The Thin Red Line (1998)
The Thin Red Line is the 1998 World War II film directed by Terrence Malick and is the second movie adaptation of the James Jones novel, the first being a 1964 film of the same name. This film features a very accurate, almost complete arsenal of genuine WWII Japanese weapons, a stark contrast to the original film where not a single Japanese weapon was seen. The film is a fictional account of engagement by the U.S. Army to capture an entrenched Japanese position during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. The majority of the film was shot in Queensland, Australia, in the South Pacific, far more accurate to the location of the Solomon Islands than the original film's filming in Spain. One of the notable characters in the film is Cpt. Staros (Elias Koteas), an intelligent, sensitive Army captain who refuses to send his men to their certain death on a futile frontal assault on a fortified Japanese position, which puts him at odds with the ambitious Lt. Col. Tall (Nick Nolte). Other notable characters include the cynical and shrewd 1st. Sgt Welsh (Sean Penn), Pvt. Bell (Ben Chaplin) who is heavily devoted to his wife, and Pvt. Witt (Jim Caviezel), a deserter who hates the Army, but loves the men of Charlie Company enough to rejoin them during the battle. The film's title derives a quote from Jones's book which reads, "they discover the thin red line that divides the sane from the mad... and the living from the dead..." Despite its seven Academy Award nominations, this film is often overlooked due to its release in the same year as Steven Spielberg's World War II film Saving Private Ryan.
The following weapons were used in the film The Thin Red Line:
The M1 Garand is the primary rifle of Charlie Company in the film and is used by Pvt. Witt (Jim Caviezel), Pvt. Bell (Ben Chaplin), Pvt. Coombs (Matt Doran), Pfc. Beade (Nick Stahl), Pvt. Ash (Thomas Jane) and Pfc. Doll (Dash Mihok).
M1 Carbine rifles are anachronistically used by the sergeants and officers in the film including Sgt. Keck (Woody Harrelson), Sgt. McCron (John Savage), Cpt. Gaff (John Cusack), Cpt. Staros (Elias Koteas), and 2nd Lt. Whyte (Jared Leto). M1 Carbines were issued only after the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk. III*
A native scout is briefly seen with a British Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III* rifle during the landing on Guadalcanal. Another scout carries an SMLE in a deleted scene.
Two Browning M2HB machine guns can be seen mounted onboard the Victory Class transport ship.
Cpl. Queen (David Harrod) keeps a Browning Automatic Rifle M1918A2 slung over his back, which he carries along with his Winchester 1897. Pvt. Sico (Robert Roy Hofmo) also carries one before he fakes sickness to avoid combat.
Pfc. Doll (Dash Mihok) steals an M1911A1 hanging from a bunk in the ship carrying Charlie Company to the island. He notably uses it when he charges a Japanese machine gun emplacement and fires it at them. Basically, every other U.S. soldier also has an M1911A1 as their sidearm, although only a few soldiers such as Captain Gaff (John Cusack) are seen using them.
One U.S. soldier is seen holding an M1A1 Flamethrower after Hill 262 is captured. He later uses it to torch the camp.
Mk. II Hand Grenade
Several U.S. soldiers are seen using yellow MK II Hand Grenades. Before having the more appropriate olive-drab color, Mk. II grenades used on Guadalcanal were painted bright yellow to show they were high-explosive. At one point we see Sgt. Keck (Woody Harrelson) straightens the folds on the pin of his grenade, which proves to be a fatal mistake on his behalf when the pin pulls too easily while still attached to his belt.
Oerlikon 20 mm Cannon
Bofors 40 mm
U.S. soldiers fire M101A1 Howitzers during the attack on Hill 210.
Arisaka Type 38
Arisaka Type 99
Some Japanese soldiers are seen using Arisaka Type 99 rifles with monopods.
Nambu Type 96
The Nambu Type 96 Light Machine Gun is used by Japanese soldiers
Nambu Type 99
Japanese soldiers are also seen using Nambu Type 99 Light Machine Guns in the film.
Nambu Type 3
Japanese soldiers are seen using Nambu Type 3 Heavy Machine Guns in the film.
Nambu Type 14
The issued sidearm of the Japanese Imperial Army is the Nambu Type 14 Pistol. One soldier is seen using it to commit suicide when refusing capture after Hill 262 is taken. Later in the film, we see Pfc. Doll (Dash Mihok) showing off a Nambu pistol to fellow soldiers in a personnel transport truck, likely taken off a dead Japanese soldier on the Hill.
Type 97 Hand Grenade
Some Japanese soldiers can briefly be seen using Type 97 Hand Grenades.
Type 98 20 mm AA/AT Gun
A Type 98 20mm cannon is seen in the Japanese camp during the assault on Hill 262.
Type 97 81 mm Infantry Mortar
The Type 97 Mortar is seen on Hill 262.
Type 38 75 mm Field Gun
A Type 38 75 mm field gun is also seen on Hill 262.