7.2/10
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234 user 98 critic

Men of Honor (2000)

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.

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11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

The story ultimately revolves around two "men of honor"; their relationship, their individual and joint failures and triumphs. Carl Brashear is determined to be the first African American Navy Diver in a time where racism is rife. Leslie Sunday is his embittered trainer, determined to see him fail. Fate, challenges and circumstances eventually draw these two men together in a tale of turbulence and ultimately triumph. Written by Filmtwob <webmaster@filmfreak.co.za>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

History is made by those who break the rules.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Navy Diver  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,339,465 (USA) (10 November 2000)

Gross:

$48,814,909 (USA) (2 March 2001)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The year after this film was released, Cuba Gooding Jr., portrayed Doris Miller, the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross, in Pearl Harbor (2001). See more »

Goofs

When Carl Brashear is in his hospital bed, in 1968, Admiral French and Captain Hanks wear the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. That ribbon was established in May 1980, and made retroactive to August 1974. See more »

Quotes

Billy Sunday: The Navy Diver is not a fighting man, he is a salvage expert. If it is lost underwater, he finds it. If it's sunk, he brings it up. If it's in the way, he moves it. If he's lucky, he will die young, 200 feet beneath the waves, for that is the closest he'll ever get to being a hero.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The woman in the detox center is listed as "Pinch-Faced Woman at Detox Center" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 23 August 2016 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm in Town
Written by Jack Lauderdale
Performed by Frantic Faye Thomas
Courtesy of Tuff City/Night Train International
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An inspirational story with some shortcomings
21 April 2001 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

Military training films are becoming so common that they are becoming a genre unto themselves. Among the more prominent we have, `Officer and a Gentleman', `Top Gun', `GI Jane', and now `Men of Honor'. The fact that this one happened to be true doesn't change the fact that the formula is the same. This film is probably most like `GI Jane' since it focuses on the desegregation angle.

The story is actually quite inspirational and is probably the best human-interest story among those mentioned above. Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is unquestionably a man of great courage and principle, and his strength of character shines through brightly in this film. Unfortunately, director George Tillman has tunnel vision in presenting the characters and eschews character development of various characters other than Brashear in favor of showing Brashear in a constant state of adversity. Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) is a central figure, and except for the initial scene, the fistfight and a couple of scenes with his wife, we don't know much about him. For instance, Brashear sees the scars on Sunday's palms and we are to assume that he worked a plow, but there is no follow-up on that point. Mr. Pappy (Hal Holbrook) gets only one short scene by which we can judge him. The rest of his screen time shows him pacing around and ranting. If a director is going to make a human-interest story, he needs to humanize the characters.

Cuba Gooding Jr. gives an outstanding performance as Brashear. This is probably the best I've seen him. This is a role and a character that is far more complete than any part he has played before, and he rises to the occasion. In `Jerry Maguire', Rod Tidwell was a fascinating, but one-dimensional character with the depth of a rain puddle. Brashear is much more complex and grounded, and the issues he faces are life crises, making the part far more challenging. This is an excellent recovery from Gooding's last role in `Chill Factor', a film so dreadful that it was almost an act of professional suicide to take the part.

After a stint trying his hand as a comedian (`Analyze This', `The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle', `Meet The Parents'), Robert DeNiro is back to his dramatic roots with an outstanding performance. DeNiro isn't a bad comedian, he is just such a great dramatic actor that it seems like he shouldn't waste his time doing comedy. DeNiro endows Billy Sunday with a rock hard personality belying a tortured soul. It is a pleasure watching him work.

It seems every film I watch lately has Charlize Theron in it. I saw `The Legend of Bagger Vance', `Men of Honor' and `The Yards' right in a row and I was beginning to wonder if she had a part in every film in 2000 (actually, she only did five). This was a minor role for Theron, but she carried it off well and managed to stay with DeNiro step for step. David Keith, who co-starred with Richard Gere in `Officer and a Gentleman', has a cameo here

The DVD has some interesting special features, including reflections by the real Carl Brashear and some deleted scenes.

I enjoyed this film despite the hackneyed plot and the one-dimensional presentation. I rated it a 7/10. I'm a sucker for underdog stories and I have a fondness for stories where strength of character is the central theme. This film is particularly strong in both areas and brings us two memorable acting performances that compensate for some of the director's shortcomings.


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