The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) Poster

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

  • Rate: 7.2/10 total 12,679 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | War
  • Release Date: 21 January 1983 (USA)
  • Runtime: 115 min
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The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)


The Year of Living Dangerously 1982tt0086617.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
  • Rate: 7.2/10 total 12,679 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | War
  • Release Date: 21 January 1983 (USA)
  • Runtime: 115 min
  • Filming Location: Artransa Park Film Studios, Mobbs Lane, Epping, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Budget: $13,000,000 (estimated)
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Stars: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt | See full cast and crew »
  • Original Music By: Maurice Jarre   
  • Soundtrack: White Cliffs of Dover
  • Sound Mix: Mono
  • Plot Keyword: Photographer | President | Diplomat | Foreign Correspondent | Corpse With Eyes Open

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • C.J. Koch  novel
  • C.J. Koch  screenplay
  • Peter Weir  screenplay
  • David Williamson  screenplay

Known Trivia

  • This film was banned in Indonesia until 1999. The movie was banned there by former Indonesian dictator Suharto for its graphic depiction of his tumultuous and bloody rise to power in the 1960s. The picture was finally first screened in Indonesia on 6 November 2000, two years after Suharto had been forced from office after 32 years of autocratic rule. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Much of the non-English dialogue in the film is in Filipino, not Javanese. For example, when Billy visits the home of a dead child in a slum area, the prayer spoken by the old man is in fact “Our Father” in Tagalog. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Linda Hunt is the first actor to have won an Academy Award (Oscar) for portraying a member of the opposite sex. Hunt is also the only ever actress ever to win an Academy Award (Oscar) for playing a man with no cross dressing or gender confusion involved. Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry (1999)) received the one for playing a biological female who identifies as a man whilst Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love (1998)) received one for playing a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Average Shot Length = ~5.2 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~4.9 seconds. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Vangelis’s electronic tune “L’Enfant” (from his 1979 Opera Sauvage album), which is featured prominently in “The Year of Living Dangerously”, was Hugh Hudson’s original choice to be the theme music for Chariots of Fire (1981). It was only after Vangelis finally persuaded Hudson to listen to his new and now familiar “Chariots of Fire” tune, that Hudson changed his mind. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • This film was made and released about four years after the film’s source novel of the same title by C.J. Koch was first published in 1978. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • The meaning and relevance of this movie’s “The Year of Living Dangerously” title is that it refers to a famous Italian quotation, ‘vivere pericoloso’, which translates into the English language as “living dangerously”. Indonesian president Suharto used this phrase during his National Day Speech on 17 August 1964. E-Notes states that the novel “takes its title from Sukarno’s term for 1965, the year in which the novel takes place”. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Prior to this film being made, director Phillip Noyce was also interested in directing a movie of C.J. Koch’s “The Year of Living Dangerously” novel. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Mel Gibson once said of Guy Hamilton, his character in this film, as published on 24 February 1983 in the article “Mel Gibson: Australia’s new hunk”: “He’s not a silver-tongued devil. He’s kind of immature and he has some rough edges and I guess you could say the same for me.” 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Second and final theatrical feature film collaboration to date of director Peter Weir and actor Mel Gibson. The first was Gallipoli (1981). 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |

Goofs: Anachronisms: As Guy is arriving in Jakarta Billy Kwan's VO tells us it is June 25th, 1965, but the copy of Time Magazine Guy is clutching as he passes through immigration is actually the July 30th, 1965 issue with the famous Marc Chagall self portrait cover.

Plot: 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. Full summary »  »

Story: 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 byReid Gagle


Synopsis: A rookie Australian journalist, covering the Indonesian civil war of 1965, must choose between romance and the story that will make his career.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Jim McElroy known as producer (as James McElroy)

FullCast & Crew:

  • Mel Gibson known as Guy Hamilton
  • Sigourney Weaver known as Jill Bryant
  • Linda Hunt known as Billy Kwan
  • Michael Murphy known as Pete Curtis
  • Bill Kerr known as Colonel Henderson
  • Noel Ferrier known as Wally O'Sullivan
  • Bembol Roco known as Kumar
  • Paul Sonkkila known as Kevin Condon
  • Ali Nur known as Ali
  • Dominador Robridillo known as Betjak Man
  • Joel Agona known as Palace Guard
  • Mike Emperio known as Sukarno
  • Bernardo Nacilla known as Dwarf
  • Domingo Landicho known as Hortono
  • Hermino De Guzman known as Immigration Officer
  • Coco Marantha known as Pool Waiter
  • Kuh Ledesma known as Tiger Lily
  • Norma Uatuhan known as Ibu
  • Lito Tolentino known as Udin
  • Cecily Polson known as Moira
  • David Oyang known as Hadji
  • Mark Egerton known as Embassy Aide
  • Joonee Gamboa known as Naval Officer
  • Pudji Waseso known as Officer in Cafe
  • Joel Lamangan known as Security Man No. 1
  • Mario Layco known as Security Man No. 2
  • Jabo Djohansjan known as Doctor
  • Agoes Widjaya Soedjarwo known as Roadblock Soldier (as Agus Widjaja)
  • Chris Quivak known as Airport Official



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:

  • Judy Lovell known as makeup artist: Australia
  • Judy Lovell known as special effects makeup artist: Australia
  • Bob McCarron known as special effects makeup artist: Australia
  • Cheryl Williams known as hair stylist: Australia

Art Department:

  • Francisco Balangue known as construction foreman: Philippines
  • Anni Browning known as assistant art director
  • Sally Campbell known as prop buyer: Australia
  • Sally Campbell known as set dresser: Australia
  • Michael Chorney known as scenic artist: Australia
  • Dominador Dela Cruz known as head carpenter: Philippines
  • Alan Dunstan known as art department assistant: Australia
  • Hugh Hamilton known as carpenter: Australia
  • Billy Malcolm known as scenic artist: Australia
  • Jenny Miles known as assistant stand-by props: Australia
  • Clark Munro known as stand-by props: Australia
  • Ramon Nicdao known as assistant art director: Philippines
  • Gambino Payawal known as assistant construction foreman: Philippines (as Gavino Payawal)
  • Paddy Reardon known as prop buyer: Australia
  • Paddy Reardon known as set dresser: Australia
  • Geoffrey Spence known as carpenter: Australia
  • Marta Statescu known as prop buyer: Australia
  • Marta Statescu known as set dresser: Australia
  • Wendy Stites known as design coordinator (as Wendy Weir)
  • Ron Sutherland known as carpenter: Australia
  • Peter Templeton known as construction manager: Australia
  • Paul Vosilianis known as carpenter: Australia
  • Stewart Way known as prop buyer: Australia
  • Stewart Way known as set dresser: Australia
  • Derek Wyness known as carpenter: Australia (as Derek Wynness)




Production Companies:

  • McElroy & McElroy
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Other Companies:

  • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  VHS package design
  • Royal Australian Air Force  acknowledgement
  • Turner Entertainment  VHS package design
  • UAA Films Limited, Australia  production services
  • United Sound  music mixed at


  • MGM/UA Entertainment Company (1983) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Cinema International Corporation (CIC) (1983) (France) (theatrical)
  • United International Pictures (UIP) (1983) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • MGM/UA Home Video (1990) (USA) (VHS) (pan and scan)
  • Chapel Distribution (1997) (Australia) (theatrical) (35mm print – Panavision also 16mm)
  • Warner Home Video (2000) (USA) (DVD)
  • Argentina Video Home (2001) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Argentina Video Home (2001) (Argentina) (VHS)
  • MGM/UA Home Entertainment (USA) (DVD)
  • MGM/UA Home Video (198?) (Australia) (VHS)
  • Warner Home Vídeo (Brazil) (DVD)
  • Warner Home Vídeo (Brazil) (VHS)



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on January 27, 2014 by Movies DVD New Releases Blu-ray in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. damien-16 from Lao People's Democratic Republic
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    I am a little amazed that, so far, only 40 comments have been entered.Fortunately most are of high quality, and all the important pointsrelated to the film are clearly highlighted. So, I will not repeat whathas been well said by others. I want to explain one additional point,it has to do with my personal experience but might be interesting tomention.

    I’m a professional expatriate, living overseas for 25 years. I’m nottalking about an American in Paris or an Englishman in New York, I meanAfrican steppes, tropical jungles, Indian slums. Living in a totallyforeign country, in a totally strange culture, imperfectlyunderstanding the local language, bewildered by alien logic, youexperience a permanent sense of unease. You adapt, you learn to cope,you make what you hope are friends. But you never forget that you are astranger in unknown territory, and that you are vulnerable.

    You may peacefully walk on the street one minute, the next minutebullets are flying all around you. In the evening you have a pleasantdrink with your neighbour, in the morning you are arrested, accused ofbeing a foreign mercenary. When you travel inland you come at a roadblock, not knowing if they’ll let you pass, or harass you for a coupleof hours, or confiscate your car. As a foreigner in developingcountries, you are constantly confronted with uncertainty, anintangible menace lurking around the corner.

    I find that TYOLD transmits this sense of menace very poignantly. Manypeople have commented on its brilliant sense of place, the accuratedepiction of Indonesia and the events that took place at the time.Others mention that you get a very real feeling of the tension anduncertainty journalists in times of upheaval are subjected to. But Iwould like to extend it beyond journalists. The sense of menace inTYOLD is eminently recognizable by all who have lived in countrieswhere the police is not there to protect you, the laws are not there tomake society more civilized, the hospitals are not there to cure you.In TYOLD, the menace is made visible because of the troubles thaterupt, but usually you do not have to live through civil war whenoverseas. Still, the menace is not less real, and the sense offoreboding haunting every expatriate was very convincingly conveyed inthe film.

  2. SuperfluousChap from Washington, DC
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    I watched TYLD after a prof recommended it in grad school. I had to rentitfrom an obscure-movies rental place in Alexandria, Virginia and I now ownthe picture.

    There are three elements, mixed together, that make TYLD superb, richcinema. First, it captures the feel of westerners living abroad, theclusterof expat personalities that you find were you to live or workabroad.

    Second, it is one of the best love stories ever crafted, with a "fleetingend of summer feel" between Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. They are bothyoung; Weaver is stunningly gorgeous. Their romance ends almost asabruptlyas it begins. We’ve all been there.

    The movie also captures an awesome historical moment and is fascinatingColdWar history. The movie is flawless.

  3. Hisar Maruli Manurung ( from Edinburgh, Scotland
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    15 years after its release, I finally get to see what to my knowledge is theonly english-speaking film that tells the story of Indonesia circa the 1965revolution.

    A very young Gibson is convincing as the inexperienced but ambitiousreported determined to make his mark in telling the story of Sukarno’s lastmoments in power. Equally brilliant is Sigourney Weaver, and yet one feelsthat this film did not give her the opportunity to show her truecalibre.

    The one who ultimately steals the show, then, is Linda Hunt, playing theenigmatic and passionate Billy, who understands the true psyche of Indonesiabetter than any of the other foreign characters in thisstory.

    When Billy solemnly expresses his disappointment to Guy, proclaiming, "Icreated you", it evoked images of Weir’s latest masterpiece, The TrumanShow, where Christof has fashioned the persona of Truman Burbank for his TVspectacle. Perhaps a running theme in Peter Weir’s work? Must checkout…

    I marvelled at the authenticity of the setting. It certainly looked likeJakarta. The faces, the atmosphere, the buildings, and yet, those sceneswere shot in the Philippines, with mainly Filipino actors! Just goes to showthe similarity among Indonesia and the Philippines.

    I see now why this film was never made available in Indonesia (to myknowledge). The last few moments of the film show the stark reality ofcommunist executions by Soeharto’s new military regime, horrifying picturesof mere pawns being slaughtered… and the parting message from aself-confessed PKI member:"Am I stupid for wanting to change my country’scondition?" is one of the best lines in this film.

  4. lalumiere from SC
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    The film is wonderfully sensate, alive and filled with exotic beautyand deep passions.

    The colors, textures and sound have a dimensionality that draws theviewer right into the scene, the place the time… when it rains, theviewer can feel the rain, when the hero, Guy is being drowned in adream, the viewer senses the suffocation…

    The chemistry between Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver, as young loversin exciting times, is breath-taking!

    But Linda Hunt is the biggest gem in the movie, playing a little mannamed Billy Kwan. She is incredibly credible in this role. Few femaleactresses can believably pull-off playing a male character, but Huntdid it so well that, at first, the viewer feels a familiarity with theperson playing Billy without realizing he is being played by a woman.When I realized it, I was totally amazed. Hunt is a great actresswell-deserving of the Oscar she won for the portrayal.

    The film is evocative and enthralling. And so alive, so utterly alive!

    _The Year of Living Dangerously_ has and is everything a film shouldbe.

  5. ProfessorFate from Las Vegas
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    In "The Year of Living Dangerously" director Peter Weir attempts much andaccomplishes most of his goals. It’s a socio-political essay on the dangersof Western meddling in Third World countries. It’s a fascinating view intothe challenges of journalism in a volatile foreign country. It’s a steamyromance involving two beautiful, intelligent characters. It’s a distinctlyFar Eastern morality play that seems to delight in yin/yang paradoxes. Plusit’s one of the best films at evoking the mood, texture, and sensuality oflife in Southeast Asia. Don’t be too harsh on Weir for the lapses inhistoric accuracy and plotting, because it’s a complicated, busy landscapehe is painting here. The best things about the film are:

    -Linda Hunt’s amazing performance. Unlike other gender-bending performances(Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria", Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie") you neveronce give any thought to the fact that this is a woman playing a man. It’sa seamless transition and a performance of immense heart and honesty. Theimage of a distraught Billy pounding at his typewriter, pleading "What thenmust we do?" while an aria swells around him and the eyes of Jakarta’s poorstare at him from his own photographs, is an incredibly moving scene.

    -The atmosphere created by the combination of Russell Boyd’s cinematographyand Maurice Jarre’s score. Take a look at the scene with Weaver walkingthrough the streets of Jakarta in a tropical downpour. The effect isbreathtaking.

    -The chemistry between Gibson and Weaver. You can feel the heat betweenthem. Unlike other posters here, I believe their romance is one of thefilm’s strong points.

    I agree that the ending is a bit of a letdown, but it doesn’t diminishWeir’s accomplishments. "The Year of Living Dangerously" is a startlingunique film, and certainly one his best.

  6. Geofbob from London, England
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    Peter Weir’s movie, set in Sukarno’s Indonesia in 1965, can be seen as fourfilms in one. The first is socio-political, focusing on the plight of theimpoverished Indonesian people, the impending insurrection by the communistmovement, and the bloody, chaotic aftermath of the coup. The second,coloured in Graham Greene-ish tones, has a cast of western journalists anddiplomats failing to make sense of what’s happening around them, and fallingback on sex, drink and cynicism. The third – and most important incommercial-cinema terms – is a convincingly acted romance between rookieforeign correspondent Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) and British diplomat JillBryant (Sigourney Weaver), culminating in an unlikely and sentimental endingto the film.

    But it is the fourth of these "sub-movies" which is the most intriguing;this concerns the diminutive and enigmatic Australian/Chinese photographerBilly Kwan, an astonishing – and Oscar winning – portrayal by actress LindaHunt. Billy sees himself as a puppet-master, pulling the strings of friendsand colleagues, particularly of Jill and Guy, whom he throws together. Buthis need to take control also motivates him to help local people, notthrough indirect and political means, but directly like an early Christian,and this apparently benign course leads to tragedy. Billy is the true heartand conscience of this film.

    Weir is not entirely successful in weaving these strands together, andleaves a few gaps in both plot and characterisation. He is also occasionallyguilty of melodrama (a fault which, in the movie, Jill warns Guy about),especially in the film’s closing scenes – though certainly not where heshows communist sympathisers being shot, which is factual. On the whole,however, the movie works on both commercial and artistic levels, and shouldbe seen.

  7. Sandy Bergeson (thegolfgoddess) from chicago, Il
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    How anyone could have seen this movie and not recognized the depth of itssocial commentary and personal integrity is beyond me. This movie iswrittenwith power and intelligence, is performed impeccably and directed withcinematic genius. If you have not seen this movie, take time out to betouched in your head and heart.

  8. L. Lion ( from Los Angeles
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    I just caught TYOLD again on PBS, not having seen it for perhaps ten years. Wonder of wonders, compared to many other films of the early ’80s, this oneis just as riveting as it was when I first saw it and doesn’t look like ithas aged a minute. In addition I am picking up many nuances of the filmthat I had never seen before.

    What I know, and knew, about the tribulations of Indonesia in the 1960’s iscontained in the reels of this film. The subject matter is so far outsideof the typical Western/American perspective that it is amazing that the filmgot made. Gibson is very good as Guy Hamilton, and his performance is muchmore lean and energetic than what he has done since – he hadn’t had years ofHollywood gloss and Lethal Weapon familiarity to file down his performancesinto the predictable boxes they have become. Sigourney Weaver is elegant,although her English accent is never really convincing and sometimesdisappears altogether. Linda Hunt’s portrayal of Billy Kwan is astonishingand won her a well-deserved Oscar in an incredible gender-switchingperformance that was inspired casting.

    One thing I never noticed before was how Billy placed each of the three maincharacters in their perspective as the Indonesian puppets he explains toGuy. Arjuna, the hero who can be fickle and selfish (Guy). The princess hewill fall in love with (Weaver’s character). And the dwarf, who carries thewisdom for Arjuna (Billy Kwan).

    I haven’t much more to say about this film aside from how much I admire itand recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. Beautifully shot, wellpaced, with good performances and about an interesting and important subjectmatter, it is well worth your time.

  9. ma-cortes
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    This excellent movie is set in 1965 Indonesia, when an Australianreporter named Gay Hamilton is assigned on his first work as a foreignjournalist. His apparently simple mission to Yakarta soon turns hotwhen he interviews a rebel leader , while President Sukarno wastoppling by pressure left from communists and right from military. Guysoon is the hottest reporter with the help of his photographer, anative, half- Chinese midget named Kwan . Eventually Hamilton mustconfront moral conflicts and the relationship between Billy and himreaches some problems connected with a British diplomatic attaché , atthe same time the political upheaval takes place in coup détat.

    Mel Gibson is good as correspondent covering a conflict and findinghimself becoming personally involved when he befriends a free-lancephotographer named Billy Kwan and falling for a beautiful Embassyassistant, a mesmerizing Sigourney Weaver .The movie has its touchingmoments found primarily in the superb supporting performances asMichael Murphy as lively journalist , Bill Kerr as veteran Colonel andof course diminutive Linda Hunt who steals the show as sensiblephotographer in her Academy Award-winning character, a woman acting aman, and well deservedly prized. Moving and intimate musical scorethough composed by synthesizer by Maurice Jarre. Atmosphericcinematography that adequate as a mood-piece by Russell Boyd.

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

  10. jwkearse from United States
    27 Jan 2014, 1:00 am

    Ever since I first saw this film, it has been one of my favorite. Theperformances are not perfect, but the chemistry between the maincharacters is electric. The semi-fictitious plot (it is said to besomewhat based on a period of the life of reporter Peter Arnet) meldsso nicely with the historical events of 1960's Indonesia. Linda Huntwell deserved the Academy Award, but I felt that it should have alsobeen nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Director, Film, andCinematography. The story follows the novel of which it was basedbetter than 95% of the time. The Atmosphere of the film always leavesme awe-struck. By the end I feel like I have lived Guy's life. It is aromantic film with a small dose of action that both men and womenshould enjoy.

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