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The Killing Fields is a romanticized adaptation of an eyewitness magazine story by
New York Times correspondent Sidney Schanberg. Covering the U.S. pullout from Vietnam
in 1975, Schanberg (Sam Waterston) relies on his Cambodian friend and translator Dith
Pran (Haing S. Ngor) for inside information. Schanberg has an opportunity to rescue
Dith Pran when the U.S. army evacuates all Cambodian citizens; instead, the reporter
coerces his friend to remain behind to continue sending him news flashes. Although his
family is helicoptered out of Saigon (a recreation of the famous TV news clip), Dith
Pran stays with Schanberg on the ground. Racked with guilt, Schanberg does his best to
arrange for Dith Pran's escape, but the Cambodian is captured by the dreaded Khmer
Rouge. Accepting his Pulitzer Prize on behalf of Dith Pran, Schanberg vows to do right
by his friend and extricate him from Cambodia. The rest of the film details Dith Pran's
harrowing experiences at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, and his attempt to escape on his
own. The Killing Fields won Academy Awards for Hang S. Ngor (a Cambodian doctor who lived
through many of the horrific events depicted herein), cinematographer Chris Menges, and
editor Jim Clark; an Oscar nomination went to Roland Joffe, who made his directorial
debut with this film.
Sam Waterston, John Malkovich, Haing S. Ngor, Julian Sands, |
Craig T. Nelson, Athol Fugard, Spalding Gray, Bill Paterson
Director: Roland Joffé
Producer: David Puttnam
Year Released - Nov. 1984
Length - 141 minutes
Music Composer: Mike Oldfield
Movie Distributed by Warner Brothers
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