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Universal acclaim- based on 181 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 181

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  1. Nov 21, 2011
    I have seen all of Malick's films and have found them average and overated. However the thin red line stands alone. Malick captures human nature beautfully through war with intesnse and masterfully crafted war scenes. Malick's style has never worked so well in a film! One of the best movies of all time!
  2. Dec 16, 2012
    For me The Thin Red Line is one of the best war movies every created. It is a meditation on life, death, God, nature and humankind...a meditation on life. My favourite movie from Terrence Malick.
  3. Jul 13, 2011
    I saw someone earlier said "this and Apocalypse Now eliminate the need for anyone to ever make another war film." I couldn't agree more. Sean Penn's burned out performance is a must see. Don't compare it to Saving Private Ryan. Let the two exist in their own realms. Where Saving Private Ryan is a great war film, Thin Red Line is simply a great film.
  4. Nov 10, 2012
    Holy **** i just read the negative reviews for this. I know this film is not for everyone but the reasons they gave to not like it and the tone of their reviews were awful. They shouldn't review films if they don't understand them, that's my one gripe with sites like this, they give the average retarded "movie-viewer" a voice which they believe to be important. Like god damn, how could people who are so juvenile in their film viewing mind set have the balls to review a film? Sorry for no actual review here and being a moan but those reviews really annoyed me. Expand
  5. Mar 15, 2012
    If you want a superfluous fairy tale, spoon-fed sentimental narrative, watch Saving Private Ryan*. If you've got the balls to sit with silence in your head and can take a contemplative question or two, without fearing a lack of answers -- and want to see a film -- watch The Thin Red Line. Those who complain about not seeing the point, miss the point while demonstrating it.
    *Knocks go
    only to the writing/moralized plot of Private Ryan; the rest of it was well done, I liked it. Expand
  6. uuu
    Dec 27, 2012
    Being a combat marine this is the closest depiction of many diverse lives being thrown into the gauntlet of war and the reactions to same. the brave, the cowards, the religious etc. but more importantly thin red line is the ONLY film i have seen that even cracks the expanse of the human mind of combat personnel. What emotions we felt, what our minds gravitate too during times of immense stress and emotional pain and what we do to maintain some sort of relationship with sanity. Many films in my opinion have tried to accomplish what Malick has so eloquently scratched the surface of. No other film has threw me back into the grinder like thin red line...i cried for hours after......9.5/10 Expand
  7. May 2, 2014
    This film is cinema poetry and in my opinion, Terrence Malick's best film. Often overlooked, especially because it came out the same year as Saving Private Ryan, which, like nearly all Spielberg films, gives you all the answers and little to go home and think about. The Thin Red Line is infinitely superior and in terms of war films, is only second to Apocalypse Now.
  8. Nov 4, 2010
    There are movies like The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, and The Empire Strikes Back that are so good you donâ
  9. Dec 9, 2013
    Beautiful, surreal and thought provoking. The Thin Red Line is inarguably one of the finest war movies ever made and succeeds in answering some of the primal questions about the need for war and our conspicuous disconnection from nature.
  10. Dec 29, 2012
    A beautiful, haunting and epic war film. The Thin Red Line shows the battle of Guadalcanal as the sum of its parts, rather than the strict "good vs evil" depicted in other war films. A tremendous score and great cinematography add to the experience.
  11. Mar 2, 2013
    The Thin Red Line is singularly unique amongst war films. In some ways, I don't really consider it "about war" as much as I consider the film to be about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The question that shapes much of the film is stated by Pvt Witt at the beginning of the film when he reflects upon his mother's death and thinks, "I wondered what it would be like when I died. What it would be like to know, that this breath now, was the last one you was ever going to draw." The Thin Red Line defies many conventions, such as the typical convention for a film to have a single protagonist. The (thin red) lines delineating friend and enemy are cleverly blurred in many ways. Visually, by casting similair looking men in the three main American roles and casting distinct looking Japanese men as Japanese soldiers. In the voice-overs, Pvt Witt sees a continuum of life, rather than discrete beings ("What if all men got one big soul Another soldier wonders, "Who are you that lives in all this many forms?" Even the lack of a singular protagonist shows how identities are dependent upon each other.

    The Thin Red Line is not a typical war film. This film is not a celebration of how Americans used violence to defeat the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The scene that would be a triumphant climax in a typical American war film is emotionally climactic in Malick's The Then Red Line, but it is not a celebration. Rather, the raid on the Japanese bivouac and winning of the hill is upsetting.

    If you really pay attention to the voice-overs, then I think you have to come to a few conclusions. Some have criticized the film for being "heavy handed" and because the "director tells you what to think." I think these criticisms are far from the truth. If you actually pay attention to the film, you'll find that voice-overs contradict each other, or a voice-over contradicts what another character says or does at some point. The director is simply illustrating that different people have different, often contradictory, points of view. For example, while two soldiers get into a fist-fight, a voice over states that "war don't enoble men, it turns them into dogs, poisons the soul." However, anyone watching the film would clearly wonder whether Pvt Witt hadn't been enobled by the war. Would he really be such a wonderful person if he hadn't gone to war? Much of the film is ambiguous and contemplative. There are no easy answers. When Witt returns to the natives and finds them fighting, notices that they have disease and the skulls of other humans in their huts, the audience is left to wonder if it was Witt's contact with them that made them this way. Did contact with modern man corrupt these people? Or did Witt's contact with the violence of the war corrupt his idealization of these people? I prefer to think that Witt's earlier, idealized view of the natives is what changed, but there is no clear answer given in the film.

    Visually, The Thin Red Line is one of the most beautifully shot films I can ever imagine seeing. The soundtrack is fantastic. The sound effects are amazing. The action sequences are brilliantly done.

    Some have criticized the voice-overs as being "unrealistic," on the basis that combat soldiers don't have time to think such thoughts as expressed in the voice overs. I think these crticisms are misguided. The voice-overs used in the film are expressing the thoughts that soldiers in combat have to repress for pragmatic reasons, but these are the important thoughts. Sure, in combat, soldiers are probably more worried about not getting killed rather than pondering the nature of evil, but the film is about those important thoughts.

    One thing that strikes me about the film is how similar it is to the books, especially From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line. Both are excellent books and indeed some of the lines in the film are taken exactly from the books. The characters are very similar to those depicted in the books and I think the film captures the spirit of the books very well.

    I think people too often say about films that "you either love this film or hate it" but it largely seems to be true of The Thin Red Line. That being said, I dont believe that people rating it 1/10 genuinely believe it deserves to get a 1/10 rating. Rather, I believe they are being spiteful and want to bring the rating down to what they think is the "proper" rating. I, however, do genuinely believe this film deserves 10/10.
  12. Sep 20, 2013
    Probably the best war movie of all time. One war told through the words of many. Famous voice over scenes are probably some of the best scenes in movie history. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone. However what really makes this movie brilliant is its strong message. Brilliant!
  13. May 17, 2014
    "I like you captain, and I'd just want you to know that, we're in this thing together" growls Lt. Col. Gordon Tall early in what has to be one of the most innovative war films ever made, and that is truly how the audience feels, as if they are it with the characters. The perfect cinematography and directing create such immersion, that we really feel as though we are one of Charlie company, fighting alongside them. This practically first person view contributes to this being possibly the most visually stimulating war film ever made, and this allows the audience to really picture the horror of combat. When combined with fantastic performances from the likes of Nick Nolte, whose deranged persistence is a highlight of his career, the film is as thought provoking as the best of all war films, Apocalypse Now, and a comparison to that shows how brilliant a film Terrence Malick has created. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    Misshapen but magnificent vision of a soulful quest -- in the thick of misery and fear -- for the meaning of our lives.
  2. 75
    The movie's schizophrenia keeps it from greatness (this film has no firm idea of what it is about), but doesn't make it bad. It is, in fact, sort of fascinating: a film in the act of becoming, a field trial, an experiment in which a dreamy poet meditates on stark reality.
  3. 80
    An intensely internalized portrait of external pandemonium, a slippery, insidiously haunting work of poetry rather than brilliantly realized pulp.