Terrence Malick


Terrence Frederick Malick (born November 30, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He began his career as part of the New Hollywood film-making wave with the films Badlands (1973), with Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, and Ramon Bieri; about a murderous couple on the run in 1950s American Midwest, and Days of Heaven (1978), with Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, and Linda Manz; which detailed the love-triangle between two labourers and a wealthy farmer during the First World War, before a lengthy hiatus.

His return to directing after twenty years with The Thin Red Line (1998), with Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Ben Chaplin, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Jared Leto, John C. Reilly, and John Travolta; was awarded the Golden Bear at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival, followed by The New World (2005), with Colin Farrell, Q’orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, David Thewlis and Yorick van Wageningen; and The Tree of Life (2011), with Brad Pitt, Penn, Jessica Chastain, and Tye Sheridan; which received the Palme d’Or at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.

His other films include To the Wonder (2012), with Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem; Knights of Cups (2015), with Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, Nick Offerman, and Clifton Collins Jr.; Song to Song (2017), with Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Portman, and Blanchett; and A Hidden Life (2019), with August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist, and Bruno Ganz.

Malick’s films have explored themes such as transcendence, nature, and conflicts between reason and instinct. They are typically marked by broad philosophical and spiritual overtones, as well as the use of meditative voice-overs from individual characters. The stylistic elements of the director’s work have inspired divided opinions among film scholars and audiences; some praised his films for their cinematography and aesthetics, while others found them lacking in plot and character development. His first five films have nonetheless ranked highly in retrospective decade-end and all-time polls.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)


  • Lanton Mills (1969) – short
  • Badlands (1973)
  • Days of Heaven (1978)
  • The Thin Red Line (1998)
  • The New World (2005)
  • The Tree of Life (2011)
  • To the Wonder (2012)
  • Knight of Cups (2015)
  • Voyage of Time (2016) – documentary
  • Song to Song (2017)
  • A Hidden Life (2019)
  • The Way of the Wind (TBA)

Other Credits

  • Drive He Said (1971) – directed by Jack Nicholson – uncredited co-writer
  • Dirty Harry (1971) – directed by Don Siegel – uncredited early draft
  • Deadhead Miles (1972) – directed by Vernon Zimmerman – writer
  • Pocket Money (1972) – directed by Stuart Rosenberg – writer
  • The Gravy Train (1974) – directed by Jack Starrett – co-writer (as David Whitney) – aka The Dion Brothers
  • Endurance (1998) – directed by Leslie Woodhead & Bud Greenspan – executive producer
  • The Endurance (2000) – directed by George Butler – executive producer
  • Happy Times (2000) – directed by Zhang Yimou – executive producer
  • Bear’s Kiss (2002) – directed by Sergei Bodrov – uncredited co-writer
  • The Beautiful Country (2004) – directed by Hans Petter Moland – co-story (as Lingard Jervey), producer
  • Undertow (2004) – directed by David Gordon Green – story (as Lingard Jervey), co-producer
  • Amazing Grace (2006) – directed by Michael Apted – producer
  • The Unforeseen (2007) – directed by Laura Dunn – documentary – executive producer
  • Red Wing (2013) – directed by Will Wallace – executive producer
  • The Better Angels (2014) – directed by A.J. Edwards – producer
  • Almost Holy (2015) – directed by Steve Hoover – documentary – executive producer
  • Look and Sea: A Portrait of Wendell Berry (2016) – directed by Laura Dunn & Jef Sewell – executive producer
  • The Vessel (2016) – directed by Julio Quintana – executive producer
  • The Spearhead Effect (2017) – directed by Brandon Moore & Caleb Smith
  • Awaken (2018) – directed by Tom Löwe – producer
  • Soldier (2018) – directed by Myrton Running Wolf – short – executive producer
  • Everybody’s Everything (2019) – directed by Sebastian Jones & Ramez Silyan – documentary – executive producer
  • The Book of Vision (2020) – directed by Carlo S. Hintermann – executive producer