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The Killing Fields (Widescreen)

Sam Waterston , Haing S. Ngor , Roland Joffé    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
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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 Joffé, 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 Joffé--is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is worth 5 stars. June 4 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
In my opion i think that this movie was great for our Government class to watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing Fields June 6 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I am very happy with this digibook, what a superb film, also i was very happy with the speedy delivery, overall i am very happy.
many thanks again. AAA+++
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "moving" picture! Feb. 15 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The Blu-Ray edition of "The Killing Fields" is very good. The video and audio are stunning.

This has always been a special movie for me, a very moving story, based on real events.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminal government is Hell on Earth Dec 31 2003
By A Customer
After watching this powerful and deeply moving film, I wanted to walk out of my house and kiss my beautiful American soil. Thank God for the Second Amendment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites April 25 2003
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Moving Films of All Time July 11 2009
This is a harrowing film to watch at times, but is a powerful and moving story. So few of us really understood the true horror of the Pol Pot regime and it is a travesty that it is only now, almost 30 years after the atrocities that the perpetrators are only now being brought to justice. What is incredible about this film is that the actor playing the part of Sam Waterson's Cambodian colleague, is himself Cambodian and actually lived through an almost identical experience to that of the film character. It must have taken extraordinary courage to revisit and reenact scenes from a nightmare most people would rather forget. An amazing story of courage and the irrepressibility of the human spirit. A film all of us should watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars War Drama about Cambodia July 8 2004
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So Powerful ... March 8 2004
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!
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Most recent customer reviews
Published on June 23 2004 by Amber
3.0 out of 5 stars 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). Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by K. Gittins
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. Read more
Published on June 6 2004 by Steven R. Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars From the ashes... human courage will rise!
Prepare yourself for the most unique motion picture experience of your life time. The one and only movie (to my notion) about one of the most vile (and soon to be forgotten)... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Xavier I. Ucar Conte
3.0 out of 5 stars An otherwise-outstanding movie marred by left-wing bias
The first time I watched KF, when I was in my late teens, it blew me away. I gave it a five stars then. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004 by Hinkle Goldfarb
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about cambodia
THIS MOVIE is the best one there is out there that deals with injustice in third world countries. The Khmer Rouge not only destroyed a country's innocence and faith in goernment,... Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004 by George Talley
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
I saw this movie in my sophmore year of high school and continue to think about it to this day. We also got to meet Dith Pran. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by mark
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