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Taps (Widescreen)

George C. Scott , Timothy Hutton , Harold Becker    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Memorable mostly as the film that introduced filmgoers to Tom Cruise and Sean Penn, both of whom nearly steal the film from its nominal star, Timothy Hutton. Hutton, fresh from his Oscar for Ordinary People, plays the top cadet at a private military school run by George C. Scott. When the announcement is made that the school will be closed, the inmates take over the asylum with military precision. Hutton is caught among his sense of duty to mentor Scott, the rabid militarism of cadet Cruise, and the rational arguments of Penn, as Hutton's best friend. Then a cadet kills one of the cops responding to the crisis, and suddenly this game of playing soldiers takes on a warlike atmosphere. But director Harold Becker can't hold it together; Hutton isn't up to carrying the film, and the tension rapidly drains from the Darryl Ponicsan script. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazingly Prescient Movie March 13 2004
Saw this movie on cable a few years after it came out. I didn't think too much of it back then--but what a difference 20 years makes! Taps is, without a doubt, one of the best teen angst movies ever made. The unique twist here is that teens are (literally) fighting for increasingly anachronistic ideals: duty, honor, and country. Partly due to their methods & partly due to their militaristic demeanor, the society outside the school gates (good symbolism here) spurns their cause. In the time since 1981, the trend has been to tolerate, defend, and even reward, abberrant behavior. As a result, the film gets high marks for correctly predicting that these kids are on the wrong side of history. The casting was also extraordinary with outstanding performance all around. Cruise's performance was especially strong--perhaps the best he's ever done. I also find it uncanny that this film was able to cast two of today's top stars (Penn & Cruise) as leads. These factors have actually helped Taps improve with age--an extremely rare achievement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A study in honor and friendship March 11 2000
Format:VHS Tape
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!
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Given the other reviews, plot summary in this one would be superfluous, yet I feel compelled to say "Taps" is a deeply moving tragedy. The characters are very real, the situation is very believable. The film has its share of comic relief, but the story is so sad and the acting so very good (even Cruise, whom I generally loathe, was perfectly cast) that if you are given to tears you may prefer to watch it alone, but whether you are or whether you're not, you definitely should watch it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars TAPS - WORKS AGAINST ITSELF July 2 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The movie TAPS works against itself.
It portrays the kids as villians, yet also as heroes.
Do you cheer for these kids, boo them, or what?
If you want the kids to be heroic, make them heroes. If you want the kids to be villianous, make them villians.
You cannot have it both way.
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