Taps (1981)


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Movie Info

When an exclusive military school is threatened with demolition by a rapacious real-estate company, the students take drastic action. Utilizing every bit of military know-how at their disposal, the boys take over the school, arm themselves to the teeth, and prepare to do battle against the "invading" developers.

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Critic Reviews for Taps

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

A fascinating first hour is drowned in the clichés of siege cinema.

Dec 3, 2018 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Taps is a well crafted and original film about the perils of false heroes and uncontrolled militarism.

Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…

A heavy dramatic portrait of military school education with a disturbing shoot 'em up climax, Taps labors at an unbearably slow pace to an inevitable, depressing conclusion.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Though it has been seriously directed by Harold Becker and seriously written by Darryl Ponicsan and Robert Mark Kamen, the movie is less serious than absurd, though without ever being funny.

Aug 30, 2004 | Full Review…

Entertaining, especially if its musings on military values aren't taken too seriously.

Dec 3, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Mildly engaging, but burdened by a predictable climax.

Jul 29, 2014 | Rating: 65/100 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Taps

A smart and well-crafted military drama, Taps is a daring and controversial film. When a group of cadets at a military academy barricade themselves inside their citadel a standoff with the local law enforcement and National Guard ensues. The cast includes Timothy Hutton, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, and George C. Scott; who all deliver excellent performances. The writing is also quite strong, and does a great job at showing the internal struggle that the cadets go through in questioning their cause and what they've been taught to believe in. The film also explores some provocative themes such as the Military-Industrial Complex and America's attitudes toward the military in the post-Vietnam era. Taps is compelling and incredibly powerful.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Taps is a decent movie but nothing spectacular. The plot is full of holes but still is entertaining. The thing that makes the movie worth the watch is the performances by Hutton, Penn, and Cruise. This is the movie that launched Penn's career and allowed him to go onto bigger and better things. This was also only Cruise's second role. The story suffers a little from the impossibilities but the performances more than make up for it and make the movie worth the watch.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

So totally boring, I couldn't watch the whole thing. I may give it another chance one day if I hear anything good about it. There is a good cast, but other than that, it's not worth watching.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Despite uniformly strong performances from a superb cast, this film fell short of my expectations. Conceptually speaking, it's perhaps a little far-fetched but I am willing to suspend my disbelief at times. Unfortunately, the screenplay takes the story to preposterous lengths and ends up giving us a laughably unrealistic experience rather than an effective drama. Ontop of frequently sounding corny, the dialogue gives the characters bizarre traits and often unclear motives, so as an audience we have nobody to latch onto for this over-the-top ride. It's not painful to sit through thanks to the acting, but it's a dated and silly film.

Mike T.
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

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