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The Killing Fields [DVD]

Sam Waterston , Craig T. Nelson , Roland Joffe    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
Price: 4.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Sam Waterston, Craig T. Nelson, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands
  • Directors: Roland Joffe
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Optimum Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 10 July 2006
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,636 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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 of The Killing Fields 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

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Black & White, Booklet, Commentary, Interactive Menu, Remastered, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: 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. Spalding Gray, who played a small role in the film, later elaborated on this experiences in his one-man stage presentation Swimming to Cambodia. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Ceasar Awards, David Donatello Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...The Killing Fields

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
David Puttnam, Roland Joffé, Chris Menges..... what a wonderful team whose individual creativity and collective synergy brought us two out-of-the-world pictures: "The Mission" & "The Killing Fields". Nothing to say about the former. Regarding the latter, the rich combination of such themes as ravages of war, power of friendship and unrequited loyalty makes it one of the powerful films in its genre and greatest films ever to have come out of the British cinema.

"The Killing Fields" takes us back to 1975s Phnom Penh, Cambodian capital, during which the communist guerrilla group Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot seized the city, formed a new government and forced the dwellers to move to the countryside to work in collective farms and labor camps with the goal of restarting of civilization in "Year Zero". During the next 4 years of their rule, these "policies" caused the death of ~ 3 million people (one third of the population) either from execution, torture, starvation, overwork, and disease. Under this apocalyptic environment, "The Killing Fields" tells the true ordeal and survival story of Cambodian photojournalist, Dith Pran, who endured the atrocities of Khmer Rouge regime: captured, tortured, punished for befriending American journalists and forced to work in labor camps in barbaric conditions.

To me, the most impressive thing about "The Killing Fields" is the ravishing cinematography by Academy Award winner Chris Menges. From start to end, The photography is nothing but gorgeous. All shots are meticulously planned, properly balanced and perfectly contrasted, harmonizing the beauty of countryside with ravages of war. The colors are well saturated and look wonderful. Subtle details are well presented, sharp and clearly visible with an emphasis on naturalism.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves the three oscars it received! 5 Jun 2007
This film tells the true story of two journalists in Cambodia during the turmoil of 1970s Cambodia. One is the American Sydney Schanberg (played by Sam Waterston) and the other is the Cambodian Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor). As the Khmer Rouge approach the fall of capital Phnom Penh becomes imminent, the foreign embassies pack up and move out and the journalists are forced to take refuge in the French embassy. The Khmer Rouge have however demanded that all Cambodians in the embassy be turned over, and fearing attack, the occupants agree. Dith Pran is therefore in trouble. The foreign journalists come up with a plan...

The film is very well cast, with excellent acting and character depth as shown by Haing Ngor winning a well deserved oscar for best supporting actor. It is at times brutal, at others touching.

Highly Recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING! 2 Dec 2013
By Trajan
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
This well researched and historically correct film is a sad tribute to all those who died in the horrific camps of the khmer rouge . Sam Waterston leading a great cast combined with good production values make this a must see. Highly recommended.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
'Now is the year 0 and everything must start anew... I am full of fear Sydney, I must have no past, this is the year 0 and nothing has gone before'
These are the words spoken by Dith Pran as images of the unspeakable horrors of the Cambodian revolution fill the screen. The Killing Fields is a film that leaves a lasting emotional impression.
It portrays the real life friendship between NY Times correspondent Sydney Schomberg (Sam Waterson) and his Cambodian interpreter Dith Pran (Haing Ngor). The film depicts events stretching over a seven-year period, from the 1973 American bombing of Neak Luang village, to the Khmer Rouge takeover in 1975, and their eventual fall following the 1978 Vietnamese invasion. With such a difficult and disturbing subject matter and a complex timeframe the film could easily have floundered. Instead it succeeds because it filters these events through the eyes of two men, which bestows it with a real interpretive power.
It is superficially similar to Salvador directed by Oliver Stone. Both films critique the negative consequences of American military involvement in poor war-torn countries by depicting the work of journalists. However, inspite of the fact that the guilt of Schomberg at leaving his friend to suffer in Cambodia is intended to mirror the wider American involvement and subsequent neglect of that country (portrayed in one powerful scene), the content is never as bluntly political. It is very much more a personal account, and whilst the images shock, they are naturalistic in style and never as over-blown as in Salvador. The performances are very strong and full of integrity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still as strong as ever 25 Feb 2013
By Halifax
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie when it came out, and am now revising it. Emotional and hard-hitting. Stays with you, but certainly one to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film 16 Feb 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very good film a must watch for anyone. Brilliantly acted and a true testament of the evils of war and dictators
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful but ultimately a little too tasteful 7 Jun 2007
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
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.
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