A much bigger guy comes into the shower and shoves you over to the next space. You say, "Thank you, Sir!" Where are you? Right-- a military academy! Those who have been in one, or even who have been in the military, will have a special understanding of this film. I appreciated "Taps" because it made me consider the many definitions of 'honor', and it explored how far someone will (or should) go-- to be a true friend.
Just as Brian makes Senior-Cadet, the civilian leaders decide that Bunker Hill Military Academy must close its doors in one year. Although there indeed seem to be few young recruits coming into the academy, money is claimed not to be the problem so much as public attitude that such institutions are no longer necessary. When General Bache, an aging military veteran and head of the school, accidentally shoots and kills one of the town's civilian red-neck youths, immediate closure is demanded. With sincere beliefs that they are upholding the institution's honor, the cadets seize control, send the dean and teachers out in a bus, and prepare to defend. The only problem I had with this movie was that, in reality, 'honorable' cadets would never place their prepubescent troops on the forward firing lines! (This action is what eventually leads to the collapse of the cadets' Worthy Cause.) After a terrible tragedy, Brian is still supported by his loyal friend Alex, but is left wondering "what went wrong?" All the words of Brian's hero, General Bache, had sounded so right!