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Code Breakers (2005)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Family, Sport  |  10 December 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 382 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

In 1951, a cheating scandal rocks West Point academy, as 83 cadets -- including the son of the school's football coach (Glenn) -- are implicated and ultimately dismissed.



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Title: Code Breakers (TV Movie 2005)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Nolan (as Zachery Bryan)
George Holbrook
Bob Blaik
Commandant Paul D. Harkins
Richard Zeppieri ...
Major General Frederick A. Irving
Mrs. Nolan
James Downing ...
Colonel Collins


In 1951, a cheating scandal rocks West Point academy, as 83 cadets -- including the son of the school's football coach (Glenn) -- are implicated and ultimately dismissed.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At West Point, Honor Is A Code That Must Never Be Broken


Drama | Family | Sport



Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Ehrenkodex  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Brian Nolan: Tell the truth, but not too loud. Right, dad?
See more »


References Twelve O'Clock High (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

This film is worth watching to see the evolution of intercollegiate athletics and ethical conduct over the past fifty years
11 December 2005 | by (Twin Cities, Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Premiering on ESPN, "Code Breakers" looks back to the shocking academic misconduct scandal at West Point that rocked the complaisant world of intercollegiate athletics in 1951.

G. Ross Parker deserves kudos for a teleplay based on careful research and for refusing to provide a simplistic portrayal of a complex controversy. The Army football team of the late 1940s and early 1950s was a national powerhouse under the leadership of the legendary coach Earl "Red" Blaik. His 1951 team was brought to its knees by the disclosure of varsity football cadets cheating on exams.

The film was successful in portraying the politics at West Point, including the major conflict between Col. Paul D. Harkins and Coach Blaik. Harkins resented the prominence and popular appeal of Blaik's successful football program, and it was Harkins' committee that uncovered the cheating, leading to the resignation of 90 cadets who violated the academy's honor code. It was clear that the players were guilty of academic misconduct. At the same time, the cadets had no legal representation or advocacy. And the academy's system of administering identical exams in multiple classes was part of the problem as well. The film makes it clear that this was a scandal just waiting to happen.

The actors in "Code Breakers" included an outstanding ensemble of young men playing the roles of the cadets. Their real-life counterparts were teenagers recruited from impoverished backgrounds that included minimal educational preparation. The pressures on these young men to succeed academically, militarily, and athletically had to be staggering. All of the young actors were outstanding, especially Corey Sevier in the role of Bob Blaik, the coach's son and one of the cadets ultimately forced to resign from West Point.

The only weak link in this film was in the casting of Scott Glenn as the charismatic Coach Blaik. Glenn's performance was far too subdued and understated. Blaik was the mentor of the influential Vince Lombardi, portrayed by Richard Zeppieri in a minor role in the film. The obsession with winning in collegiate and professional sports was in its embryonic stage in the Blaik era of college football. Unfortunately, Scott Glenn's performance was too understated and laid back; he needed a gung-ho exuberance and a more powerful aura in his characterization, especially in his voice.

Overall, this film still provided a thoughtful portrayal of the political infighting that rent the military academy asunder. As it turned out, most of the young men were able to rebound, a number of them even succeeding in careers in the military. Staunchly supported by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Coach Blaik remained in his position as Army's football coach. The team fell on lean times in 1951-52, losing more games than than Blaik had lost in his previous seven seasons at Army. But Blaik's boys rebounded with enormously successful seasons in 1953-54. Following a number of Blaik's victories in big games, Gen. MacArthur would send him such effusive congratulatory telegrams that it appeared as though Blaik had just won great military victories in the Pacific.

When Blaik retired from coaching after the 1958 season, his football legacy did not end there. His protégé Vince Lombardi left to become an assistant coach with the New York Giants, prior to starting a dynasty and a career of mythical proportions at Green Bay. Sid Gilman, another one of Blaik's assistants, was one of the architects of the exciting, high-powered offenses in the early years of the AFL during his years at San Diego.

I am writing this review from Minnesota, and the last appearance of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Rose Bowl was in 1961, when led by a coach who is still a legend here in Minnesota. His name is Murray Warmath, and he was he yet other protégé of Earl "Red" Blaik.

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