7.6/10
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1,467 user 160 critic

The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | | Drama, War | 15 January 1999 (USA)
Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Popularity
1,268 ( 205)

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Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Marty Bell
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Storyline

U.S. Army Private Witt (AWOL) is found and imprisoned on a troop carrier by his company First Sergeant, Welsh.The men of C Company,1st Battalion,27th Infantry Regiment,25th Infantry Division have been brought to Guadalcanal as reinforcements in the campaign to secure Henderson Field and seize the island from the Japanese. They arrive near Hill 210, a key Japanese position. Their task is to capture the hill at all cost. What happens next is a story developing about redemption and the meaningless of war. Regardless the outcome. Written by Frank Liesenborgs

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 »

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La delgada línea roja  »

Box Office

Budget:

$52,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,362,226 (USA) (17 January 1999)

Gross:

$36,400,491 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Weeks before filming began, Terrence Malick told Robert Michael Geisler and John Roberdeau not to show up in Australia where the film was being made, ostensibly because George Stevens Jr. would be the on-location producer supporting line producer Grant Hill. Malick told them that they had upset the studio for refusing to give up above-the-title production credit to Stevens. He did not tell them, however, that in 1996 he had a clause inserted in his contract barring the producers from the set. Geisler and Roberdeau were mystified about this behavior; Geisler told Entertainment Weekly, "I didn't think he was capable of betrayal of this magnitude". See more »

Goofs

A soldier uses a toothbrush with "wear" stripes in the bristles, which were invented in the 1990s. 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?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Best of the '90s (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

In Paradisum
from "Requiem"
Composed by Gabriel Fauré
Performed by Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Conducted by Armin Jordan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A poem of a picture
19 April 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film is three hours of movie poetry. "Saving Private Ryan," though brilliantly made, is a jingoistic cartoon by comparison. "Thin Red Line" follows a company of American rifleman brought in to consolidate the Allied grip on the Pacific island of Guadalcanal in 1942 in the face of Japanese invasion, but the place could be just about anywhere where war is fought.

The company is not made up of conscripts but regular soldiers. Some of them have been in the Army more than 10 years. Some of them however have never seen real action before and this is a hot and uncomfortable location, despite the lovely tropical scenery. Some crack up, some die, some do heroic deeds. Their leaders are not particularly admirable; one is quite happy to get his men killed if he can come out of the action looking good.

Out of sight for most of the film are the Melanesian inhabitants, the Solomon Islanders, who are carrying on living as best they can while the war rages around them. Their serenity is in sharp contrast to the frenetic military activity. Of course, there is nowhere for them to go.

There is some action excitingly filmed but as in real wars much of the time is spent preparing and waiting. Personal stories unfold but at the end it is survival that matters.

The lighting and photography is quite superb, the lighting in particular fitting the mood perfectly. Filming was not actually on Guadalcanal but near Port Douglas in Northern Queensland where there is similar tropical rainforest and fauna but with much easier logistics. It took ages apparently but seems more than worth the effort.

This is probably one of the four or five greatest war films ever made, right up there with "All Quiet on the Western Front, " "Paths of Glory," "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Longest Day." Never has a movie better portrayed what it's like to be a frontline soldier.

Terrence Malick has the reputation of being an eccentric, difficult director

  • Kubrick without the fear of flying. Yet this is not a particularly
unconventional movie - it's just that everything hangs together - the story, dialogue, performances, photography and settings. On thing is clear - this is a better interpretation of James Jones' novel than the 1964 version.


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