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The Thin Red Line (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 128,302 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 1,440 user | 151 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Thin Red Line (1998)

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Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Marty Bell
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Storyline

In World War II, the outcome of the battle of Guadalcanal will strongly influence the Japanese advance into the Pacific theater. A group of young soldiers is brought in as a relief for the battle-weary Marines. The exhausting fight for a strategically-positioned airfield that allows control over a 1000-mile radius puts the men of the Army rifle company C-for-Charlie through hell. The horrors of war form the soldiers into a tight-knit group; their emotions develop into bonds of love and even family. The reasons for this war get further away as the world for the men gets smaller and smaller until their fighting is for mere survival and the life of the other men with them. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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:

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

Gross:

$36,385,763 (USA) (7 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Bob Thornton recorded a narration for the three-hour-plus epic under the supervision of director Terrence Malick. However, the final print of the film has voice-overs by eight of the main characters in the film; none of the narration from Thornton is in the final print. In addition, several other stars who filmed scenes were left on the cutting-room floor, including Bill Pullman, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Sheen, and Mickey Rourke. See more »

Goofs

The length of Welsh's hair on the boat as the alarm sounds and then later the next day. 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?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Sansho the Bailiff (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Annum per Annum
Composed by Arvo Pärt
Organ performed by Andrew Lucas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Superb, emotive filmmaking

I'm very sorry I didn't get to see this film in the theatre. It is a beautifully filmed masterpiece with a superb story, excellent acting (esp. Nick Nolte), and a great script. It takes things way deeper than Saving Private Ryan or most other modern war movies dare to go. Very introspective and dreamy at times, with the camera constantly dwelling on faces, animals, and the landscape. Merrick is never in a hurry, and this pace suits the film well.

The Thin Red Line asks a lot of good questions about death, war, and the ultimate meaning of life. Now that I have seen it, I'm very surprised that this film did not win picture of the year. Spielberg's film was a gritty, realistic portrayal of war. But it was also highly commercial and had a very contrived plot. In comparison, this film sort of wanders through itself and in the process helps to put you in the boots of the soldiers it portrays.

My only criticism is perhaps the film was a bit long, but I never noticed that the second time through. I can't praise this film enough. Excellent work.


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