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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)
Price: CDN$ 87.50
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites April 25 2003
Format:DVD
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 So Powerful ... March 8 2004
By JLM
Format:DVD
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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5.0 out of 5 stars From the ashes... human courage will rise! Feb. 2 2004
Format:DVD
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) atrocities committed in the 20th century, The Cambodian Holocaust. This is the true and sad story of journalist Sydney Chanberg and his native cambodian companion Dith Pran. In 1975, just a couple of month after the last american left Vietnam, Phonm Phen (the Capital of Cambodian)fell in the murdering hands of the Khmer Rouge (Pol Pot's deadly guerrilla) and soon the country entered into a world of unspeakable horror where 3 million innocent people, most of them intellectuals, doctors, teachers and others touched by education were sadly murdered in the "killing Fields" by a brainwashing stupid idealogy of a Utopical peasant state.Welcome to Year Zero. Communist guerrillas not older than 15 years old murdered men, women and children, young and old in terms to create a peasant country. The story focuses on Dith Pran, Schanberg's aid and friend who saves him from execution. Pran is captured and sentenced to forced labor in the Killing Fields where he sees his whole family, friends and colleagues being murdered in cold blood and with no justification. This is a deeply and touching story of survival and how friendship and loyalty can break all the bounderies set by human cruelty and ideology. This beautiful film not to be missed and also a great history lesson on one of the cruelest events of the 20th century. This is the only film of my notion about the Cambodian Holocaust and this is deeply sad!!! Why does the media only exploit the Jewish Holocaust as a lesson of cruelty and survival....what about the Armenian Holocaust, The Cambodian Holocaust, Kosovo and Rwanda??? Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing Fields
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+++
Published 3 months ago by a s penny
5.0 out of 5 stars A "moving" picture!
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,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Callas fan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Moving Films of All Time
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... Read more
Published on July 11 2009 by Neil Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars War Drama about Cambodia
Most war movies from the 80's are about Vietnam and sometimes the horrible events in Cambodia are snowed under. Read more
Published on July 8 2004 by M. Buisman
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE BEST CHEERLEADER MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!
THIS IS THE BEST CHEERLEADER MOVIE EVER, AND IT'S ONE OF MY FAVE MOVIES NOW. I FIRST SAW THIS MOVIE AT MY BEST FRIEND KIM'S HOUSE ALSO, SAME WITH 8 MILE! Read more
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
4.0 out of 5 stars COMMUNISM: AN IDEOLOGY OF MURDER
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
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 Criminal government is Hell on Earth
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.
Published on Dec 31 2003
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