The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
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
Terrence Malick and John Toll shot for 100 days in Australia using Panavision cameras and lenses, 24 days in the Solomon Islands and three days in the United States. They scouted the historic battlefields on Guadalcanal and shot footage, but health concerns over malaria limited filming to daylight hours only. Logistics were also difficult to shoot the entire film there: As Toll put it, "It's still a bit difficult to get on and off the island, and we had some scenes that involved 200 or 300 extras. We would have had to bring everybody to Guadalcanal, and financially it just didn't make sense". See more »
During one flash back to the AWOL island home, there are dolly tracks in the sand. See more »
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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Composer Wrangler. . . Moanike'ala Nakamoto See more »
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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