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The Thin Red Line (1964)

| Drama, War | 2 May 1964 (USA)
In Guadalcanal during World War II, a private and his sergeant clash during the heat of battle with the Japanese.



(from the novel by), (screenplay)


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


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


First, Came "From Here to Eternity"! Now, in White-Hot Rage, James Jones Brings You the One They Call His Best...Lusty...Brutal...A Story With Guts...Power...and Blazing Action! See more »


Drama | War


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A última batalha  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This movie takes place at the Battle of Guadacanal. Guadalcanal is situated in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, north-east of Australia. Its local name is Isatabu and contains the country's capital, Honiara. The island is humid and mostly made up of jungle with a surface area of 2,510 square miles or 6,500-km². Guadacanal was named after Pedro de Ortega's home town Guadacanal in Andalusia, Spain. de Ortega worked under Álvaro de Mendaña who charted the island in 1568. See more »


Referenced in The Mentalist: The Thin Red Line (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

A good attempt.
10 January 2007 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

This version of James Jones' book follows the plot of the novel closely and actually received very high praise from the author himself. Jones wrote a letter to the director saying "Very rarely does an author get to write a letter to a filmmaker to say that he has captured the author's intention to the highest level possible." Jones was very pleased with the outcome of this movie, while the 1998 version heavily strays from his book. For example, Witt and Walsh in the 1998 version both quote a lot from another Jones novel, called "From Here To Eternity", and not from "A Thin Red Line". The main storyline, namely the clash between the Private and his Captain, is almost completely left out of the Malick film. In making the book into a movie, the 1964 film succeeds. Which is not to say Malick didn't create a riveting film in 1998, he just didn't really turn the book into a movie.

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