A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
12 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman
Documentary | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Documentary | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James
Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving
Crime | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Stars: Ann Finnell, Patrick McGuinness, James Williams
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Directors: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise
Death on the Staircase (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, presents a gripping courtroom thriller, offering a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In ... See full summary »

Stars: Caitlin Atwater, Margaret Blakemore, Ron Guerette
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne
Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Randall Adams ...
Himself
David Harris ...
Himself
Gus Rose ...
Himself (Homicide Detective in Dallas)
Jackie Johnson ...
Herself (Homicide Detective in Dallas)
Marshall Touchton ...
Himself (Homicide Detective in Dallas)
Dale Holt ...
Himself (Internal Affairs Investigator in Dallas)
Sam Kittrell ...
Himself (Police Detective in Vidor)
Hootie Nelson ...
Himself (Friend of David Harris in Vidor)
Dennis Johnson ...
Himself (Friend of David Harris in Vidor)
Floyd Jackson ...
Himself (Friend of David Harris in Vidor)
Edith James ...
Herself (Defense Attorney)
Dennis White ...
Himself (Defense Attorney)
Don Metcalfe ...
Himself (The Judge)
Emily Miller ...
Herself (Surprise Eyewitness)
R.L. Miller ...
Himself (Surprise Eyewitness)
Edit

Storyline

Errol Morris's unique documentary dramatically re-enacts the crime scene and investigation of a police officer's murder in Dallas, Texas. Briefly, a drifter (Randall Adams) ran out of gas and was picked up by a 16-year-old runaway (David Harris). Later that night, they drank some beer, smoked some marijuana, and went to the movies. Then, their stories diverged. Adams claimed that he left for his motel, where he was staying with his brother, and went to sleep. Harris, however, said that they were stopped by police late that night, and Adams suddenly shot the officer approaching their car. The film shows the audience the evidence gathered by the police, who were under extreme pressure to clear the case. It strongly makes a point that the circumstantial evidence was very flimsy. In fact, it becomes apparent that Harris was a much more likely suspect and was in the middle of a crime spree, eventually ending up on Death Row himself for the later commission of other crimes. Morris implies ... Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A softcore movie, Dr. Death, a chocolate milkshake, a nosey blonde and "The Carol Burnett Show." Solving this mystery is going to be murder.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

På en skör tråd  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,209,846 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Errol Morris spent 2-1/2 years tracking down the various players in the Randall Adams case and convincing them to appear in the film. See more »

Quotes

Sam Kittrell: David thought that the one that was really at fault that night was the guy that got killed. He said, "That guy's crazy. He came after me with a gun." I told him, "David, you'd broken into his house, you abducted his girlfriend, what was he supposed to do?" He said, "Man shouldn't come out with a gun. That dude's crazy. He should have been killed."
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of my brother Noel Ian Morris (1942-1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great documentary experience
21 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

Regarding the issue of manipulation, lets face it people, all documentaries are manipulative - every documentary filmmaker is attempting to make a point, whether or not they care to admit it. It is the documentaries that give the impression of being "objective" that are, in fact, the most manipulative. In the case of "The Thin Blue Line" the purpose of the documentary is clear, and the viewer is not tricked into believing that they are watching something objective. Instead, it is quite upfront about its purpose, and therefore is a much more honest piece of work. People should never accept anything they see in a documentary as fact, it's important to understand that documentaries are simply an attempt to present the director's perspective of a real-life situation. It is the great documentaries that present their perspective in a convincing manner, and do so without boring the viewer to sleep. Here "The Thin Blue Line" succeeds very well: it is powerful, it is engaging, and it's extremely convincing. Does that mean that everyone should be convinced? Lets hope not. However, it certainly should give everyone something to think about.

The only real problem with the film is its over-use of re-enactments where they are not really that necessary. For example, there is an image of a clock, representing the futility of time, which is too long for its own good. The milkshake scene was also (intentionally)annoying. However, this is a minor problem, and not one that should bother most people. Overall: great film, and highly recommended.


14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I am livid and scared as hell anxs
Anti Death Penalty?? wrg6
Another documentary about racist cops whose case falls apart in court phantom_tollbooth
What became of the female officer? firemanbob
what i dont get nbafreak93
Did Adams sue Morris? donwithnoname
Discuss The Thin Blue Line (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page