Roland Joffe’s unflinching drama recounts the true story of New York Times journalist Sidney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) and Cambodian journalist and translator Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), who found themselves trapped in the nightmare of the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia. While stationed in Phnom Penh in the early 1970s, Schanberg and Pran become close friends and confidants, negotiating and writing many groundbreaking stories. When the ruling Lon Nol government is overthrown by the Khmer Rouge, the country is turned upside down–killing is common in the streets, and children become gun-toting informants. Schanberg is forced to flee the country, with his fellow American photographer Al Rockoff (John Malkovich) and British journalist Jon Swain (Julian Sands). Despite their exhaustive efforts to free Pran, they have no choice but to leave him behind. Pran is forced to endure excruciating agony at the Pol Pot death camps, where any shred of individuality or dissent is beaten out of the prisoners. After years of brutal torture, Pran manages to escape and begins a long odyssey to Thailand and the border refugee camps. As Pran struggles to stay alive, Schanberg endures life in New York wracked with guilt over the loss of his good friend, desperately attempting to locate him. This haunting drama is epic in its portrayal of a war-torn country devastated by mass genocide. Images of both great horror and beauty resonate with awesome power and honesty. Joffe’s first film features superb performances from a first-rate ensemble of actors, including Waterston, Sands, Malkovich, and Ngor in an Oscar-winning role.



November 02, 1984


Roland Joff


Bruce Robinson




Drama, History, War




141 minutes