When a first-classman's insignia is found on the riverbank near the drowned body of plebe David Hand, the specter of murder casts a shadow of scandal across the U.S. Grant Military Academy.... See full summary »




Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
 Judge Hand (2 episodes, 1986)
 Rysam 'Ry' Slaight (2 episodes, 1986)
 Gen. Axel Rylander (2 episodes, 1986)
 David Hand (2 episodes, 1986)
 Elizabeth Hand (2 episodes, 1986)
 Gen. Charles Hedges (2 episodes, 1986)
 Mrs. Iris Rylander (2 episodes, 1986)
 Col. King (2 episodes, 1986)
 Maj. Clifford Bassett (2 episodes, 1986)
 Sgt. Oliphant (2 episodes, 1986)
 Maj. Consor (2 episodes, 1986)
 Lugar (2 episodes, 1986)
 Buck (2 episodes, 1986)
Peter Nelson ...
 Barnes (2 episodes, 1986)
Louise Latham ...
 Mrs. Loerna Tutwiler (2 episodes, 1986)
 Hank Beaumont (2 episodes, 1986)
 Cullinan (2 episodes, 1986)
 Winant (2 episodes, 1986)
David Harum ...
 Cadet Barham (2 episodes, 1986)
Steve Kosko ...
 Area Sergeant (2 episodes, 1986)
Patricia Herd ...
 Secretary (2 episodes, 1986)
Rick Goldman ...
 Airman (2 episodes, 1986)
Arthur French ...
 AIA Agent (2 episodes, 1986)
 AIA Agent (2 episodes, 1986)
 Hedge's secretary (2 episodes, 1986)
 Helen (2 episodes, 1986)
Patrik Baldauff ...
 AIA Agent (2 episodes, 1986)
 AIA Agent (2 episodes, 1986)


When a first-classman's insignia is found on the riverbank near the drowned body of plebe David Hand, the specter of murder casts a shadow of scandal across the U.S. Grant Military Academy. General Hedges, the headmaster of the school, is determined to keep the beleaguered school out of the headlines and attempts to cover-up the likelihood of murder by wielding his considerable influence to pass it off as a simple drowning. This is done in spite of forensic reports that show that, shortly before his death, David Hand participated in "consensual sexual relations" with another man. Letters from the dead boy, which the Army Intelligence Department "confiscates" from his sister's New York apartment, implicate Ry Slaight as the first-classman with whom David was in love. As General Hedges says, "You cannot have a murder without a murderer." He offers Slaight the opportunity to "go quietly" which means he would be washed out into the infantry and quickly bound for Vietnam. Professing his ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La divisa strappata  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1980, producer Richard Roth announced this as a major movie to be directed by Lindsay Anderson. See more »


During the search for Cadet Hand's body, the helicopter pilot spots the body in the river. Hand's head is above water, over a log, and his neck is arched, with his head looking forward. When the divers get to the body, Hand's head is face down in the water. See more »

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User Reviews

Gore Vidal Makes Interesting Points
30 November 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Is it true that a homosexual is courting danger when he attempts to seduce a straight guy? Interesting premise, and that is certainly so in this 2-tape movie. Well acted by all concerned and the dialogue is dynamite!!

Comments like "Most of these cadets (poorly disguised West Point cadets) are children of judges back home" straight out depict the truth behind the facade of respectability and equality. Reminders of the cheating scandals at all the military academies are also brought up lest we forget. Despite that, the ending is upbeat and made me strangely proud of my country.

Of course, I'm a sucker for a marching set of uniforms and for some insane reason the equally insane military phrase, "I get paid the same for marching as I do for fighting" came into my mind. The fighting in this movie has to do with character and honor, most importantly the honor of West Point and all national military academies. Paradoxically, the commandant is also interested in preserving that honor, as evil as he is in showing it.

One of the subtleties about honor was brought to our attention as one of the cadets is set up by the evil commandant, played so wonderfully by Mark Twain himself, Hal Holbrook. This cadet does not want to get into trouble and allows himself to be used in the Honor Court against the falsely accused cadet. But when asked the hard questions by Alec Baldwin (in top form), h e painfully answers truthfully.

The twists and turns the plot takes before we know 'who dunnit' are wonderful. And Eddie Albert keeps us guessing as to which side of the good/bad coin he's going to turn up on until the last few minutes. I now own this one, and as proof of its excellence, I can't wait to see it again. Like good literature, the proof of a good movie is that you get more out of it with repeated viewings.

Did you know that if you washed out of the military academies, you were sent to Viet Nam during the 70's? That may have indeed been the case for some, but certainly not a rule.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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