8.0/10
18,699
67 user 61 critic

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Crime, Drama | 25 August 1988 (USA)
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 $4.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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 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 7.5/10 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
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 7.5/10 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 | 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An exploration of the careers of four unrelated professionals: a lion tamer, a robotics expert, a topiary gardener, and a naked mole rat specialist.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks
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 | 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
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 | 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
Raymundo (2003)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Biography of the award-winning Argentinian leftist filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer, who was kidnapped by the CIA-backed military junta in 1976 at the age of 35. Features extensive clips from his... See full summary »

Directors: Ernesto Ardito, Virna Molina
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  »

Filming Locations:


Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,209,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While marketing the film Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax Films,, declared, "Never has Miramax had a movie where a man's life hangs in the balance". See more »

Quotes

Sam Kittrell: In talking to David you don't ever feel hostile feelings coming from him. I have never seen David any way other than cordial, friendly to me as he could be, "Yes, sir," "No, sir," never disrespectful. So I've never seen the bad side. I've seen the results of it, and I've talked to him about it, and he's aware of the results of it - he remembers the bad side. But I've never seen him committing a crime or in a violent or volatile state.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Drawings from the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test © 1946, American Orthopsychiatric Association Inc. and Lauretta Bender, M.D. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of 1988 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Metamorphosis
Written by Philip Glass
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Subject matter vs. presentation
7 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

Having seen two other Errol Morris documentaries, I expected that there would be a Philip Glass soundtrack, some flashy camera work, and perhaps some reenactments during 'The Thin Blue Line'. I have long struggled with my opinions on Morris' work, mainly because I am more of a purist when it comes to documentaries. I want to see footage, photographs, interviews, etc. that are going to back up a strong story, not a lot of camera angles, stark white backgrounds, and a post-modernist score.

'The Thin Blue Line' had the latter presentation, so I immediately was slightly turned off – until the subject of the film was presented. The location is Dallas, and it is the 1970's. Late one night, a squad car pulls over a car that does not have its lights on, but as soon as the policeman reaches the driver's side door, he is shot several times and murdered. The car pulls away before the policeman's partner is able to ascertain the license plate number or even the exact make and model of the vehicle. What follows is a veritable witch hunt for the killer (or killers) that ends with one man in jail who is professing his innocence, and another man, a career criminal who gets away veritably scot-free. Through various interviews with the players involved; detectives, alleged eye-witnesses, the accused themselves, Morris seeks to find out the truth in a case that comes down to a 'he-said/he-said' situation.

'The Thin Blue Line' is expert film-making in the investigative sense. Morris does his job in presenting as many facts as possible. The case finally came to a head a couple of years after the film was finished, but it is documented as being instrumental in the reexamination of the facts. I still don't necessarily care for Morris' style, but it cannot be argued that 'The Thin Blue Line' is an excellent documentary, and that he definitely has an eye for picking very compelling subjects.

--Shelly


17 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 67 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial