The Thin Red Line

TitleThe Thin Red Line
Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsMalick, Terrence
Running Time2h 50m
Date Released1998
Distributor20th Century Fox
CountryUnited States
Publication LanguageEnglish

Highly acclaimed and considered one of the best contemporary war films, The Thin Red Line is based on a 1962 novel by James Jones with the same title. The film, directed by  Terrence Malick, explores the horrors of war as well as  the beauty of nature during the Battle of Guadalcanal, a turning point for the Allies in the Pacific theater during World War II. U.S. Army Private Witt goes AWOL to live simply among indigenous people, but  is forced back into war. Extended fighting on Hill 210 leaves Witt's company depleted and dispersed. By focusing on disenchanted soldiers who either leave their unit, refuse unjust orders, or are motivated by ruthless careerism, the film offers a different perspective on American participation in the Second World War. The film stars Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, and Nick Nolte.



Sean Penn

Adrien Brody

Jim Caviezel

Ben Chaplin

George Clooney

John Cusack

Woody Harrelson

Elias Koteas

Nick Nolte

John C. Reilly

John Travolta


Directed by Terrence Malick

Produced by Robert Michael Geisler, Grant Hill, and John Roberdeau

Screenplay by Terrence Malick

Music by Hans Zimmer

Cinematography by John Toll

Edited by Billy Weber, Leslie Jones, and Saar Klein

Full Text

Based on The Thin Red Line by James Jones

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