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Taps


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Editorial Reviews

Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise
  • Directors: Harold Becker
  • Writers: Darryl Ponicsan, Devery Freeman, James Lineberger, Robert Mark Kamen
  • Producers: Howard B. Jaffe, Stanley R. Jaffe
  • Format: Anamorphic, Subtitled, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005V9IG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,576 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Taps" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By R.L. Holly on February 9, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An overlooked, gripping drama that is notable for its young rising stars (Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise) and also its prescience, as noted by another commentator here, although I think that none of the Amazon reviewers to date has hit the nail on the head with "Taps" and its overarching theme.

The movie begins fairly conventionally, with the teenage military cadets and their venerable institution shown to the viewer to be upright, virtuous, and full of sound moral values. The youths may be a bit immature at times, and callow, but their earnestness and sincerity are shown as admirable and their devotion to their gruff, benevolent commandant (George C. Scott, perfectly cast) is unquestioned. You can literally hear the Sousa marches playing in the background. But just when you think you're in for a predictable, one-sided, nattily uniformed prep school movie preaching the military virtues, the plot takes a darker twist and we learn that appearances can be very deceiving. Faced with the closing of the school, the boys turn renegade, immediately betraying their duty of obedience in the emotions of the moment. While determined, brave, and motivated by principle, they are at the same time defying legal authority and behaving unwisely. Recognition of this causes the relationships and trust among the cadets to splinter tragically. Through the words of Hutton's career soldier father -- a wonderful supporting performance, with the hard, practical professional tearing down the cadets' naivete -- we are presented a picture of Scott's commandant that does not fit the boys' hero-worshipful image. And then the national guardsman who arrives to end the armed takeover of the school acts as Hutton's conscience, pointing out to him how far from the path of honor he has truly strayed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Flap Jackson on February 9, 2009
Format: DVD
Imagine, this is the movie that discovered Sean Penn and Tom Cruise, being this both of their debut roles. And the acting in this movie shows it, as great performances are given all the way around, especially by Timothy Hutton. What might be even more amazing is that I've never heard of this movie before two weeks ago.

In fact, I imagine that today's audiences couldn't sit through the first thirty minutes, as it's mostly filled with dialogue, and seemingly boring military school proceedings. But this is all very important, as it shows you the full load of dynamite just waiting to go off. Then as the movie progresses, it quickly delves into a 'Lord of the Flies' situation where there's youth in revolt. As the drama and tension rises, it soon becomes very clear that despite what you hope for, all will not end well. And when the end finally does come, it's hard to watch, even though it almost seems necessary.

The movie is certainly though-provoking, taking on themes of independence, military school, indoctrination, brain washing, honor, duty, dignity, courage, and fighting for what you believe in. They're thoughts that stay with you for awhile, and they offer no real answer, but it will challenge your beliefs.

Overall, an underrated and brilliant character masterpiece, with superb acting from some now famous stars, and a story that causes you to think. Granted, it makes me want to stay far away from military schools, and it's hard to watch at times, but "Taps" is a must-see movie.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Grrrr on June 27, 2007
Format: DVD
TAPS was filmed at the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where I was a cadet and graduate back in the early 70's. As alumni, we were notified of the filming that would be taking place and so I got to see some of the action going on. Naturally, I looked forward to the movie coming out and I was rewarded with a fine, suspenseful action drama. Certain scenes, like the parade formations, the formals, and the in-barracks fooling around brought me back to my cadet years. Even the run-ins with the "townies" rang true, although it never came to the brandishing of weapons. This is a fine thriller and an opportunity to see a cast of both veteran actors and future-stars perform.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Kessler on February 3, 2003
Format: DVD
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Green Manalishi on January 31, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, if not completely beleivable, movie - but then who said movies were supposed to be completely beleivable?

What was believable were the performances of the actors involved. Timothy Hutton was perfect as the sensible yet fiercly principled and devoted leader of a group of boys at a military school, and Tom Cruise dynamite as the head of the Red Berets. Keep in mind George C. Scott, the general, when he mentions to the newly appointed Timothy Hutton how war brings out the "wolf", a kind of primal elation that a man realizes only in warfare. And many other things which help build a logic for what follows in the movie.

I was kind of in awe of it the first time I saw it some 26 years ago in a movie theater as an eleven-year-old kid. I saw it again tonight on dvd then just to test my childhood powers of perception, to see if it was as cool as i remembered it, and it pretty much was! Two thumbs up, Ebert!
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