The Killing Fields


(out of 5)

Right up there with Missing among the handful of brilliant political thrillers made in the early 80s, starring  as Sydney Schanberg, whose writings for the New York Times inspired the film. Schanberg was trapped in Cambodia during Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” genocide, teaming up with Cambodian contact Dith Pran (), who sends his family to safety in the U.S. with the army but stays behind to help the journalist. Schanberg eventually is able to leave the country, but the friendship struck up with Pran is too strong to keep him from leaving without ensuring his safety as well. The performances are exceptional: Ngor won an Academy Award, himself a survivor of the “killing fields” (sadly, he was killed in America in a robbery attempt at the age of 56 in 1996), while Waterston has the best role of his film career as Schanberg, the two of them ably supported by  and  as fellow reporters. Roland Joffe’s direction couldn’t be better in a film that is both a moving portrait of a human relationship and a blistering account of headline news.

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United Kingdom, 1984

Directed by

Screenplay by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, ,

Academy Awards
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Haing S. Ngor as “Dith Pran”)
Best Cinematography (Chris Menges)
Best Film Editing (Jim Clark)

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sam Waterston as “Sydney Schanberg”)
Best Directing (Roland Joffe)
Best Picture (David Puttnam, producer)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) (Bruce Robinson)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Haing S. Ngor)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Sam Waterston)
Best Director (Roland Joffe)
Best Screenplay (Bruce Robinson)
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Mike Oldfield)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Cinematographer (Chris Menges)

Best Film

Los Angeles Film Critics Award
Best Cinematography (Chris Menges)

Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich)

National Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich)
Best Cinematography (Chris Menges)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Writers Guild Award
Best Adapted Screenplay

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Roland Joffe)

British Academy Awards
Best Film
Best Actor (Haing S. Ngor)
Best Screenplay – Adapted
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design/Art Direction
Best Sound
Best Editing
Most Outstanding Newcomer to Film (Haing S. Ngor)

Best Actor (Sam Waterston)
Best Direction (Roland Joffe)
Best Special Visual Effects
Best Score
Best Make Up Artist

Cesar Award Nomination
Best Foreign Film

Boston Film Critics Awards
Best Film
Best Actor (Haing S. Ngor)
Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich)
Best Cinematography



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