Based on a Pat Conroy novel, this underrated film stars David Keith as a cadet at the fictional Carolina Military Institute in 1964. CMI has just admitted its first black, Pearce (Mark Breland). Will (Keith), a senior who believes deeply in the code of honor symbolized by the Institute's
graduation ring, is asked by Bear (Robert Prosky), one of the school's ranking instructors, to look after the black cadet. Racism is rampant at CMI, and though neither Will nor Bear are civil rights activists, both believe Pearce deserves the same chance to prove himself as his classmates. When
the sanctioned hazing of underclassmen begins, it becomes clear that Pearce is the target of special harassment by "the Ten," a secret organization of cadets determined to guarantee the purity of the Institute. After another "undesirable" student dies and Pearce is nearly castrated, Will, the
reluctant champion of justice, unravels a conspiracy of hate that originates in CMI's loftiest towers of power.
Thomas Pope and Lloyd Fonvielle's meticulously crafted screenplay is deftly directed by Franc Roddam (QUADROPHENIA), who effectively balances moments of reflection with action-filled tension, building his film to an arresting climax. Keith--who had already made his mark as a warrior in training in
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN--gives a fine performance as the courageous and conscientious Will. Prosky is excellent as the honorable old instructor, and Spradlin turns in his usual fine work as the heavy. Equally convincing in his film debut is Breland--later the WBA welterweight champion, but at
the time the film was made an amateur of some renown whose newspaper photo was spotted by an impressed casting director.
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- Released: 1983
- Rating: R
- Review: Based on a Pat Conroy novel, this underrated film stars David Keith as a cadet at the fictional Carolina Military Institute in 1964. CMI has just admitted its first black, Pearce (Mark Breland). Will (Keith), a senior who believes deeply in the code of hon… (more)