Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 177 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Thin Red Line tells the story of a group of men, an Army Rifle company called C-for-Charlie, who change, suffer and ultimately make essential discoveries about themselves during the fierce World War II battle of Guadalcanal. (Fox)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. One of the most curious and perversely brilliant films ever made in the American studio system. It's a shining example of qualities we don't normally see in our big theatrical pictures: vast ambition, huge resources and technical genius mated to a unique and compelling vision of life.
  2. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Could be called the "Red Badge of Courage" of World War II movies.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    It's the awesome, metaphysically charged spectacle of man doing terrible things to man within the multicolored and multifarious cathedral of Nature.
  4. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    No movie in the last decade has succeeded in psyching out critics and audiences as fully as the powerful, rambling war epic The Thin Red Line.
  5. 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.
  6. 70
    What Malick has fashioned here is less a conventional narrative than an impressionistic mosaic of our common, yet varied experience of life and death, as focused and clarified through the relentless lens of war.
  7. But it is precisely with these contrapuntal strands of huge, timeless nature, of the complexity of every human mind, that Malick bloats his film into banality. [Jan. 25, 1999]

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 73
  2. Negative: 12 out of 73
  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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! Collapse
  4. 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. Expand
  5. Oct 25, 2011
    Along with the realistic portrayal of a battlefield and its fighting soldiers, Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" is a WW2 masterpiece that derives from other movies like "Saving Private Ryan". The film, surrounded by strange tranquility, demands us of why war is fought and how humanity will overcome adversities of their own agenda in a time of despair and blood. A effectively clandestine movie that definitely is worth to watch. Expand
  6. Aug 20, 2014
    The Thin Red Line is an interesting war film with some great 'nature as innocence' symbolism and photography. There are one or two nagging problems, though. One is the film is significantly overlong and has too many endings. Another is that the amount of famous actors that pop up in the movie actually distracts and detracts from the message. But great stuff non-the-less. Expand
  7. Jan 14, 2011
    Was like suffering through a 2 hour Calvin Klein commercial, Apocalypse Now style.
    My God what a heady bunch of crap!
    Should be called the
    "The Thin Pink Line", 'cuz this was a complete Metro waste of film. Expand

See all 73 User Reviews