Review: ‘Taps’

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.

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.

Plot [based on Devery Freeman’s novel Father Sky, adapted by James Lineberger] centers on a military academy whose students are angered that their school and its traditions are being sold out from under them in order to build a bunch of condominiums.

Timothy Hutton tries to lend some humanity to the headstrong cadet who leads his fellow students in forcibly taking over the school (weapons and all) in a last ditch effort to save it, but he just appears too nice a guy. George C. Scott makes a brief but convincing appearance as a slightly deranged general.

Much of the supporting cast fare better, especially Sean Penn as Hutton’s humane best friend, Tom Cruise as a trigger-happy cadet and Ronny Cox as the reasonable colonel who tries to talk Hutton out of his mission.

Taps

Production

20th Century-Fox/Jaffe. Director Harold Becker; Producer Stanley R. Jaffe, Howard B. Jaffe; Screenplay Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Mark Kamen; Camera Owen Roizman; Editor Maury Winetrobe; Music Maurice Jarre; Art Director Stan Jolley, Alfred Sweeney

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

George C. Scott Timothy Hutton Ronny Cox Sean Penn Tom Cruise Brendan Ward

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