An announcement that the venerable Bunker Hill Military Academy, a 141 year old institute, is to be torn down and replaced with condos sets off the young cadets led by their stodgy commander. Under the command of a student cadet major, the cadets seize the campus, refuse entry of the construction crews and ultimately confront the real military. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Due to the 1980 Screen Actors Guild writer's strike, filming on the campus of Valley Forge Military Academy took much longer (60 days) than originally planned. It caused such a disruption that the commandant of the school subsequently advised his colleagues not to allow film productions at their schools. The next year both Valley Forge and the Citadel military academies denied filmmakers of The Lords of Discipline (1983) access to their grounds, leading it to be filmed in England instead. See more »
During the final battle when Shawn begins his shootout with the National Guard/SWAT the M-60 he uses is loaded with a single belt with about 50 rounds of ammunition on it. Yet he fires long burst for several minutes during the gunfight with no pause. The cyclic rate of the M-60 would have run through that much ammunition in a few seconds. See more »
Improbable but entertaining...early Hutton, Penn and Cruise...
Hold the fort seems to be the slogan of these military cadets when they decide to rally behind TIMOTHY HUTTON who wants an armed defense of the school from authorities who want to shut it down after an accidental shooting by the presiding General Bache (GEORGE C. SCOTT). Aiding and abetting are TOM CRUISE and, in his film debut, SEAN PENN.
The tale seems highly improbable but is played so earnestly, is scripted so well, and directed so competently that it manages to hold the attention until the more or less predictable outcome.
The cadets are all extremely well played, from the very young boys to those who appear to be in their early twenties. When the authorities are unable to take back the school, the parents appeal to the children through loud speakers. "Sometimes being accepted by your friends, isn't worth the price," says one mother.
Unfortunately, the stalemate phase of the movie lasts much too long to sustain interest. But it's interesting now to watch the very young Hutton, Penn and Cruise show why they became superstars. I agree with Maltin who says it "plays its cards too soon, leaving a lot of dead weight before the outcome."
Summing up: Improbable story, but entertaining in a curious way.
Memorable line from Hutton's father resonates today: "They think you're home grown terrorists."
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