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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 »

Director:

Harry Morgan Moses (as Harry Moses)

Writer:

Harry Morgan Moses (as Harry Moses)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel L. Jackson ... Richard Greener
Sam Waterston ... Daniel Chamberlain
Mason Adams ... Henry D. Hyde
Val Avery ... Gen. Sherman
Eddie Bracken ... Maj. Charles T. Alexander
Gene Canfield ... McIntosh
Robert Clohessy ... Dan Broyles
Al Freeman Jr. ... Old Johnson Whittaker
Ken Garito ... Cadet Lewis Ostheim
Greg Germann ... Vernon Bailey
John Glover ... Maj. Asa Bird Gardiner
Brad Greenquist ... Dr. Beard
Peter Maloney ... Capt. William Smith Michie
George Martin George Martin ... President Rutherford B. Hayes
Scott Paetty 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Assault at Westpoint See more »

Filming Locations:

Buena Vista, Virginia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed at the Virginia Military Institute. See more »

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 deanofrppsSee 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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