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The Thin Red Line (1964)

 |  War, Drama  |  2 May 1964 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 506 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 8 critic

In Guadalcanal during World War II, a private and his sergeant clash during the heat of battle with the Japanese.

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Title: The Thin Red Line (1964)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
James Philbrook ...
Bob Kanter ...
Fife (as Robert Kanter)
Ray Daley ...
Merlyn Yordan ...
Judy
Kieron Moore ...
Jim Gillen ...
Capt. Gaff (as James Gillen)
Charles Stalmaker ...
(as Charles Stalnaker)
Steve Rowland ...
Mazzi
Gary Lasdun
Eddy King ...
(as Edward King)
Jeffrey O'Kelly
Jack Gaskins
Joe Collins
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Storyline

Dark tale of one man's determination to survive his tour of duty. Separated from his new wife after only eight days of marriage, private Doll suddenly decides that he will no longer blindly follow the orders of his superiors, following his own mind instead. What follows are a series of poorly planned attacks, in which Doll saves the day, time after time; eventually leading to the taking of the Elephant in the battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. Sgt. Welsh, Doll's immediate line officer grows an affinity for Doll, helping him through his first Kill, but never quite allowing himself to admit his admiration for the young soldier. The final scene of the movie brings home the true horror of war and the meaninglessness of it all. Written by Tophee

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"From Here To Eternity" Was James Jones' Greatest... Until This One, With All The Guts And Greatness That Sold Over One Million Copies! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A última batalha  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's title comes from James Jones's novel and, in turn, from an old saying. In the movie, Captain Stone, played by Ray Daley, says, "I remember an old Midwest saying, 'There's only a thin red line between the sane and the mad.' " See more »

Connections

Version of The Thin Red Line (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Jones' ideas, kind of.
28 September 1999 | by (Princeton) – See all my reviews

The first interpretation of James Jones' novel is an OK movie. Nothing really stuck with me, though. It condenses about five characters each into the two lead characters in order to make a well rounded film that fairly expresses Jones' ideas on men in war. It is an interesting psychological study on men, not under stress, but facing death, either from a distance, or up close. There are some great moments in this, and the acting is superb. I did think, though, that the sexual feelings of the novel did not translate so well into the early 60's film. The battle are also utterly unconvincing. Death is still portrayed as a somewhat painless event (with the near exception of one great scene), it leans more to the earlier gung ho war movies than, say, Paths of Glory or All Quiet on the Western Front. The battle scenes are ultimately silly and cartoonish. Two men climb a cliff because the valley below is mined. One knocks over a big rock that causes a chain reaction and all the rocks fall into the valley and clear the mine field. This kind scene is not meant to be surreal, so it loses on the realism scale. This is not the way Jones wanted war depicted. The kind of silly inventiveness of the battle scenes does not exist in all out combat. But, I must say, it does succeed in some scenes, and the performances are all great. I must also say that the end is extremely powerful. It made all the cheesey set pieces and battle scenes disappear from my mind. That last shot is the tone of Jones' novels, a tone From Here to Eternity got right all the way through, and Terrence Malick's Thin Red Line also successfully portrayed (But stepped away to alow contemplation, not to experience.) That last scene makes it a good movie, but it couldn've been done better. Actually, it was done better. I still recommend it. It has its ideas in the right place, but its execution is a bit showy and not realistic enough.


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