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An announcement that the venerable Bunker Hill Military Academy, a 141 year old institute, is to be torn down and replaced with condos sets off the young cadets led by their stodgy commander. Under the command of a student cadet major, the cadets seize the campus, refuse entry of the construction crews and ultimately confront the real military.Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Prior to principal photography, actors playing the military cadet leads underwent four weeks of military training at the Valley Forge Military Academy and College where the film was shot. The dozen playing the Red Beret guard of honor had to learn a very tricky rifle drill which involved throwing rifles to each other and back like juggling pins. See more »
When Ronnie Cox's character is shot by Capt. Shaun, he appears to be hit in the left side of his neck. Later he is holding is left shoulder. When he is phoning in for the copters to lay down the smoke, a soldier is shown applying a bandage to his right arm. By the very end, there is no sign of any gunshot injury or bandage. See more »
General Harlan Bache:
I know men younger than myself who have taken a pension, put on stupid little white shirts... cut off sleeves, alligator on the tit... and spent the rest of their days beating the hell out of a little white ball with an iron club. My God... the thought of it makes me want to puke.
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Taps is about the cadets of Bunker Hill Military Academy and their commanding officer, George C. Scott, and their reaction to the news of the closing of the Academy.
Scott announces at the graduation that the next year will be the final year of Bunker Hill. The Board of Trustees is selling off the place for its prime real estate value to be used for condominium development. Certainly an occurrence we've seen all over the country in many places and not something really desirable in many.
Cadet Major Timothy Hutton knows he will head the last graduating class at Bunker Hill. He and fellow cadets like Sean Penn and Tom Cruise aren't taking it lying down. They may be military cadets, but they've seen and grown up with student protests. Only these students have weapons and are trained in their use.
Can you really blame the cadets like Hutton who've actually in fact forgotten that soldiers carry out and don't make policy? I think it was significant that during the course of Taps it's mentioned that George C. Scott served with General Douglas MacArthur who gave him a sword for his service. It's also mentioned that Scott was passed over for promotion an advancement beyond being a brigadier general and was retired comfortably out to pasture at the Academy.
Scott's not the same kind of military man you see in Patton. Rather he's a lot like the Patton you see in that television film, Patton, the Last Days. A man so totally out of his element that when the accident and broken neck occurred he'd lost his will to live.
Anyway after a scuffle with some of the town louts who are less than enamored of Bunker Hill's military tradition. A town kid is accidentally killed when he tries to get Scott's military issue pistol and it discharges. In a court of law, the man would have been acquitted, but Scott answers to a higher law he lives by.
That scuffle threatens to close the school even for the last year and the kids seize it. It's a confrontation then between idealistic and wrongheaded youth and the real forces of law enforcement.
Ronny Cox contributes a very nice performance as the commanding general of the National Guard trying to keep a lid on the situation. His scenes with the idealistic and obstinate Hutton are the highlight of the film for me.
Tom Cruise and Sean Penn got their first real notice in this film right at the start of their respective mega-careers. Hutton has a nice followup to his Oscar winning performance from Ordinary People. And George C. Scott is, George C. Scott.
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