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Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker (1994)

The story of Johnson Whittaker, one of the first African-American cadets admitted to West Point. Tied down and beaten by his fellow cadets, Whittaker was court-martialed on the grounds that... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard Greener
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Daniel Chamberlain
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Henry D. Hyde
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Maj. Charles T. Alexander
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McIntosh
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Dan Broyles
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Old Johnson Whittaker
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Cadet Lewis Ostheim
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Vernon Bailey
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Maj. Asa Bird Gardiner
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Dr. Beard
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Capt. William Smith Michie
George Martin ...
Scott Paetty ...
Cadet George Burnett
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Storyline

The story of Johnson Whittaker, one of the first African-American cadets admitted to West Point. Tied down and beaten by his fellow cadets, Whittaker was court-martialed on the grounds that he staged his own assault to avoid taking a philosophy exam. His defense attorneys consisted of a racist and a Harvard Graduate who squabble over how best to present his defense. Written by Keath <keath@webtv.net>

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Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

27 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assault at Westpoint  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The Garand rifle on the cover picture wasn't designed till the 1930s. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Asa Bird Gardiner: They shouted, "This is how we mark hogs down South". How do they mark hogs down South?
Cadet Johnson Whittaker: I don't know, I'm not a hogs marker.
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User Reviews

 
Excellent Piece of History
4 December 2004 | by (The Society NY) – See all my reviews

This is an important piece of history imaginatively staged. Sam Waterston executed a bravura performance as the abolitionist and civil war hero Daniel Chamberlain who liked emancipation but was unwilling to accept equality. The spencerian social darwinianism which infected upper caste society was accurately presented, even though as we reach the twilight of the American era it sounds so childishly stupid. To people of the time what they said stemmed from scientific fact, the novel doctrine of evolution which had devolved into a belief that, if the existing order were not to have been ordained by a Supreme Being, it was dictated by natural forces over which man had no control.

The cast and writers paid careful attention to the diction of the civil war era which to us today sounds so stiff and formal yet capable of concealing much wry, introspective humor.

The film also brought to the fore an interesting character Asa Bird Gardiner little known out of the limited circles of military law scholars.

Well done!

Comparable films: Courtmartial of Billy Mitchell, Courtmartial of Jackie Robinson, Caine Mutiny, Hart's War


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