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Encyclopedia > The Thin Blue Line (documentary)

The Thin Blue Line is a 1988 documentary film concerning the murder of a Texas police officer who had stopped a car for a routine traffic citation. The police are presented with two suspects, one a local underaged boy with a criminal record (David Ray Harris, a boy who returned to his hometown boasting that he had murdered a policeman) and the other a 28-year-old taciturn drifter with no criminal record whatsoever (Randall Dale Adams). The documentary presents testimony suggesting that the police altered, fabricated, and suppressed evidence to convict the man they wanted to be guilty, in spite of evidence to the contrary. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Documentary film is a broad category of cinematic expression united by the intent to remain factual or non-fictional. ... ... Randall Dale Adams (born in 1949) is an anti-death penalty activist. ...

The film was directed by Errol Morris (who had, incidentally, spent some years before the filming as a private investigator), scored by Philip Glass, and cost over $1 million to make. It was entered into evidence in the federal appeal but since it was marketed as a "nonfiction" film rather than a documentary, it was not entered into evidence in the case itself. For the same reason, the film was disqualified from the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Nonetheless, Adams was finally granted a retrial and released after eleven years in prison. (Shortly after his release, he sued Morris, claiming that Morris had gotten rich off the film — which proved to be untrue). Errol Morris (born February 5, 1948 in Hewlett, New York) is a Jewish-American Academy Award winning documentary film director. ... A private investigator, or PI, is a person who undertakes investigations. ... Philip Glass looks upon sheet music in a portrait taken by Annie Leibovitz. ... USD redirects here. ...

Harris had testified that he and Adams were together in a car and that Adams committed the murder. He later recanted this testimony; however, he never admitted guilt in a judicial setting and was never charged in the case. Harris was executed in 2004 for another murder which occurred during an attempted abduction in 1985.

The film's title comes from the prosecutor's comment to the trial judge that the police are the "thin blue line" separating society from anarchy. (The thin blue line is a common symbol to law enforcement: a blue line on a black background, with the black background standing for those who gave their lives in the line of duty protecting others and the blue line representing the brave who still serve the community.) Anarchy (New Latin anarchia, from Greek ανα–, no + αρχη, rule) is a term that has several usages. ...

In December 2001, the United States' National Film Preservation Foundation declared the film "culturally significant" and announced that it would be one of the 25 films selected that year for preservation in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, bringing the total at the time to 325. 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... The National Film Preservation Foundation is a non-profit group which is affiliated with the National Film Preservation Board but raises money from the private sector. ... The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ... Library of Congress, Jefferson building The Library of Congress is the unofficial national library of the United States. ...


  Results from FactBites:
The Thin Blue Line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (165 words)
The Thin Blue Line is a colloquial term for police and police forces.
The Thin Blue Line (TV series) is a British sitcom set in a police station in the imaginary town of Gasforth.
The Thin Blue Line (documentary) is a documentary film by Errol Morris concerning the murder of a Texas police officer who had stopped a car for a routine traffic citation in the line of duty.
Thin Blue Line DVD review (1586 words)
For Morris this was not the open and shut case the police were claiming it to be - indeed, their complete co-operation with the filmmaker was in no doubt partly due to their certainty that the only film that could really be made about the incident was one detailing Adams' obvious guilt.
The film unfolds like a detective story, and though it employs many of the familiar techniques of the documentary format, it applies them in ways that were strikingly different back in 1988 and, thanks to their under use since, still largely so today.
A remarkable cinematic achievement, as a rethink of the documentary form it still has few peers, and for Morris the filmmaker it was the work that most effectively shaped the techniques he has continued to employ to this day.
  More results at FactBites »



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