Taps - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Taps Reviews

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½ August 24, 2018
Good overall movie and great cast, but, I wish the story-line pursued his request to save the school more.
August 17, 2018
While We saw this movie as children, it has maintained our affection over the years. So many movies that we remember fondly have degraded with adulthood. This is not one of those movies, this film has maintained its integrity, and unique plot. A coup brought on by heavily armed children powered by an unwillingness to accept change.
½ August 10, 2018
Entertaining movie about a military academy that the cadets decide to overthrow after it becomes learned its going to be bulldozed and changed into condos. It gets a bit silly in some parts. But most of it is exciting. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Penn and Hutton. They carry the movie.
July 5, 2018
A classic. One of my all time favorite movies. Some of the situations and themes seem foreign today, but for those who remember the 80s it's easy to recall.
May 24, 2018
I recently saw Taps (1981) after a great many years. The movie is notable as a launching pad for Sean Penn and Tom Cruise, and a commendable follow up vehicle for Timothy Hutton coming off his Academy Award winning supporting performance in Ordinary People (1980). Each acquits himself brilliantly, though Penn and Cruise evidence what would later seem a strange reversal of role types. Penn is the levelheaded, reflective, ambivalent and brooding cadet who nevertheless falls back on his guiding principle: "My friend, right or wrong!" ("I might be a little ragged around the edges, but I don't walk out on a friend."), while Cruise is the gung-ho, borderline psychopathic militarist whom one senses is less concerned with the cause than he is with a chance to prematurely taste the glory of battle. Hutton as the incoming cadet major of the military academy likewise comes off as conflicted. He is the scion of a military family and seemingly embraces all things military, its traditions, pomp and, most of all, honor, as he sees it as his sacred duty despite his apparent disdain on a personal basis for his master sergeant father currently serving in the U.S. Army. Hutton's character worships (not too far from literally) the academy's venerable commandant, a retired army general whose checkered career is later hinted at by Hutton's character's father, much to his son's utter contempt.

What impresses me most about the film is its script's treatment, its evenhandedness in shaping the social issues of the times, a rare such example from a Hollywood largely wedded to leftist ideology. It characterizes both the left and the right negatively without becoming overly preachy on either score. To many, military academies like Bunker Hill seem anachronistic, but to most of its students steeped in its traditions it represents all that is virtuous of an America in dramatic post-Vietnam War societal transition. Youths from the town are essentially characterized as loudmouthed punks and provocateurs whose actions unwittingly prompt the rebellion and tragedy in the making in the academy that is shortly to befall it; a tragedy that causes Hutton's character to finally embrace reality all too late with a disillusionment so poignant that it becomes palpable. "Honor doesn't count for **** when you're looking at a dead little boy.... All you think about is what a neat little kid he was." A sense of sadness pervades this dark but intriguing movie and rises above it to life in general. Nothing lasts.

George C. Scott, as the commandant, and Ronny Cox as the conflicted National Guard commander who so sympathizes with the cadets he must shortly and reluctantly move against, contribute stellar performances amongst the adult supporting cast. The movie is based on Father Sky, a novel by screenwriter Devery Freeman who apparently was not asked to write the script, perhaps because of major changes made. I'd recommend this film wholeheartedly as it stands up admirably against the test of time and can serve as an allegory for many a life situation as the late Roger Ebert suggested in his favorable review written at a time when Penn and Cruise were largely unknown to movie audiences.

In conclusion, one is reminded of Robert E. Lee's remarks in the aftermath of "Pickett's Charge": "It's all such a waste. Too, too sad."
½ February 15, 2018
I like when a movie is different. This movie is, as I don't remember other movies with a similar theme. It shows young soldiers who already understand what honor is and are ready to withstand their principles. Being a soldier is not easy, as you have to hide your emotions and stay strong no matter what. This movie does show young soldier's lives pretty good.

*** Spoilers - don't read if you want to rewatch: The movie does have plotholes, or strange decisions (why they never asked for media attention or didn't ask more actively to complete their demands). Unfortunately, because of this most people outside probably thought they are just crazy terrorists, because the media didn't show their motives really and showed just one side of the story. Or for example why did the general at the beginning never said that it was the kid who took his pistol and shot?***

This is basically the first Tom Cruise' movie (Endless Love had only 20 seconds of him) and I must say, I was surprised how good his acting in this movie already is. His character is different and I really liked him. Great job Tom!
On overall, the movie is good and it is worth watching. Even rewatching again if you have a company.
September 13, 2017
Taps enters a long line of movies I?ve watched recently that don?t live up to the opening act of the film. I adored the idea of this military cadet school that is being closed unexpectedly, and a new Cadet Major who has only one year to prove the school is worth saving. It falls apart quickly from there. The movie lost all sense of honor and decorum that I thought was established, and had a bunch of young men behaving in a way that seemed like a ridiculous overreaction. I struggled to find any justification for why these people would behave in this fashion. The movie spins its wheels for a very long time once the plot is established, and turns extremely dark and depressing. The story simply doesn?t flow the way it should, because the stakes get raised almost immediately and never vary all that much. There?s some serious problems with the script for Taps, but the cast almost makes up for it. Timothy Hutton might be a bit too mild-mannered, but he still was sympathetic in the lead role. Sean Penn and Tom Cruise were superb as the figurative angel and devil sitting on Hutton?s shoulders. And even though George C. Scott had a limited role, he made a huge impact on Taps. There were some highlights in the movie, but unfortunately it all falls apart and makes for a lackluster finished product.
July 20, 2017
Lord of the Flies is what Roger Ebert compares this story to. I can see that. It's an interesting story was some well developed characters but it was a little too slow. Still, Hutton is great and Sean Penn turns in one of his best early performances. Tom Cruise and Giancarlo Esposito have small but effective parts. The young cast carry this flick as if they were seasoned veterans.
October 16, 2016
This was one of my favorite George C. Scott films... plus this was first time I had ever seen Hutton, Penn & Cruise... & they all went on to have stellar careers.
May 22, 2016
What a powerful movie, at the end of it was a little sad because Alex Dwyer roommate, Major General Brian Moreland died because he was trying to stop Cadet Captain David Shawn from firing the 50 cal
½ January 12, 2016
If you know this film then you know it's all about the climax. Unnerving & disturbing.
½ January 9, 2016
Dusted this off and watched it on Netflix the other day. Haven't seen in in about a year. I've always enjoyed this movie, even though it has a dark somewhat melancholic tone to it. The cast is impressive in that so many future actors are in it, Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn,Giancarlo Esposito. It's set at a military academy in the early 80's, so their is still some of the post Vietnam military bias left in the country. The academy is threatened with closure but the superintendent Gen Bache played by the excellent George C. Scott is determined to keep it open. He does channel Patton in this, but plays a slightly haunted man. He speaks to his cadets about duty and honor, but more in the past tense rather then current I think. An old soldier who has seen to much and hasn't kept up with the times. An incident occurs in which a civilian teenager is accidentally killed by the general, who is then taken into custody. The cadets led by Timothy Huttons's character Brian Moreland then cease the weapons at the academy and take it over, in protest of their school being turned into condominiums. A siege ensues, the commanding officer of the police and national guard is led by Ronny Cox's character Col Kerby. Kerby is an interesting contrast to Bache. Bache is more the old style romantic warrior where Kerby is the more modern and realistic. "I have the career goal of all soldiers and that is to stay alive." he tells Brian Moreland during negotiations. Both men have different views and represent different eras of the army but are honorable. Their is a slight anti-gun message in this movie I think, but it is subtle and I feel that the director, despite the feeling of the show being anti-military still respects those who serve. If you haven't seen it and like military shows, this is a good one.
September 26, 2015
Bunker Hill Military Academy has just concluded another school year. Cadet Brian Moreland (Timothy Hutton), an academic junior, meets privately with the academy commandant, retired Brigadier General Harlan Bache (George C. Scott). Bache promotes Moreland to Cadet Major, the paramount rank at BHMA. Bache also reflects on the time when he was a West Point cadet (Moreland's intended college), as well as a graduate of BHMA prior to that, and how he dreads civilian life with his forthcoming retirement. Moreland is congratulated by several good friends: Cadet Captains David Shawn (Tom Cruise) and Alex Dwyer (Sean Penn), as well as Cadet Lieutenant Edward West (Evan Handler). Following the ceremonies, General Bache announces that BHMA's board of trustees is selling the school to real estate developers; however, they will remain open for one more year in order to allow the seniors to graduate and give the underclassmen time to apply to other schools. The delay gives many cadets hope that BHMA - which many of them consider home - can be saved. Bache also expresses his hope that the institute can be saved, as he wryly remarks to Moreland "We are here, and the condos are not". The graduation ceremony is also honored with a ball that evening. Outside the gates, a brawl erupts when several "townies" harass the cadets, which escalates into one local actually assaulting a sentry. General Bache sees this and tries to play peacemaker by breaking up the fighting boys, however his service pistol is seized by one of the townies. During their scuffle, the weapon discharges - killing one of the townies. Although the magazine was removed, a round was still in the chamber. Bache is arrested and has charges prepared against him for manslaughter. However, the trauma of the event combined with the arrest triggered a heart attack which results in Bache's hospitalization in critical condition. The board of trustees closes BHMA immediately. Moreland meets with the officers of the cadet corps. Since Bache is ill, they take control of Bunker Hill. The Dean of Students arrives with the local Sheriff to empty the armory. They find the weapons in the hands of an armed cadre led by Major Moreland... who demands to meet with General Bache, as well as the trustees so that BHMA will be kept open. The Dean and Sheriff are escorted off the campus by armed cadets, who secure the perimeter. The cadets are soon confronted by the real military and the tension between the cadets and the military forces outside Bunker Hill Military Academy is slowly built up...

"Taps" shows us how promising Timothy Hutton, Tom Cruise and Sean Penn were as actors already in 1981 and itīs no wonder all three has had long and still ongoing careers. The storyline is based on how theory can sound convincing in the classroom, while in practice itīs something else, but also how young minds can easily be manipulated and altered by conflicting ideals of what honour and valour means and how far you will go in your conviction. "Taps" is also a comment on the armed services and the consequences you might suffer while in action. Thereīs no glory or honour in death. The film has a touch of a "documentary" feeling and Hutton, Penn and Cruise are convincing in their performances. Yes, "Taps" feels a bit "80s" today when re-seeing it and the film is a bit stretched and not fully dynamic, but the main thought of it is still current and will most likely continue to be so.
½ August 28, 2015
A dark and suspenseful military drama led by a strong performance from Timothy Hutton.
August 20, 2015
Great movie about military cadets, a military topic almost uncovered by film. Has some great actors, notably Tom Cruise, this being his first real performance, and Sean Pean also very early in his career. They all do great for their level of skill, and it shows, as does their ability to March and do drill in perfect form and sink. Their cause is real, but as young to be soldiers they take it way out of control and end up in a very undesirable situation. It's not something I would really expect to happen in real life, but if it did those boys would probably stay behind their decisions, looking for action, excitement and to be brave. I myself would see myself staying within the gates, even if just to say with my buddies and get a chance to feel like a soldier. It's a pretty goo movie, authentic feeling and well done. Everything looks right, feels real and makes for an overall good watch. Nothing stands out as being bad, although them holding guns to innocent people may be. The ending isn't a shootout, which is more or less what we expected, but of course the hard-ass Tom Cruise opens fire of the soldiers ending the gates until his and his friends death. Good way to end it, and is a overall good watch.
April 10, 2015
The story still plays well today with these iconic actors before anyone really knew who they were.
October 10, 2014
a classic for its time but nothing of great performance
September 8, 2014
Probably the only gang of students who actually enjoy school.
½ July 10, 2014
Great movie. It's intense, well-acted by the whole cast, and reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, but better.
March 22, 2014
Good Movie! And the starting of Tom Cruise!
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