The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line

Director: Errol Morris Cast: Randall Adams, David Harris, Dale Holt


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Not many filmmakers can claim to have freed a convicted murderer from jail, but Errol Morris accomplished that feat with his stunning documentary about Randall Dale Adams. Morris, whose brilliant previous features Vernon, Florida and Gates of Heaven had focused on less substantial subjects, learned of Adams' plight when the director was in Texas in preparation for a film about a psychiatrist who testified in murder trials. In November 1976, after his car broke down on a road outside Dallas, Adams had accepted a ride from a stranger, David Harris. Harris was driving a stolen car, and when Dallas police officer Robert Wood pulled the two men over to check on the vehicle, Harris shot and killed Wood. A jury believed that Adams was the killer, thanks to the perjured testimony of Harris and the misleading accounts of two witnesses. A story about Adams on 60 Minutes helped to bring public attention to the case, but it was Morris' film, which contained extensive interview material with both Adams and Harris as well as stylized reenactments of the crime, that clinched the case for Adams' innocence. He was set free on March 15, 1988. Although Morris' film made many critics' top ten lists, it was unaccountably not nominated for an Academy award, raising doubts about the credibility of the Motion Picture Academy's nominating process in this category.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/24/2015
UPC: 0715515141918
Original Release: 1988
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: A
Time: 1:42:00
Sales rank: 1,870

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Errol Morris and producer Mark Lipson, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack; New interview with Morris; New interview with Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing; NBC report from 1989 covering Randall Dale Adams's release from prison; PLUS: an essay by film scholar Charles Musser

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Randall Adams Participant
David Harris Participant
Dale Holt Participant
Jackie Johnson Participant
Gus Rose Participant
Marshall Touchton Participant

Technical Credits
Errol Morris Director,Screenwriter
Steve Aaron Sound/Sound Designer
Ted Bafaloukos Production Designer
Paul Barnes Editor
Ned Burgess Cinematographer
Phillipe Carr-Foster Cinematographer
Robert Chappell Cinematographer
Lester Cohen Art Director
Stefan Czapsky Cinematographer
Brad Fuller Associate Producer,Sound/Sound Designer
Philip Glass Score Composer
Lidsay Law Executive Producer
Mark Lipson Producer
Peter Sova Cinematographer

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The Thin Blue Line 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent and engrossing film, though it feels a little long. One error I must point out in the AMG synopsis: Adams was not in the car when the murder took place, he was home watching television. Earlier in the day, he had met Harris and been given a ride home. Later Harris fingered him when he was caught, to escape punishment.