The Killing Fields
- 2 hr 21 min
The Killing Fields is a British movie based on the work and lives of journalists working in Cambodia during the communist Khmer Rouge regime of the dictator Pol Pot. The title of the movie comes from the discovery by accident of fields filled with the rotting corpses of the opponents to Pol Pot's leadership, which included the murder of an estimated number of more than one million people. During The Killing Fields the contrasting experiences of American journalist Sydney Schanberg, played by Sam Waterston and Cambodian journalist Dirth Pran, played by Haing S. Ngor are shown; Schanberg receives fame and awards for his work while Cambodian Pran is stranded in his home country in forced labor camps. Opening in 1973 The Killing Fields begins with an explanation of the beginning of the friendship between Pran and Schanberg that develops with Pran working as an interpreter for Schanberg in Cambodia. Pran is responsible for saving the life of Schanberg on a number of occasions before the Khmer Rouge take control of Cambodia and during the early days of Pol Pot's regime. Pran and Schanberg eventually flee to the French Embassy before the French authorities hand over all the Cambodian citizens on their promises to the Khmer Rouge, including Pran. Stranded in Cambodia, Pran is forced into agricultural work through the Year Zero program begun by Pol Pot that results in the evacuation of Cambodia's major cities. During an escape attempt from a prison camp Pran stumbles upon a mass grave filled with rotting corpses and begins the exposure of the brutality of Pol Pot's regime. In contrast, Schanberg sees his career become successful and feels guilty he could have done more to locate Pran. Eventually Pran takes an opportunity to escape his prison camp and is reunited with Schanberg. The winner of three Oscars, The Killing Fields was a critical and commercial success and features regularly on lists of the top films in history.