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Army Rifle company, C-for-Charlie, is a group of men who change, suffer and ultimately make essential discoveries about themselves during the fierce World War II battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The story takes place as Army troops are moved in to relieve battle-weary Marine units. It follows their journey, from the surprise of an unopposed landing, through the bloody and exhausting battles that follow, to the ultimate departure of those who survive. In between, the men lose friends, some lose wives back home, lose their innocence, and some even lose their mind…..Yet for some, the professional soldiers, this is their big chance. The story is more than a tale of men fighting a key battle, one which would ultimately stem the Japanese advance through the Pacific. It explores the intense bonds that develop between men under terrible stress, even evil. A story about humanity.

"Malick’s extraordinarly moving adaptation of the James Jones novel retains some of the internal dialogue of the characters, bringing their hearts, minds and even souls into close up view for us, making this film an aching search for meaning. We are confronted with the larger questions of life here, not unexpected in a serious war movie, but with such power that it somehow converts the film into something larger than itself, with the strength of lasting literature. While Malick stresses the absurdity of human nature, even while asking "where did this evil come from" and "where did this love come from", he does so by the juxtaposition of human nature with mother nature. The first 45 minutes of the film are devoid of fighting, establishing the situation and exploring a calm and peaceful society – the Solomon Islanders, whose terrain at Guadalcanal becomes the hateful battlefield. It’s as if he is immersing our senses in the idyllic possibilities of existence so that when it is torn asunder we can better understand its destructive obscenity. This is one reason why the film is nearly three hours long; Malick intends us to be immersed again in the terrifying ordeal on the field of battle. You can’t do what Malick wants to do in this film in a hurry. He is sensationally well served by his cast, every one of them, and with all his creatives from the camera to the score. There is much more that could be said about The Thin Red Line (and no doubt will be said) but for now, suffice to say: see it."
Andrew L. Urban

"The Thin Red Line is a war film with a difference, offering personal thoughts on life, death and immortality with indelible images of beauty and horror. Extraordinarily powerful, moving and at times quite shocking, Terrence Malick's masterpiece is an internal film, surprising perhaps when you think about the subject matter. A moody and reflective score complements the evocative cinematography, effective with its tight close ups; the deck of life is shuffled by images of like besides unlike. Exploring the growing seed of evil that separates men, Thin Red Line delves into the minds of men whose bond comes from being thrown together in this whirlpool of destruction. We watch the indecision, the anticipation, the fear. Malick canvasses how the men survive and what motivates them. Images of a beautiful wife, the simplicity and freedom of native children on a Pacific Island, the bitterness of having been passed by professionally – the thoughts are very personal and diverse. Disturbing battle scenes are juxtapositioned with scenes of a newborn chick hatching, a healthy leaf being eaten away. What happens to men as they experience self doubt thrown into hell, where their every decision is life impacting. Eyes are haunted by despair, horror, frustration and disbelief, when some men lose all respect for human life, shown in their animalistic behaviour. The Thin Red Line goes far beyond the physical atrocities of war; it is a deeply involving, intelligent and thought provoking work of art, which with its superb star-studded cast, is one of the most memorable war films of my recollection."
Louise Keller

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Read the background story on THE MAKING OF The Thin Red Line



CAST: Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, James Caviezel, Ben Chaplin, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas, Jared Leto, Dash Mihok, Bill Pullman, Will Wallace, Nick Nolte, John C. Reilly, John Savage, David Harrod, John Travolta, George Clooney, Paul Gleason, Arie Verveen, Don Harvey, Kirk Acevedo, Simon Billig, Mark Boone Junior

DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick

PRODUCER: Robert Michael Geisler, John Reberdeau, Grant Hill

SCRIPT: Terrence Malick


EDITOR: Billy Weber, Leslie Jones, Saar Klein

MUSIC: Hans Zimmer


RUNNING TIME: 171 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 18, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: October 6, 1999 (rental)

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