Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

T.A.P.S (1981)

by  |  April 1st, 2012  |  Drama

Being a child of the 90s and growing up watching movies from the 1980s and the 1990s, I have to admit that I have lost a certain degree of respect for the movies of the new millennium, and the actors that have worked on them…

The movies just seemed so assembly lined, and the actors and actresses in these movies just have seemed to much like, ‘pretty boys’ or, ‘hot chicks’… Not picked for their talents, but for their looks…

Now I wouldn’t say that, that is the case for all of the actors and actresses, that have become famous in the last decade or so, and I wouldn’t even say that, that was the case for all of the movies that have been made in the last decade!

Never the less, you know the old saying, ‘if you forget the past, then your doomed to repeat it?’ well I got a very fascinating reminder of that recently with the movie, T.A.P.S (1981).

Written by Robert Mark Kamen (Split Image) and Darryl Ponicsan (The Last Detail), and adapted by James Lineberger from the novel by: Devery Freeman (Pete And Gladys). Directed by: Harold Becker (Sea Of Love). Starring: Timothy Hutton (Secret Window), Sean Penn (Bad Boys), Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible), Evan Handler (Californication), Ronny Cox (The Car) and George C. Scott (Patton).

Now that’s not to say that T.A.P.S is a particularly bad movie or anything, (I wouldn’t be recommending it if I did), in the case of T.A.P.S, this movie has reminded me that every artist has their starting place, and they will either grow up to become some of the most recognizable faces in modern movie history, or, well, you don’t…

But in this forgotten gem of a film, people like Tom Cruise (this was Mr. Cruise’s second movie that he did, and is now one of the most recognizable faces in modern movie history), and Sean Penn (whom it looks like this was the first big screen movie that he was able to cut his teeth on, and now is another well recognized face in movie history!) Now when this movie had first come out, neither one of these people were well known, and I am sure in some cases with older movie goers, not well liked, and now they are some of the most well known faces of modern movie history!

From left, a young Tom Cruise and Sean Penn in still images from T.A.P.S and a more current, more well known Tom Cruie and Sean Penn.

Another thing that is really fascinating about this movie, is how both the plus side and the potential minus side of both war and the civilian military academy life can be!

What I mean by this is that in this Golden Globe nominated movie, George C. Scott plays General Harlan Bache, a retired world war 2 hero that is now serving as the beloved Commandant of the, ‘Bunker Hill Military Academy’.

Now to understand, Bunker Hill is a prestigious institution that has produced Soldiers who have fought in just about every war since before the Civil War, and have produced some very important statesmen to boot!

The problem is, is that the greedy trustees of Bunker Hill have decided to close down and demolish the academy so that they could put up condos! Fortunately though the seniors at the academy are going to be allowed to graduate (all the lower class men are going to have to find some place else to go though!)  To make matters worse, during a dance that is being held at the academy, a fight breaks out between the students and some of the locals, and by mistake, while trying to break up the fight, General Brache ends up shooting one of the locals!

Well of course the General is arrested, and the next day the students find out that there school is going to be closed! Well one of the Cadet Officers by the name of Cadet Major Brian Moreland (Hutton), and his lieutenants, Cadet Captain Alex Dwyer (Penn), Cadet Captain David Shawn (Cruise), and Cadet Captain J.C. Pierce (Played by: Giancarlo Esposito) decide to muster up their troops (the students who hadn’t left the school for summer break, and break open the school’s arsenal, and lead a rebellion, until the status quo is back to normal and the lives they know and love can stay theirs!

Things are starting to get tense between Major Moreland and his Lieutenants!

Well folks, in summation I would have to say that if your looking for a movie that will both shock you and fascinate you as well! Then I recommend this one, it is a fun one!


Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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