T.A.P.S., released in
1981, starred Tom Cruise as Cadet David Shawn, George C.
Scott as Brigadier General Harlan Bache, Timothy Hutton
as Cadet Brian Moreland, Ronny Cox as Colonel Kerby, and
Sean Penn as Alex Dwyer. For the most part, the movie
received positive reviews. Roger Ebert even gave it 3
out of 4 stars, likening it to the 1965 classic Lord
of the Flies. The movie turned a nice profit for 20th
Century Fox. It was the second film debut for Tom
Cruise, who had had a small role in Endless Love
which was released the same year.
In this movie, Cruise,
Penn, and Hutton play cadets at a military school called
Military Academy at Bunker Hill. Initially, the cadets
are told that the school will stay open for the
remainder of the year in order for the current seniors
to graduate, while under classmen would have to find a
new school to attend. The closing timetable is moved
up, however, after a young local boy gets shot and
during the military ball. Told they will not be able to
finish the year, the cadets empty the armory and take
over the school.
Things really start to
get ugly as a little war begins. By the next day, the
police surround the school, and the parents are brought
in to try and talk the boys down. When this does not
work, the National Guard is called in, and with
dissention in the ranks, things get out of hand as the
movie ends with a fire fight between some cadets and the
National Guard, with a number of cadets getting killed.