The Thin Blue Line

Thematic Crime and Punishment Curated by Joe Berlinger

In this classic film, Errol Morris carefully and inventively sifts through the evidence in a case against a young man who, in 1976, is convicted for murder and sentenced to death. When Randall Dale Adams’s car runs out of gas in Dallas, Texas, he is picked up by teenager David Ray Harris, and the two men end up spending the day and evening together. Late that night, the car is pulled over by police in a routine stop, and as one of the officers approaches the driver’s side of the vehicle, he is shot multiple times and killed. When the investigation leads back to Harris, he claims Adams fired the gun. Morris’s interviews with Adams and Harris, as well as with lawyers, detectives, and witnesses, reveal very different perspectives on the events, while reenactments demonstrate the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the separate accounts. The film, innovative in its visual style and elevated by an original score by Philip Glass, is a searing indictment of a systemic failure to seek and find the truth.  ST


Errol Morris


Mark Lipson


Paul Barnes


Robert Chappell, Stefan Czapsky

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

103 minutes