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The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  21 January 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 14,743 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 87 user | 27 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pete Curtis
Bill Kerr ...
Colonel Henderson
Noel Ferrier ...
Wally O'Sullivan
Bembol Roco ...
Paul Sonkkila ...
Kevin Condon
Ali Nur ...
Dominador Robridillo ...
Betjak Man
Joel Agona ...
Palace Guard
Mike Emperio ...
Bernardo Nacilla ...
Domingo Landicho ...
Hermino De Guzman ...
Immigration Officer


Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. His apparently humdrum assignment to Indonesia soon turns hot as President Sukarno electrifies the populace and frightens foreign powers. Guy soon is the hottest reporter on the story with the help of his photographer, half- Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, who has gone native. Guy's affair with diplomat Jill Bryant also helps. Eventually Guy must face some major moral choices and the relationship between Billy and him reaches a crisis at the same time the politics of Indonesia does. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Love Caught In The Fire Of Revolution See more »


Drama | Romance | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 January 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El año que vivimos en peligro  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


With a budget of $6 million, this Australian picture was at the time one of the most expensive and ambitious Australian films ever undertaken. See more »


The LE TIGRE t-shirts the reporters are wearing did not come until 1977 - they were not around in 1965. See more »


Billy Kwan: We'll make a great team, old man. You for the words, me for the pictures. I can be your eyes.
See more »


Referenced in Veronica Mars: Normal Is the Watchword (2005) See more »


Excerpts of L'enfant
from "Opera Sauvage"
by Vangelis
by arrangement with Spheric B.V./Warner Bros.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Riveting and emotive political-drama set in Indonesia during Sukarno's fall
25 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

This excellent movie is set in 1965 Indonesia, when an Australian reporter named Gay Hamilton is assigned on his first work as a foreign journalist. His apparently simple mission to Yakarta soon turns hot when he interviews a rebel leader , while President Sukarno was toppling by pressure left from communists and right from military. Guy soon is the hottest reporter with the help of his photographer, a native, half- Chinese midget named Kwan . Eventually Hamilton must confront moral conflicts and the relationship between Billy and him reaches some problems connected with a British diplomatic attaché , at the same time the political upheaval takes place in coup détat.

Mel Gibson is good as correspondent covering a conflict and finding himself becoming personally involved when he befriends a free-lance photographer named Billy Kwan and falling for a beautiful Embassy assistant, a mesmerizing Sigourney Weaver .The movie has its touching moments found primarily in the superb supporting performances as Michael Murphy as lively journalist , Bill Kerr as veteran Colonel and of course diminutive Linda Hunt who steals the show as sensible photographer in her Academy Award-winning character, a woman acting a man, and well deservedly prized. Moving and intimate musical score though composed by synthesizer by Maurice Jarre. Atmospheric cinematography that adequate as a mood-piece by Russell Boyd.

The motion picture is stunningly directed by Australian director Peter Weir who achieved several hits (Witness, Gallipoli, The last wave) and some flop (Mosquito coast, The plumber). The movie belongs to sub-genre that abounded in the 80s about reporters around the world covering dangerous political conflicts , such as Nicaragua in ¨Under fire¨ by Robert Spottswoode with Nick Nolte , Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy, Salvador in ¨Salvador¨ by Oliver Stone with James Woods and James Belushi, and Libano in ¨Deadline¨ by Nathaliel Gutman with Christopher Walken and Hywel Bennett. These movies are very much in the vein of ¨The year of living dangerously ¨.

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