Philadelphia, 1976. The city of Brotherly Love is waging a successful war against crime led by its tough-talking mayor, Frank Rizzo (Paul Sorvino). But a maverick investigative reporter, Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow), has ... more »heard some troubling rumors: stories of innocent people victimized by a "goon squad" of law enforcement officers. With his reluctant partner, Phil Chadway (Randy Quaid), and a beautiful colleague (Cynthia Preston), Neumann follows a twisting, turning trail of leads pointing to a cache of records documenting hundreds of brutality cases. When Neumann begins to receive death threats, he realizes he is perilously close to uncovering a corruption scandal - one that reaches all the way to the mayor's office. With his time running out, Neumann risks everything to learn the truth - and break a shocking story that will reverberate through the nation.« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 9/21/2015...
Some may find it difficult to imagine such corruption in a police department but this is based on a true story! Big city or small town can have rotten apples that sour the entire department's reputation and this is an example with excellent acting from Rob Morrow as well as Randy Quaid and Paul Sorvino. Well worth watching!
Darlene W. from LAKEWOOD, CO Reviewed on 11/11/2012...
I was really pleasantly surprised at how good this film was I really enjoyed it!!!! Rob Morrow was really good. I enjoyed the storyline and the mystery. Would recommend this show!!!!
Great Newspaper Thriller!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like fast-paced thrillers that rely more on brains than brawn, this one's for you. Based on the true story of a pair of newspaper reporters in Philadelphia during the Bicentennial, it is in the vein of great films like Watergate. Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow) arrives in town to find prisoners routinely showing up in court with all sorts of painful bruises. When he questions why, he's told it's "jailhouse lawyering", where prisoners get together and beat each other prior to their appearances in court then claim police brutality, just to get their arrests thrown out. The problem is, from what Jonathan sees, none of the arrests are being thrown out. So he begins to suspect it is something more. In the end, he goes up against the most powerful man in Philadelphia, the former police chief and now Mayor, Frank Rizzo. It is a really exciting and thought-provoking film, with great camerawork,lightning and directing."
Enjoyable enough straight-to-video journalism tale
Samuel McKewon | Lincoln, NE | 03/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Frank Rizzo made a stamp as Phildelphia mayor in the 1970s; he cleaned the streets of crime in a way Rudy G. could have only dreamed in New York. But how he did it -- well, people whispered, and police carried big sticks. Not unlike the LAPD of the mid-90s, the force spiraled out of control, feasting on violence and hubris, removing lines so it didn't have any to cross. The Phildelphia Examiner exposed the brutality, won a Pulitzer Prize, and stopped Rizzo's runaway train before he could change the city charter and run for a third term. "The Thin Blue Lie," a painful title, revisits the time and chronicles the reporters (Rob Morrow and Randy Quaid)who busted the story. The camerawork is a little cheap and the soundtrack is little too omnipresent, but the movie's a quick, dirty, 90-minute pleasure for a lazy day.Morrow is a go-getter and new in town. Quaid is the good-natured newsman who wants to get his two stories a day and go home. As usual, the go-getter reveals the good natured sort as a victim of blind apathy, and the two combine forces, so to speak, to ferret out brutalized victims, as well as a [tough] cop who likes to go to work on suspects with a pair of handcuffs. There's even a lifesized white rabbit involved.Morrow has the arrogant...schtick down cold. And Quaid broadens his range. Paul Sorvino has a cup of coffee as the tantrum-throwing Rizzo. Aside from G.W. "Proctor!!!" Bailey -- longtime "Police Academy" villain -- the supporting clan are actors I don't know, but have sufficiently big 1970s hair.I like newspaper movies, usually because they're based on true stories -- aside from the ludicrous "The Pelican Brief" -- and because they cover familiar-yet-enjoyable ethical questions. Morrow's character is confronted by other reporters who make it clear Rizzo's regime lets them safely walk the streets at night. Morrow hasn't been around long enough to know the difference. In that detail, you sense how complacent a newsforce can become in the wake of a powerful leader, and how a fresh pair of eyes can see the injustices others have let fall through the cracks."
I had to watch this for understanding
Daniel Hayes | Clermont, FL. | 07/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up in a police officer's home in Philadelphia during the 1970's. My father I'm sure while he didn't condone this felt that once a criminal always a criminal was the rule of thumb, so even if the people were innocent of one crime they were always a criminal because of any prior offenses. I am always grateful to Mayor Rizzo because he helped my older brother get into a private housing place in Berwyn because he was autistic, and the special school in Philadelphia closed down.I certainly don't condone using psychological torture, or bluffing criminals into a confession. To quote Mayor Rizzo in this movie:"Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures." I feel that this certain time in history seems to be where the values of the country were certainly coming undone, and laws were being created to favor criminals over the law, but like us the cops are certainly under the same umbrella, and including Mayor Rizzo, and that's the only thing that a man/woman have that they can really call their own is their values, and when they're sold out there's nothing left. I can now certainly see why Rizzo didn't win the mayoral race in 1987, but the mayor in 1987 didn't deserve to win either as he pulled a Rizzo out of the hat by attempting to round up a bunch of criminals called the MOVE family he dropped a bomb on the bunker of the house, and caused a whole row of homes to go up in flames, and therefore a bunch of innocent people would suffer, and yet the mayor was overwhelmingly voted again for a second term. Well it seems as though the citizens of Philadelphia had a vision of seeing a black man who was the mayor in 1987 succeed, but however, zealous Mayor Rizzo had a vision too, and that was a city that was with low crime, and unfortunately, both visions were made reality through costs, and values were disposable with the intent that they could easily be picked up again, and cleaned off, but once sold out the values are meaningless because it's always going to be the dark stain, and it won't go away easily. As I said I had to watch this movie for understanding because I grew up with this, and even though my father didn't particpate in this it leaves a dark stain on all the honest police officers anyway. Overall it was a rather stark movie, but in some way I wish it was never told because it felt like an attack on my life because it was my father's paycheck that put me through school, and now it's made me question was it worth it? I ask because I certainly don't want people who get arrested to get hurt just to get a confession out of them even though they may be innocent. I feel that for a police officer that the only recourse is to think like a criminal to do his job, but not to necessarily become like one."
I'd watch it again
kraftykat | Madison, WI United States | 02/03/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered this movie only recently. I watch Rob Morrow in Numb3rs and was surprised to see how his character in Numb3rs has many of the characteristics as the character he played in The Thin Blue Line. Very good movie based on a true story."