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The Thin Red Line

7.62 h 50 min1999X-Ray15
Director Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.
Terrence Malick
Sean PennAdrien Brody
English [CC]
Audio Languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Twentieth Century Fox
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.4 out of 5 stars

1428 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Possibly Criterion's greatest restoration and for an equally great film. The movie eschews a lot of the usual Hollywood war film romanticism (see Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan) for a more gritty and realistic depiction of WW2. Based on a book whose author fought in the battles shown on screen and on set where some of the battles depicted actually occurred, using practical effects and appropriate costumes as well as warships, planes, etc., an ensemble cast and a director with a vision to use his characteristic style and background to use humanity's lowest point as a platform to explore the big philosophical questions about human nature, this is one of the best films ever made.
One person found this helpful
A HumeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 August 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A thoughtful war movie.
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Amazing to look at, listen to etc, its a masterpiece and far superior to Speilbergs feel good movie Saving Private Ryan imo although that movie has a great opening, if SPR is COD, this is Operation Flashpoint, Malicks direction is at its zenith here, i don't think hes ever made a better movie, great BR transfer as the DVD is pixilated, this upscales well to a 4k set and truthfully you wouldn't need a 4k upgrade as they have done a great job, Hans Zimmers OST is out of this world, the DTS soundtrack is blistering on a decent sound system.
Dean JayReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 August 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A beautiful movie... it travels beyond the subject of war.
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I have to give it top marks as it really is an amazing war movie and also one that has a humanitarian/spiritual conscience.
So i believe Its more than a just a war movie...
Why its taken me this long before watching/experiencing it, who knows?
I loved the depth of emotion it unlocked, the thoughts it provoked, the beautiful cinematography....
Though very long, i wanted it to continue!
It has really left its make on me.
Its up there with The Deer Hunter, Apocalypes Now etc
Keith MReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
This Great Evil - Where's It Come From?
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So questions Jim Cavaziel's Private Witt in Terence Malick's epic 1998 film, in the aftermath of his unit's attack on Japanese forces during the battle for the Pacific island of Guadalcanal during WW2. With The Thin Red Line, Malick had returned to film-making after a 20-year break and whilst, for me, his film is not an entirely successful venture, it has many compelling moments of 'sublime' beauty and horror, all overlaid with Malick's trademark poetic (and frequently philosophical) touch. Indeed, Witt's quote, in which he is actually questioning humanity's place (or perhaps, value) in the world - given war's savagery - follows one such sequence of cinematic brilliance, as the private's unit overrun the village, as Hans Zimmer's haunting theme builds in volume and John Toll's camera (which is visceral and dynamic throughout) help to provide a truly mesmerising few minutes.

Of course, Malick's decision to return with a 'war film' (albeit imbued with his unmistakeable sensorial touch) was always going to provide a challenge, given the plethora of great 'anti-war' films already on the books - Kubrick's Paths Of Glory and Full Metal Jacket and Coppola's Apocalypse Now to name but three. And the man certainly gives it a good go - his 165-minute work being essentially one of three sections, topped and tailed by some reflective passages, which sandwich the film's hour-long centre-piece as, under the command of Nick Nolte's outstanding turn as the reckless, glory-seeking Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Tall, C-company attempt to 'take' a fortified Japanese hill-top bunker. Of course, this sort of thing has been done many times before in cinema, but Malick (and crew) deliver a brilliantly visceral and exciting sequence, during which (acting-wise) Elias Koteas shines as the concerned, self-doubting Captain James Staros, whose reluctance to undertake what he regards a 'impossible mission' puts him at odds with his superior.

Outside of the film's centre-piece Malick gives us a beautifully ironic opening as Jim Caviezel's (also excellent) AWOL Private Robert Witt is returned (forcibly) to his unit from his idyllic Melanesian island existence and sets the scene - of largely confusion and futility - for what is to follow by repeated (and probably overdone) voiceovers. His opening also sets up one of the film's key messages around the negative effects of war as, following the conflict (having come full circle), a young 'native' is reluctant to meet Witt's offered handshake. Similarly, Malick repeatedly contrasts the film's 'humanity' with the (external) forces of nature as (again, coming full circle) a crocodile is eventually `strapped up' - as well as including shots of butterflies, toucans, chickens, owls, bats, monkeys, etc.

In addition to Messrs. Koteas, Nolte and Caviezel (for me, the film's outstanding performances), the film also boasts Ben Chaplin, Sean Penn, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Adrien Brody and George Clooney in its (probably unnecessarily) star-studded cast, between them delivering fine turns (Chaplin, Penn) to mere cameos (Clooney). I found that the film was certainly overlong (by at least half an hour), but, at its best, was brilliant (poetic, poignant and, of course, tragic). Malick also delivers a poignant ending (albeit its tragic element is fairly predictable).
9 people found this helpful
Da Vazquez PaluchReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 March 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the greatest war films ever
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I still remember when I saw this film in the cinema. Me and my boys came out and we were just silent and thinking, because that's what the film makes you do: think.

Although it's a war film with plenty of action scenes, it's more than just an action film. And even though Saving Private Ryan won all the plaudits, Spielberg is Britney Spears compared to Terrence Malik's John Coltrane. After all, Terrence Malick was a philosophy lecturer whereas Spielberg's greatest achievement is entertainment movies like ET and Indiana Jones.

The Thin Red Line brings out the strengths of Malick. War, risk of dying, forces you to ask big questions: How do I look at the world? Who do I really trust? Who do I really love? How do my personal ethics affect the reality I'm living? Each question has multiple answers. The film kind of revolves around the reflective Witt (Caviezel) who can see beauty everywhere and quietly tries to live according to his ethical code in the midst of the war. But in reality the film is not about Witt, but about attitudes to life and ways of living in the world, represented by different characters.

The cast looks like an A-Z of great Hollywood talent: Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, John Cusack, Adrien Brody, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta and George Clooney. But it's Jim Caviezel as the aforementioned Witt, Elias Koteas as the Greek Captain who quotes Homer, and Ben Chaplin as the hopeless romantic who are the stars of the tim.

Seriously, an amazing film. Worth watching and enjoying. And the soundtrack is pretty amazing too.
10 people found this helpful
Oyeleke OkikiReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 August 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
It was really bad.
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They made the characters tedious to follow.
Endtranged wife, living in jungle, fighting, reprisal attacks?
Half was soliloquy, the other half was pointless.

Feels like several parts of several movies with the same cast juxtaposed into one movie.

I came in with high hopes as I liked the OST.
I’m giving it 1 star because of the OST, else it’s a zero.
Sean Penn did well in this though. Other actors? Not so much.
FilmFan95Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 January 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stunning transfer of this excellent film
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It was my first time watching this film and it didn't disappoint. I was a fan of another of Terence Malick's movies (Badlands) so decided to give this a watch. The film is brilliant and the transfer by Criterion is stunning. The score for this film is also superb.
L. ClarksonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 April 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing film about war in the South seas.
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What I love about the film is the juxtoposition of the beauty of the world the horros of war are taking place in.
The film is about the human spirit. It is a beautifully shot film. A thinking persons war film.
You see courage, fear and sheer stupidity all here. Mercy and acceptance and forgiveness are also here - which is unusal for a war film.

It's different. It's beautiful. I watched it recently after I was first captivated by it in the cinema when it came out. I still found it to be a great piece of cinema.
One person found this helpful
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