Music from The Thin Blue Line
Music by Philip Glass
For the film by Errol Morris
Michael Riesman, conductor


Orange Mountain Music OMM0007


1. Adam’s Theme 4:45
2. Thin Blue Line 4:40
3. Help Me 2:33
4. Houston Skyline 4:45
5. Looking 3:00
6. Boston Blackie 2:38
7. Comets and Vegas 1:28
8. Deception 1:25
9. The Whole Truth 1:39
10. Remembering 1:53
11. Adam’s Nightmare 2:05
12. Miller’s Theme 4:32
13. Hypnotic Time 1:25
14. Harris’ Story 1:16
15. Randall 2:20
16. Strange and Abstract 2:20
17. Lies 2:04
18. Strange Welcome 2:16
19. Emily 4:18


In a dark night in 1976, a Dallas police officer named Robert Wood was shot and murdered by someone in a car that he had stopped for a minor traffic infraction. A young man named Randall Adams who had no criminal record was convicted of the murder. He was serving his 11th year of a life sentence when Errol Morris, one of America’s most brilliant and innovative documentary filmmakers, interviewed him while researching a film on a Dallas psychiatrist nicknamed “Doctor Death”.

The Adams case began to obsess the filmmaker and the result is the film, The Thin Blue Line that has been called “the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder”. The film is credited with overturning the conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of officer Wood. Morris interviewed many of the key individuals in the case, including Adams, who seemed defeated and resigned about his fate, and the chief witness against him, David Harris, who had been sentenced to death for another murder, and who essentially confesses to the murder of Wood in the suspenseful last moments of the film. Morris’ film is not a typical investigative journalism piece, though the style of the film has been widely imitated by television. He obsessively uses staged recreations of the murder, close-ups of physical evidence, interviews of all the players, newspaper headlines, footage of dark city streets, etc. to create a swirling, repetitive trance that is masterfully supported by Philip Glass’ haunting and frightening score.

Philip Glass remembers that director Errol Morris was a musician, a Julliard trained cellist and he often took the sheet music home with him to study and play on the piano. Glass says of the experience: “Errol could make musical comments because of his training and he had very specific music in mind that he wanted for each character, though he couldn’t hum it to me. As a result there were many rewrites. He had a very intuitive way of working. He didn’t have any plan; he just knew it was right when he saw it. He has a very accurate idea of music and can talk about music but his way of working is very subjective. The way music matches to the image is totally intuitive and there is no way to describe that … so he will wait you out until he gets what he wants.”

In 1989 Nonesuch records released the The Thin Blue Line soundtrack record that interestingly included much of the voice-over and interviews from the film. With the exception of one track the music was mixed very low and “behind” the voices. In continuing with our mission to bring you prime material from the Philip Glass archive of recordings, we decided to release the original score without the voice-over along with the extra material that was written and recorded for the film but was never used. We returned to the original master tapes and have remixed the cues to better suit home stereo playback and to take advantage of the latest digital recording technology.

— Don Christensen
March 2003


Original music composed by Philip Glass. Original music produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conductor: Michael Riesman.

Trumpet: Wilmer Wise, Steve Burns. French horn: Sharon Moe, Tony Miranda, Ron Sell. Flute: Michael Parloff, Judith Mendenhall. Violin: Sergiu Schwartz, Tim Baker. Viola: Karl Bargen. Cello: Chris Finkel. Double bass: Barbara Wilson. Keyboards: Michael Riesman. Percussion: Gordon Gottleib. Guitar: Brian Koonin.

Music from The Thin Blue Line CD
Produced by Don Christensen. Mixed by Michael Riesman. Engineer: Hector Castillo Produced at The Looking Glass Studios. With Special Thanks to Kara Bilof. Executive Producers: Kurt Munkacsi and Philip Glass. Photographs: Mark Lipson. Design: Lissi Sigillo.

The Thin Blue Line Film
Director: Errol Morris. Producer: Mark Lipson. Associate Producer: Brad Fuller. Executive Producer: Lindsay Law. Original Music: Philip Glass. A Miramax Films Release.

Philip Glass’s music is published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc./ASCAP

A Euphorbia Production for Orange Mountain Music, 632 Broadway, Suite 902, New York, NY 10012.

℗ and © Orange Mountain Music.



The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line on Nonesuch

The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris