8.0/10
19,920
68 user 55 critic

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Crime, Drama | 25 August 1988 (USA)
Trailer
2:40 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

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

Director:

Errol Morris

Writer:

Errol Morris
12 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
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
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary on the eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Albert Bitterling, Roscoe Collins, George Harris
Tabloid (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams
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 | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis
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 | Crime
    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 | 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 | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses his career in Washington D.C. from his days as a congressman in the early 1960s to planning the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Donald Rumsfeld, Errol Morris
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
Edit

Cast

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

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

På en skör tråd See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, USA

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,209,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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

Melvyn Carson Bruder: Prosecutors in Dallas have said for years - any prosecutor can convict a guilty man. It takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Spoofed in Documentary Now!: The Eye Doesn't Lie (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Metamorphosis
Written by Philip Glass
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A film that can really, really make you angry
16 July 2001 | by zetesSee all my reviews

The Thin Blue line shows how wrong our legal system is here in the US. Trials are run not as a celebration of justice but as a purveyor of revenge. Prosecuting attorneys are not men who believe in doing what's right, but what will most successfully add to their reputation. A psychologist testifies against over 99% of those criminals he interviews so that they will get the death penalty. The police choose to believe a juvenile delinquent's testimony against a man who has never done anything majorly illegal in his life just because they cannot send a 16 year old to the chair, and they cannot fail to execute someone over the death of a police officer. Every single police officer and witness who had anything to do with the trial was discreditable, yet no discrediting evidence was ever allowed in the court. You may have guessed that this all takes place in Texas.

Even with the power it carries, The Thin Blue Line has some structural problems. I wish that we had been given some more information on Randall Adams (although maybe there just wasn't too much to say). And I wish that we would have been able to hear the "thin blue line" closing argument of the prosecuting attorney, a speech that made the judge's eyes water. If you like this film, search out Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills, a documentary obviously inspired by this. That one is a little more convincing and powerful than The Thin Blue Line (although this one apparently helped to get Adams off the hook; of course, with the amount of evidence that the film amassed, it is difficult to let the man rot without one more chance).


10 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 68 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed