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1,912 Ratings

The Thin Blue Line

Directed by Errol Morris
United States, 1988
Documentary, Crime, Mystery


The controversial true story of the arrest and conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976. Billed as “the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder,” the film is credited with overturning an unjust conviction.

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The Thin Blue Line Directed by Errol Morris
Here, Morris proves himself to be a careful, patient storyteller. He was never a lawyer, but he thinks like one. He lays out the facts of Adams’ case and allows Harris to figuratively hang himself. He also presents Adams as a likable character—Adams comes off as a film noir hero, in fact. If Morris flirts with elements of fiction here, he does so with great care.
April 08, 2015
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For those viewing this canonical film today, the challenge is to recognize the many levels on which it was a radically disruptive force that defied numerous assumptions about documentary as a mode of expression and ultimately reconfigured our understanding of what constitutes nonfiction audiovisual practices.
March 26, 2015
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Morris, like Jarecki, managed to record a near-confession (in this case, from the person who in all likelihood really committed the murder), which led to Adams being freed from prison a year after the film’s release. The effect that The Thin Blue Line would have on the doc world was almost as liberating. If you want to know how creative non-fiction exploded, this is where to start.
March 25, 2015
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