MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 35 this week

The Thin Red Line (1998)

 -  Drama | War  -  15 January 1999 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 120,387 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 1,432 user | 152 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 04 Dec 2010
 
a list of 24 titles
created 18 Mar 2011
 
GOT
a list of 44 titles
created 19 Oct 2013
 
a list of 43 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 23 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line (1998) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Thin Red Line.

User Polls

Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard
Badlands (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An impressionable teen girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend go on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
The New World (2005)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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

Director: Andrew Marton
Stars: Keir Dullea, Jack Warden, James Philbrook
To the Wonder (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

After falling in love in Paris, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Their church's Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem
Three Kings (1999)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, 4 soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it.

Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Barry Pepper, Joseph Cross
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Marty Bell
...
...
...
...
Pfc - Beade
Edit

Storyline

In World War II, the outcome of the battle of Guadalcanal will strongly influence the Japanese advance into the Pacific theater. A group of young soldiers is brought in as a relief for the battle-weary Marines. The exhausting fight for a strategically-positioned airfield that allows control over a 1000-mile radius puts the men of the Army rifle company C-for-Charlie through hell. The horrors of war form the soldiers into a tight-knit group; their emotions develop into bonds of love and even family. The reasons for this war get further away as the world for the men gets smaller and smaller until their fighting is for mere survival and the life of the other men with them. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every man fights his own war.

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for realistic war violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La delgada línea roja  »

Box Office

Budget:

$52,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£83,657 (UK) (26 February 1999)

Gross:

$36,385,763 (USA) (7 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The piece of music playing in the scene with the captured Japanese soldier is called "The Unanswered Question" by Charles Ives. See more »

Goofs

During the earlier stages of the battle to reach the Japanese stronghold (at about 1:00 into the film), an entire camera crew of about 4 or 5 people, along with their microphones and camera, are fully visible along the left side of the shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Private Edward P. Train: What's this war in the heart of nature? Why does nature vie with itself? The land contend with the sea? Is there an avenging power in nature? Not one power, but two?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Composer Wrangler. . . Moanike'ala Nakamoto See more »

Connections

Referenced in Undergrads: New Friends (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

In Paradisum
from "Requiem"
Composed by Gabriel Fauré
Performed by Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Conducted by Armin Jordan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The most influential film of the 1990s
2 March 1999 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The "Thin Red Line" is not an easy film to understand. It uses one of the most complex narrative structures yet produced by cinema to tell three stories (yes, it DOES have a plot): 1) the one the book wanted to tell (the book's title comes from a 19th century allusion to the British Empire's infantry uniforms] whose small numbers managed to 'protect' the British ["civilization" from their point of view] from the countless hordes of "savages" which the Empire ruled (this concept is regrettably racist). James Jones used this analogy to tell the story of how young American soldiers with no battlefield experience become bloodied veterans. 2) the fundamental paradox of war: to protect "civilization" (all that we hold dear) we are prepared to send young men to fight in wars. We know that in war they will see and do things that will turn them into the very "savages" that we are trying to prevent from destroying our civilization. If you believe that there are things even worse in the world than war (genocide, rule by the Axis powers) then war is not irrational, but the paradox mentioned above exists. 3) man is not distinct from nature but a part of it. Therefore, nature is both beautiful and cruel. (Like our civilization and war).

To tell these stories Terence Malick used symbolic imagery, flashback, voice-overs, passages without dialogue, long close-ups of the actors' faces, changes in tempo and a haunting score.

For example, his use of symbolism has been much criticized but everything has a purpose e.g. the crocodile entering the green algae covered water (nature's savagery), the native man who passes the company, after they land on the beach, walking in the opposite direction apparently oblivious of their presence (their shocked and bewildered faces reveal how they are forced to question the relevance of the reasons for which they may shortly die - the defense of civilization), the tree being choked by parasitic vines ('nature is cruel' as Lt. Col. Tall so aptly puts it), the bird being born as a soldier dies (it was not dying as many people thought - "we come from the earth and return to it" as we hear in the voice-overs), dogs eating a human corpse ("dog eat dog" - the soldiers are becoming desensitized to the violence) the same crocodile, now dead, at the end of the film being carried away as a sort of trophy (danger has receded for the moment), the coconut sprouting a palm on the empty beach in the last scene (after death comes birth - the cycle of life). There are, of course, many, many other examples.

The use of flashback accompanied by voice-over to convey feelings as opposed to narrate a story must have appeared strange to anyone who never saw Alain Resnais' "Hiroshima Mon Amour". It was used most effectively with Ben Chaplin's character (Pvt. Jack Bell) when he thinks of his wife back home - incidentally he idolizes her in the same way we do our own culture - another metaphor. His disillusionment is profound and shows that what he was prepared to die for was only as pure as any ideal.

It is often say that there was no character development. This is also false. For example, in the scene where Sgt. Welsh is speaking to Witt shortly after his arrest for being AWOL , Welsh seems to claim that it is every man for himself when he says that individual sacrifice is worthless, there is no world but this one and that each man must get through the war the best that he can. However, we subsequently see him risking his life to deliver morphine to a MORTALLY wounded man during the frontal assault on the Japanese machine gun nests. Also, Witt can not understand where evil comes from in the midst of the beauty he sees in the Melanesian village, but when he returns there he sees man arguing, enemy skulls, crabs hideously crawling around on an outstretched human hand and a child's back covered with insect bites while those people around it are seemingly uncaring. These images suggest that evil is inherent in man.

Malick avoids the usual stereotypes. Although we see heroic acts (such as the taking of the machine gun nests by Capt. John Gaff's [John Cusack] team of volunteers), there are no recognizable heros. It is true that the characters are not sharply defined. When the violence comes it is against all of them i.e. all of US.

Are there then any relevant negative criticisms of the movie? I would say that it did not meander as some critics alleged (every scene has a purpose) but it was unnecessarily long. There is a certain irony in this. It is said that Malick edited over 100 hours of material first to 9 hours. Understandably the studio did not accept this. He then reduced it to 6 hours and then to 3. (This helps to explain the lightning appearances by John Travolta and George Clooney, I see no problem, however, with using big name stars in such short roles - Richard Attenborough did it in "A Bridge Too Far"). With so much cherished material available, I suspect that Malick fell into the trap of opting for the maximum length that the studio would allow when more artistically efficient editing would have reduced the film to 2* hours. The balance between the action and meditative passages would have worked better if certain scenes had been cut, such as Witt's passing a wounded soldier on the way back to his company after leaving the Melanesian village the second time and also the conversation that Witt and Welsh have towards the end of the film (Welsh appears a stranger to him, suggesting that he is simply a troublemaker). Even with the exclusion of these scenes Witt would still appear a humanist and Welsh a complex "every man".

Most people would agree that the film is visually stunning. As there has been very little even remotely similar in the past, it will be confusing for many people but I am convinced that this will come to be seen as a hugely important work - the most influential of the 1990s.


368 of 489 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Everyone left the theater... mrpink18
Captain Staros was a weak leader forwrdlif
Thin Red Line vs. Saving Private Ryan -- The Better Movie? aeternalis
US media revisionism Captain-Haggis
Is it wrong that I felt kind of sad during the Japanese camp raid scene? bradleyjim84
One of the most boring movies ever made. matthewcs25
Discuss The Thin Red Line (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?