The Killing Fields Movie Review Summary

Actors: Sam Waterston, Dr. Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Killing Fields

The Killing Fields (1984), directed by Roland Joffé.

Based on a true story, this film covers the experiences of Sydney Schanberg, a reporter for the New York Times, and Dith Pran, his Cambodian interpreter and assistant, after the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970. Together they have been covering the civil war in Cambodia, but when it becomes clear that the country is falling to the Khmer Rouge, the situation becomes dangerous for all Westerners and their friends.
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Though Schanberg and Pran both have the opportunity to be evacuated, Schanberg decides to stay in order to cover the Khmer's invasion of Pnom Pen. While Pran has his family be evacuated he is persuaded to stay with Schanberg. But soon Schanberg is arrested together with a group of other Western journalists, and they are threatened with execution. Exposing himself to imminent danger, Pran manages to save Schanberg's life by flattering the guards and convincing them that Schanberg is politically harmless French journalist.

Schanberg and Pran now seek refuge in the French embassy and make plans to escape. But when all Cambodians are ordered to leave the embassy and Pran's friends do not succeed in hiding Pran's nationality, he has to turn himself in to the occupying forces. While Schanberg eventually manages to be evacuated, Pran disappears into the Cambodian labor camps.

Years go by and Schanberg's work on the Cambodian civil war is awarded the Pulitzer Prize in New York. At the same time, he still suffers from feelings of guilt concerning the fate of Dith Pran, who had helped to make that work possible. While it is still not possible for an American to enter Cambodia, he never gives up his hope that Pran might still be alive and continues to try to locate him.

Meanwhile, Pran undergoes severe hardships in Cambodian forced labor camps. But he is smart enough not to disclose his intellectual background, lest he be executed immediately. He endures frequent torture but never gives up his own plans to escape. Will he succeed?
The review of this Movie prepared by Dorothea Lotter

Script Analysis of The Killing Fields

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1930's-1950's War impact on civilians/veterans    -   Yes Kind of conflict:    -   war, Vietnam

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   journalist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


Asia/Pacific/Middle East    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Southeast Asia City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   explicit references to torture Any profanity?    -   None

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