The story is narrated by ten-year old Staszek, who writes in his diary about his school-friend Jozef. Jozef comes from a family of blacksmiths, all of whom bear the name Jozef. Since he is the sixth consecutive son to be called Jozef, he is nicknamed Szustek (meaning "sixth one").
Simon is a nine-year-old autistic boy who has cracked the government's new "unbreakable" code. This skill renders the new billion-dollar secret code vulnerable, especially if enemies of the United States should learn of Simon's abilities and capture him.
When teen-socialite Kelly Van Ryan (Richards) and troubled bad girl Suzie Toller (Campbell) accuse guidance counselor Sam Lombardo (Dillon) of rape, he's suspended by the school, rejected by the town, and fighting to get his life back.
Based on the graphic novel by James Jones, The Thin Red Line tells the story of a group of men, an Army Rifle company called C-for-Charlie, who change, suffer, and ultimately make essential discoveries about themselves during the fierce World War II battle of Guadalcanal.