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Killing Fields, The (1984, Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor)



Based on the memoirs of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg, true-life drama The Killing Fields retells the personal and professional relationship between Schanberg (Sam Waterston) and his Cambodian friend and translator, Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor).

When America withdraws from Vietnam, Schanberg encourages Pran to stay and assist him in Cambodia instead of evacuating with the Americans. Later, Pran is taken by the Khmer Rouge and Schanberg, who can do nothing to help him, returns to the States where he continues to try to locate and free his friend.

The Killing Fields marks an exceptional film debut. Actor Haing S. Ngor was a Cambodian doctor who was imprisoned and tortured by the Khmer Rouge. After seeking refuge in the U.S., filmmakers hired him to portray Dith Pran despite his lack of acting experience. His film debut earned him an Oscar.

Academy Award nominations in seven categories, winning for Best Supporting Actor (Haing S. Ngor), Best Cinematography and Best Editing.

production details
UK / 141 minutes / 1984-11-02

Director: Roland Joffe
Producer: David Puttnam
Director of Photography: Chris Menges
Editor: Jim Clark
Composer: Mike Oldfield
Screenwriter: Bruce Robinson
Production Designer: Roy Walker

Sam Waterston as Sydney Schanberg
Jay Barney as Schanberg’s Father
Bill Paterson as Dr. MacEntire
Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran
Joanna Merlin as Schanberg’s Sister
Patrick Malahide as Morgan
Craig T. Nelson as Major Reeves, Military Attache
John Malkovich as Alan ‘Al’ Rockoff, Photographer
Athol Fugard as Dr. Sundesval
Julian Sands as Jon Swain
Spalding Gray as United States consul
Graham Kennedy as Dougal
Katherine Krapum Chey as Ser Moeum: Dith Pran’s wife
Oliver Pierpaoli as Titony: Dith Pran’s son
Edward Entero Chey as Sarun, Sydney’s Driver
Tom Bird as U.S. Military Advisor
Monirak Sisowath as Phat: Khmer Rouge leader: 2nd village
Lambool Dtangpaibool as Phat’s Son
Ira Wheeler as Ambassador Wade
David Henry as France
Nell Campbell as Beth
Joan Harris as TV Interviewer
Mark Long as Noaks
Sayo Inaba as Mrs. Noaks
Mow Leng as Sirik Matak
Chinsaure Sa as Arresting Officer
Hout Ming Tran as K.R. Cadre – First Village
Thach Suon as Sahn
Neevy Pal as Rosa