1,448 user 155 critic

The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | | Drama, War | 15 January 1999 (USA)
2:47 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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



(novel), (screenplay)
1,738 ( 198)
Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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 teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates
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
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
To the Wonder (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 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
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jude Law, Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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
Platoon (1986)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
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 7.7/10 X  

123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
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
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means


Cast overview, first billed only:
Pfc - Beade


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


Every man fights his own war.


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La delgada línea roja  »

Box Office


$52,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$223,548 (USA) (25 December 1998)


$36,385,763 (USA) (7 May 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall and Tom Cruise were sent scripts for the film. See more »


There is a modern, fiberglass and foam surfboard on the beach. See more »


[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 »


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


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

A haunting exploration of the meanings of life, death and war through the eyes of a group of disenchanted soldiers
2 November 2001 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is one of the most beautifully crafted and haunting films that I have ever seen. Not only is the amazing ensemble cast give truly beautiful, effective performances, but the direction and cinematography combines to create a magnificent visual and mental feast.

This story about the Guadalcanal campaign during WW2, based on the James Jones novel, weaves the lives of many characters together seemlessly, creating a philosophical/emotional experience of war. It's not just about war. It's about love, faith in yourself and others, friendship, humanity, morality and also works as a startling indictment of man's conflict with nature. The amazing opening sequence, sets up a tranquility as the character Witt, finds peace on a secluded island among the natives, a peace which is shattered by the war.

What follows is not a mindless battle-after-battle onslaught of pyrotechnics, smoke, dust and blood, but a thought-provoking, visually and verbally poetic analysis of war and humanity. In my opinion it is the greatest war film since Apocalypse now, which I believe bears more flaws than this. It's not an Us-and-Them war story about the glory of the USA defeating the evil Japs. It sticks close with the characters, as we hear the thoughts, their hopes, their fears, leading to a moving experience.

This film was released a few months after Saving Private Ryan and unfortunately did not experience the same attention that the latter film did. Ryan was an excellent film, but to offer a comparison, The Thin Red LIne treads where Ryan didn't dare. Ryan sat in the safe territory of Good vs Evil with a bit of Futility of War and a lot of American Patriotism. It seemed to be more about America at some points than about war. The Thin Red Line is about war, the people involved and the destruction it creates for the mind, the soul and for nature. It does not deviate from this to make simple contrasts and offer easy binary oppositions.

In fact, TTRL is not an easy film. Gasp, it even tries to make you think. Though the title is not really explained in the film, I believe it is implied, and could have many meanings - the line between sanity and insanity, morality and immorality, love and hate, companionship and loneliness, nature and man, war and peace. While the characters share their thoughts, deeply poetic as they are, the meaning is not thrown in your face and neither is the answer to the questions raised. In this way it is the most thought-provoking war film I've ever seen and one of the best films of all time in my book. Top ten easily.

Now to my whinge. I think TTRL was shunned unmercifully at the 1999 Oscars. Shakespeare in Love beat two brilliant films - TTRL and Elizabeth - to get that oscar, and don't get me started on Gwyneth's award. This is the best film of 1998/9, in line with Elizabeth. It's unfortunate that the two, thoug h greatly revered, did not achieve the success and attention they deserved.

Don't be afraid by its length, it's a beautiful journey, full of rich colour, sound and the reward is a deeply moving human experience, unlike any other that the past decade has offered.

181 of 222 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
One of the worst war movies of all time. Orava89
Can someone help me understand why someone would hate this movie? DArKnight108
the baby bird. a question. AudgePaudge
Everyone left the theater... mrpink18
Thin Red Line vs. Saving Private Ryan -- The Better Movie? aeternalis
Captain Staros was a weak leader forwrdlif
Discuss The Thin Red Line (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: