from 1975 to 1979, and obviously revelled in trendy lefty journalist Sydney Schanberg's blame of the USA for the Khmer Rouge genocide.
    In his speech winning the 1976 prestigious journalist award Schanberg does not condemn Khmer Rouge atrocities but instead launches into a tirade against US policy in Southeast Asia.

    Before the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975 and killed approximately 2 million people, Schanberg wrote positively in The New York Times about the coming regime change, writing about the Cambodians that "it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." A dispatch he wrote on April 13, 1975, written from Phnom Penh, ran with the headline "Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life."
    Did Schanberg ever apologize for such comments after the scope of the Khmer Rouge atrocities became known?
    Did he shed his trendy lefty ideology that could justify or obsfucate such horrors?
    I know that Noam Chomsky supported the Khmer Rouge terror (as he now supports such genocidal terror gangs as Hamas and Hezbollah) and never retracted or apologized.
    The film showed only a tiny glimpse of Khmer Rouge atrocities. They did show something of the pain of Cambodia's children at the time. Touching scenes showing Cambodia's beautiful children. But not clearly enough did it reveal the maiming and murder of these children by the Khmer Rouge.
    The one scene that did begin to show what the real face of Communism is about is the scene where Dith Pran, after having escaped from the Khmer Rouge concentration camp, comes across the field of human skeletons murdered by the Khmer Rouge.

    ...more info
  • Great movie!
    If "The Killing Fields" were to be summed up in one word, that word would be "perfect." This movie has excellent acting, excellent camera work, and a very entertaining and engaging plot.
    When I first put this movie into my VCR, I had no idea what to expect. I knew fairly little about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge; in fact, all I really knew was that it was nominated for best picture, and that everyone really seemed to like it. When the movie was done, I understood why everyone liked it. It is simply one of the greatest films ever.
    The film begins with an American journalist, Sydney Schanberg, and his Cambodian assistant and guide, Dith Pran. The movie seemed to have a simple dreary feeling to it, until a scene where the two are sitting at an outdoor caf¨¦, and there is a large explosion out of the blue. At this point, the pace quickly picks up. Sydney and Dith travel from location to location, trying to write stories about the fighting between the Khmer Rouge and the government. Sydney and Dith are captured by the Khmer Rouge, and Sydney is able to escape to America, but Dith is left to face the Khmer Rouge alone.
    The second half of the movie deals entirely with Dith's story. Dith struggles to survive under the harsh conditions of the Khmer Rouge work camps. In the camps the children are trained by the Khmer Rouge, and the adults are sent to the fields to work. No one is allowed any personal possessions, including food. The adults are "reeducated" in an attempt to destroy Cambodia's history, and start anew. Dith manages to escape the camps, and in one of the movie's most powerful scenes, finds the "killing fields."
    The next section of the movie is a bit hard to understand, because most of the dialogue is not in English, and there are no subtitles. But, Dith finds a job as a domestic servant for a fairly well off family. The leader of the family is killed by the Khmer Rouge, and Dith flees with a few of the members of the family. All of Dith's companions are killed off, and Dith finally ends up working at a rural hospital.
    During this time, Sydney has become a very successful writer, but never forgets about Dith. Sydney had been searching for Dith ever since he left Cambodia. Finally, Sydney finds out Dith is alive, and in the dramatic final scene they reunite.
    The film was very interesting from start to finish. It's a good idea to see the movie multiple times, so you can really understand what happened at the beginning better.
    The acting in this film is top notch. Haing S. Ngor steals the show. Ngor himself was a refugee from Cambodia, and despite no acting experience was perfect for the part. Ngor acts with an immense amount of passion and emotion, and you can tell he really means it. There is no question Ngor deserves the Oscar he received. Sam Waterston did a good job with Sydney. Sydney didn't seem like too great of a guy to begin with. In the beginning he seemed very self-centered and egotistical. However, Sam Waterston did a great job portraying the character, but despite being a supporting actor, Ngor had the greatest performance.
    Roland Joffe's goal when he made this movie was to draw attention to the situation in Cambodia, and it is clear that there is a significant political agenda throughout the movie. This becomes especially apparent during Sydney's speech were he criticizes America for not paying more attention to the situation in Cambodia.
    It's questionable how good the movie really is about explaining the situation in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge's take over. There is no background information and you really only get to see what is going on through the limited eyes of the main characters. You don't really get to see it from the Khmer Rouge's perspective or from the U.S.'s perspective. Instead of presenting the facts and letting the viewers form their own opinions. Joffe says "Here's what I think is happening, and here is what I think should be done." It certainly only presented a small piece of the situation.
    But despite these small criticisms, "The Killing Fields" is a masterpiece. It has an excellent plot and wonderful characters. It definitely is one of the greatest movies of all time. Just don't watch this movie expecting any sort of documentary style information on Cambodia or the Khmer Rouge. The movie didn't set out to explain things. The number one goal of this movie was to entertain, and it does just that....more info
  • Blood, Sweat, and Journalism
    The award-winning film The Killing Fields drips with emotion, anger, and blood, throwing the cold, hard truth of the corrupt Cambodian regime in audience member's faces. While the message of this movie is worth 141 minutes of anybody's time, the film is not for one who can't handle sitting there when it is over and contemplating how brutal war truly is.

    While countless movies have been filmed about brutalities such as the Jewish holocaust, The Killing Fields reveals a different atrocity: Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970's. The story also zooms in on several intriguing characters that bring these hard times to life. Sydney Schanberg and Dith Pran's friendship and commitment to telling the truth through journalism is very inspiring.

    Realistic, long, and disturbing, The Killing Fields shows its audience horrific bombings, dying children, missing limbs, and executions. It is not for the faint of heart or squeamish. Pop in this film and you are not in for a light movie experience.

    Although The Killing Fields may be difficult to watch, it is admirable that it does not hold back from showing Cambodia as it truly was in 1975. Just as Schanberg desires to bring the true story of Cambodia back to the New York Times, so this movie brings the true story to its audience....more info
  • The Khmer Rouge
    A very good film, The Killing Fields, sheds light on the atrocities committed by the communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during their reign of terror in the 1970's.
    The film follows Dith Pran as he is left behind by his employer, an American reporter, only to be captured by the Khmer Rouge and subsequently experience what amounts to living a nightmare.
    Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, and the rest of the cast, have carried out their performances well, nevertheless one cannot help but feel disdain for Sidney Schanberg (and by extension Sam Waterston) for preventing his assistant from reaching shelter when he could.
    The acting, the setting, the plot, and the dialogues are all good though the movie could have done much more to show the Communists' sheer brutality. Moreover, there were quite a few dialogues not translated that left us in the dark.
    In short, The Killing Fields is a movie definitely worth watching as it will surely provide good insight on one of the most infamous regimes of the twentieth century.
    ...more info
  • Great Film, Jaded History.
    I've of two minds on The Killing Fields. On the one hand, it is an excellent drama and an excellent movie. On the other, I could not stand its anti-American viewpoint and deliberate distortion of history. The Khmer Rouge were not caused by the American bombing of Cambodia. They had been around for decades and once empowered acted in a manner that is fairly common among communist totalitarians (see Mao and Stalin). If anything, the US bombing ended up delaying their takeover as it killed off 10,000 of their number and probably allowed the pro-western government to remain in power for an extra two years. Pol Pot was one of the more sinister and evil individuals to ever walk the earth but to pretend that a twisted person like that came about due to bombing is to completely misunderstand human psychology. The blasts at Nagasaki and Hiroshima were thousands of times worse than what transpired in Cambodia but produced no Japanese Pol Pots. Q.E.D.

    At any rate, flawed historical account aside, this is a wonderful movie. You might not like the main character who is played masterfully by Sam Waterston, however. "Self-Righteous" Sid Schanberg's personality is very hard to take as he seems to be only capable of criticizing everything and everyone. He has little generative to say. Haing S. Ngor's portrayal of Dith Pran is superlative and he owns the second part of the movie which is a major reason why it is so memorable. One of the best elements in the film is its lingering sense of doom which one feels from the very beginning. You know what is coming and it's going to be a complete horror show. I think the mood and movement of The Killing Fields is the way in which it truly excels. The film also commemorates the 1.7 million people who lost their lives during the reign of Khmer Rouge which is a great achievement. We should be grateful that it does so....more info
  • A view of of the Khmer Rouge's efforts towards equality.
    The Killing Fields depict the brutal atrocities of the Khmer Rouge during their attempt to bring social equality to all Cambodians. Focusing on the real life relationship between a New York Times reporter, Sydney Schanberg, and his personal Cambodian aid, Dith Pran, the movie grants a vivid glimpse into the bleak history of one of the world's most recent genocides, where personal freedom was sacrificed in favor of greater societal order in hopes of achieving above all else, equality. Before the Khmer Rouge came to power, Cambodia was a country with cities and countryside villages-educated citizens knew foreign languages and were knowledgeable in other subjects normally taught in global educational systems. However, as three specific scenes in The Killing Fields chillingly portray, the implementation of the Khmer Rouge's policies had drastic consequences to any sense of stability and normalcy in the country as the only way of life known by the Cambodians changed rapidly.
    Confusion and fear controlled the citizens of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, as the Khmer Rouge declared that the city of three million residents must be evacuated. Bloody confrontations in battle had already claimed the lives of numerous people as the communist marched towards the metropolis in their push to take the political stronghold. The movie shows the new military power, comprised of young soldiers in their teen-age years, already beginning their campaign to equalize the social status of all by rendering the difference between a city dweller and a country farmer impotent. In the particular scene when the cameras pan along the streets of Phnom Penh and show the hordes of people fleeing the city, images are attached to the effort to turn back the unwavering clock of societal progression. The movie shows Dith Pran walking away teary eyed from the American Embassy, where he tried to escape with Sydney and other foreigners to safety. When his fake passport was caught by and official moments before he was expelled from the embassy, Dith Pran's face took on a new look of resigned acceptance of an unavoidable fate. This haunting image could be considered the perfect symbol for the Khmer Rouge's campaign to bring equality to Cambodia. No longer was Dith Pran an individual, he was simply one of the masses that had all been reduced to a simple emotion, fear.
    The second scene that exemplifies the implications of the Khmer Rouge's emphasis on equality relates to the educational ideals that the party held. Dith Pran is in a communal village, where all of the residents work together in their units and share equal status amongst each other. At one point, Pran is around some of the party leaders when they are speaking French, which he understood, because of his education. However, Pran could not indicate any comprehension of the language, for that would show that he was different than the rest of his peers in the commune. The movie effectively conveyed the powerful message with this scene that under the Khmer Rouge any difference in education meant an inequality between two people. Of course, as The Killing Fields showed, this inequality would be dealt with severely through a forced re-education or execution. Therefore in Dith Pran's case, he simply chose not to expose himself and his abilities, which would warrant unpleasant repercussions.
    Finally, validating the movie's namesake, the third scene to vividly portray the Khmer Rouge's prioritization of equality dealt with the mass graves in Cambodia, known as the "Killing Fields." Dith Pran escaped from the communal village and tried to flee to safety near the end of the movie. During his harrowing break from the iron grip of the Khmer Rouge, Dith stumbled upon a field littered with the remains of human skeletons. Everyone in the communal village where Dith lived wondered what became of the people that were escorted away by the guards and never to return. At this site, amongst the rotting flesh and decaying bones, Dith found his answer to the question. Death, the great equalizer, had come to Cambodia at the blood curdling beckon of the Khmer Rouge.
    These three scenes as well as the rest of The Killing Fields clearly demonstrate Cambodia's strive for equality under the communist party, as the citizens were required to give up personal freedoms under pressure of a greater social order. By using death as the great equalizer, the Khmer Rouge was able to bring their dreams closer to a reality. Ironically, the priority of equality that was supposed to help the most people killed the most people and Cambodia lost nearly twenty five percent of its population as depicted in The Killing Fields....more info
  • One of my favorites
    This is one of the most powerful movies I've seen in a while. Set in 1975 Cambodia, it details the rise of the Maoist guerrillas of the Khmer Rouge against the country and eventually the capital Phnom Penh. This movie is a true story about the journey of Dith Pran, a Cambodian journalist working for an arrogant writer for the New York Times. Pran is forced to stay behind in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge expel all foreigners after the fall of the capital. Pran is then transferred to a forced labor camp, one of many in which almost the entire urban populations of Cambodia are sent to.

    The Khmer Rouge's policy, consistent with that of Maoism and other communist groups, is that non-farmers are traitors. The Khmer Rouge are not discriminate, they kill anyone who they perceive as a threat to their power. And anyone they feel is not an uneducated farmer is a threat. Hence, the Khmer Rouge pursues relentlessly for evidence of pre-revolutionary life. Anyone found out to have been a doctor, teacher, soldier, government official, religious leader, anyone speaking more than one language, or anyone else suspected of being somewhat intelligent, are singled out and murdered. Pran survives by convincing his captors that he was a taxi driver before his imprisonment.

    After seeing fellow prisoners picked off one by one for a variety of so-called crimes, Pran plans his escape. After seeing a man be hauled off for execution for the crime of having uncalloused hands, Pran escapes through the rice paddies and heads for the Thai border. Along the way, he's recaptured by a supporter of the Khmer Rouge, who has his own farm. This farmer's own ideas and alliances illustrate the real life factioning and infighting that existed within these Maoist's own ranks.

    Pran finally makes it into Thailand, where he is reunited with the writer Sydney he'd once worked for in Phnom Penh. Thus ends the movie as an excellent, powerful true story of one man's survival of, percentage-wise, the worst genocide in history. The one flaw of the movie is the tendency to sneak a little blame in there directed at America, who's bombing of NVA supply routes through Eastern Cambodia is somehow linked to the rise of Maoist guerrillas in the north. History shows full well that these insurgents were supported and instigated by China and elements of the North Vietnamese communist government. While U.S. bombing of enemy supply routes certainly didn't help stabilize the country when the Cambodian government needed stability very badly, it is a blatant deception to blame the emergence of the Khmer Rouge on it.

    For more personal stories of genocide survivors, read "Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields", by Dith Pran. Some of these stories make Pran's look like a picnic by comparison....more info

  • killing fields
    movies was good however the quality of the film was not very good. screen was very cloudy at times and it was hard to see some things and the sound was not very good. the story it self was moving.---thks...more info
  • So Powerful ...
    I put off seeing this movie for so long, despite my fascination with that period of history (the late 70's) in Cambodia. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle viewing graffic depictions of the Khmer Rouge atrocities I had read so much about. Finally in college, while taking a course in Southeast Asian politics, my curiousity got the best of me and I rented it. I was pleased to find that the movie, while certainly intense, wasn't too much to stomach - even for a wimp like myself (no explicit torture scenes or anything like that). Yet I still walked away with a good feel for how horrible that era in Cambodia really was. Now I've seen this film countless times!

    I continue to be amazed by the one scene where Dith Pran is saying goodbye to Sidney Schanberg, as he (Pran) is being forced into Khmer Rouge custody. Meanwhile Schanberg reluctantly gets to return to a life of freedom and luxury. Their farewells are so poignant and the music is PERFECT, with the rain pouring down on them - DAMN this scene is haunting.

    Equally intense is the scene showing the heartpounding, panicked evacuation of the American embassy in Cambodia, as well as the cathartic finale of the movie: the way a zealous Schanberg sprints across the New York Times newsroom after receiving word from the Red Cross, leading to the film's fantastic final scene. It gets me teary-eyed every time.

    Aside from the emotional fervor this movie inspired in me, I believe it was also very accurate from what I've read and researched. Even down to the cranky, impatient mannerisms of the real-life Schanberg, which were portrayed by an outstanding Sam Waterston. (Outstanding performances were given by all in fact, especially John Malcovich and Dr. Haing Ngor - who has an astounding past of his own with the Khmer Rouge.)

    While overwhelmingly bleak, The Killing Fields was ultimately inspirational. Watch this movie to be educated, and moved!...more info

  • The hardest movie for me to watch
    I first watched this movie when it came out in 1984, the second half of the movie was so emotionally charged for me that it was more than ten years before I could watch it again. To watch graphic depictions of the consequences of our abandonment of all of Southeast Asia was to Emotional for me. Although there were no movies and little news coverage, even by The New York Times (All The News That Fits), The same camps and murders were taking place in Laos, and Viet Nam, only on a lesser scale. Even Joan Baez was shocked, and upset.
    The first half of the movie, was pure Liberal spin, poor Sid Schanberg who nobly reports the mistaken bombing of a town by American B 52's, but he somehow missed the fact that the Khmer Rouge had been murdering thousands of "Counter Revolutionary's" for several years. Poor Sid treats Dith Pran like a collie while he employs him (in effect blackmails him into staying in return for getting his family out) then after Dith saves his life he fails to get him out. In response poor Sid, perhaps feeling guilty, sends out posters, as if looking for a lost cat. At this point the story has to leave poor Sid and go back to The Killing Fields, this is where the real movie begins. This part is Auschwitz in color and cinema-scope. After Dith escapes and walks across Cambodia to a Thailand refugee camp, noble Sid drops everything to fly off to Thailand to rescue Dith from the red cross, and get the story.
    As a post script, Dith Pran moves to a poor area of L.A. where he is murdered by a gang, and Poor Sid gets a Book and Film deal. Thus is History written by Sid, and The New York Times....more info
  • Excellence!!!
    theres no shadow of doubt that this is a classic that presents the khmer rouge issue in cambodia and an extraordinary history that everyone got to see....more info
  • Tragic and touching, but long-winded
    Although there are mostly 5-star reviews here, this is not the type of movie to have posters with less than stunning reviews (except the political posts). This movie is obviously well-made and well-received (7 oscar nominations and 3 wins), but I found it to be too long at 141 minutes and it did not really hold my interest.

    Director Roland Joffe said he interpreted the story as a love story and not a war movie, and indeed that seems to be the way he presents it. Playing John Lennon's "Imagine" at the end was a bit on the sentimental side, though.

    I've watched it 2 or 3 times and just had a hard time sticking with it. There is almost enough material to expand into 2 movies.

    DVD has a nice commentary, a short text-based blurb about actor Haing Ngor, a list of awards, cast/crew blurb, setup options and a trailer....more info

  • Powerful
    Excellent, excellent film. Very powerful. The story focuses on a byproduct of the Vietnam War - the atrocities in Cambodia. We see the situation in its infancy as conditions go from bad to worse. From the perspective of a journalist, we bear witness to the atrocities on one hand and the will to survive on the other. The struggle to overcome external forces is on display here in full regalia. Five stars and worth every one....more info
  • The Killing Fields
    Harrowing tale of man's appalling cruelty to man would seem incredible were it not true. Director Joffe crafts an authentic and intelligent portrayal of individual heroism, as Pran overcomes enormous hardship and suffering to seize his chance for freedom.. Both Waterston and Ngor (a non- professional actor who won an Oscar) are outstanding. A disturbing but important film....more info
  • Confusing Message
    This was a very moving movie and I couldn't turn away. However, the political message was bizzare. Sydney rails against the USA for its efforts in Cambodia and the bombings. But the USA was trying to stop the Communist KR from taking power. The ensuing horrific blood-bath is the consequences of the Communist KR taking power. So naturally the outrage should be focused on the Communists. If anything, the USA could be criticized for withdrawing and NOT bombing the Communists more extensively. Then the movie ends with John Lennon's love-letter to communism, "Imagine" Very confusing political message indeed....more info
  • Imagining the Unimaginable
    The Killing Fields
    As everyone knows by now, The Killing Fields is the story of New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg's search for his Cambodian companion
    Dith Pran, who disappeared during the evacuation of Pnomh Penh in 1974.
    I've read a lot about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, beginning with "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare," and "The Lost Executioner.", both dealing with the insanity of Pol Pot's dystopian world ... A world in which time stops and the clock reset to "Year Zero," all private property is abolished,urban population displaced to the countryside, and even money and currency abandoned. It was truly Orwellian.
    Sam Waterston is excellent as the Boston-bred Schanberg, down to the South Boston accent and the penchant for Johnny Walker Black and strong cigarettes. Dr.Haing S. Ngor, in his first acting role, won a Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Dith Pran. Ironically, Ngor was murdered in a gangland killing in Los Angeles. The cinematography, which also won an Oscar (R) is excellent.
    I am tempted to make a couple of comparisons: first, to "The Year of Living Dangerously," in which Mel Gibson plays a journalist in the confusion of Indonesia, and secondly to Empire of The Sun directed by Steven Spielberg. In the Gibson film, the relationship between a reporter and a loyal translator is the primary theme. The translater (played by Linda Hunt) opens the reporter's eyes to the real story, just as the faithful Dith Pran "fixes" things for Schanberg. He goes through a major guilt trip after leaving Dith Pran behind in the confusion.(Although in fairness to Schanberg, he did get Dith's family out)In Empire of the Sun, a British schoolboy becomes a pawn in the Japanese invasion of Shanghai before World War II. The response of captives to their captors is the major theme of both pictures.

    It's too bad that Spielberg's movie was virtually dismissed by critics and audiences when it came out, but now that it's on DVD it's getting more attention.

    Other Works Referenced;
    Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare
    The Lost Executioner: A Story of the Khmer Rouge
    The Year of Living Dangerously
    Empire of the Sun...more info
  • A Master Piece
    I've seen this movie more than 20 times since its release in the mid 80s. Its one of my top 10, equal to another master piece "The Ninth Configuration".
    What really touched me is the true friendship between Sidney and Pran; one sacrificing for the other; a virtue rarely found in today's material world.
    The commentary by the director is superb, adding another dimension to the humanity behind the story....more info
    In 1984 Sam Waterston starred as New York Times reporter Sidney Scheinberg in "The Killing Fields". Clint Eastwood was offered the role, but turned it down. He said it was because he is a "Western WASP," not an East Coast Jew, but he probably ran from it because he is a Republican and knew that Scheinberg had been a biased Vietnam reporter and did not want to promote that. Scheinberg filed numerous reports advocating the message that the U.S. was not doing the right thing in Vietnam. The early part of the film promotes the liberal myth that it was U.S. bombs and U.S. aggression that created the situation in Cambodia. The perfidy of such a concept is mind-boggling. The U.S. did create the situation in Cambodia, because it was U.S. Democrats, led by Chappaquiddick Teddy, who de-funded the South Vietnamese until they collapsed. Then they have the bluster to tell the world, using their powerful friends in the film industry, that the Cambodian holocaust was not because they disarmed the forces of freedom, but because the Communists were incensed at American crimes, therefore justifying their rampages of mass murder against innocent civilians. Is there some alternate Universe in which this can be true. Answer: No.
    However, like a fair number of films that liberals make, "The Killing Fields" ends up promoting a semi-conservative message when it gets into truthful events that cannot be portrayed any other way. Pol Pot's murder of Cambodia is undeniable. In putting it on film, it simply speaks for itself. There is little to conclude in walking out of the theatres that showed "The Killing Fields" beyond the simple conclusion that, "Communists killed millions of people," which is a fact that does not allow for much leeway. Leftists still try to find that leeway, however.

    HORSE MANURE...more info
  • War Drama about Cambodia
    Most war movies from the 80's are about Vietnam and sometimes the horrible events in Cambodia are snowed under.
    'The Killing Fields' is about the friendship between NY Times Reporter Syd and his Cambodian interpreter and later friend. When the western journalists flee the country they try and get him with them by forging a passport but it fails and Tran stays behind. He gets caught by the Khmer Rouge and forced to work in slavery, by not letting known he speaks English he survives and escapes and finds his friend Syd again.

    The movie is great and emotional. Some scenes are awful but lifelike. Though shot in Thailand, the scenery is beautiful. The acting is fine too, the man playing Tran won an oscar. His own personal life is very closely linked to the events in Cambodia too and this movie is also in part about him. He unfortunately got killed in the late 1990's, possibly by the Khmer in LA....more info

    In 1984 Sam Waterston starred as New York Times reporter Sidney Scheinberg in "The Killing Fields". Clint Eastwood was offered the role, but turned it down. He said it was because he is a "Western WASP," not an East Coast Jew, but he probably ran from it because he is a Republican and knew that Scheinberg had been a biased Vietnam reporter and did not want to promote that. Scheinberg filed numerous reports advocating the message that the U.S. was not doing the right thing in Vietnam. The early part of the film promotes the liberal myth that it was U.S. bombs and U.S. aggression that created the situation in Cambodia. The perfidy of such a concept is mind-boggling. The U.S. did create the situation in Cambodia, because it was U.S. Democrats, led by Chappaquiddick Teddy, who de-funded the South Vietnamese until they collapsed. Then they have the bluster to tell the world, using their powerful friends in the film industry, that the Cambodian holocaust was not because they disarmed the forces of freedom, but because the Communists were incensed at American crimes, therefore justifying their rampages of mass murder against innocent civilians. Is there some alternate Universe in which this can be true. Answer: No.
    However, like a fair number of films that liberals make, "The Killing Fields" ends up promoting a semi-conservative message when it gets into truthful events that cannot be portrayed any other way. Pol Pot's murder of Cambodia is undeniable. In putting it on film, it simply speaks for itself. There is little to conclude in walking out of the theatres that showed "The Killing Fields" beyond the simple conclusion that, "Communists killed millions of people," which is a fact that does not allow for much leeway. Leftists still try to find that leeway, however.

    STWRITES@AOL.COM...more info