''What did your father say to you to make you try so hard?" Brashear:
"'Be the best
A military drama movie starring Robert DeNiro
and Cuba Gooding. It is a Based on a True Story
movie about Carl Brashear, the very first African-American Master Diver of the US Navy.
- Appeal to Force: Sunday intimidates a Marine standing watch outside the courtroom. The Marine lets Sunday by, even though keeping him out of the courtroom was his only reason for being there.
Chief Sunday: Son, you best step aside or I'll crack you right in the jaw.
- Artistic License – Military: Master Chief Sunday's various demotions. For Navy personnel E-7 and above, it takes a fill court martial to demote such a person, not simply captain's mast. And even then, such an individual will be strongly encouraged to retire before it comes to that. The movie is correct in that a chief that has gone through the process of demotion will be more or less stiluck in a dead end when it comes to future career advancement until he retires.
- Biopic: A loose biography of Master Chief Carl Brashear.
- Badass: Both Carl Brashear and William Sunday.
- Badass Creed: "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. Hell, I don't know why anybody'd want to be a Navy diver."
- Determinator: Carl. He stay underwater for over 9 hours to finish his final test at Dive School. He also didn't let having one of his legs amputated get in the way of his military career.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Even though Carl saved the life of a fellow student who was trapped, the credit for his heroics went to a student who had run away.
- The Fake gives Carl the medal before they part ways one last time.
- Handicapped Badass: Carl, after losing his lower left leg
- Jackie Robinson Story: He was not the first African-American Navy diver, but he was the Navy's first African-American master diver. He later became the Navy's first one-legged African-American diver.
- Moving the Goalposts: Though it was done long before the event in question. After getting his prosthetic leg, Carl wants to be reinstated as a Navy Diver again, but the military says no. He makes it a legal challenge, and is told that he has to basically qualify again by making 12 steps unaided in a full diving suit, which weighs well over 400 pounds. When he prepares to do so, with the help of Chief Sunday, Sunday tells the Navy men to help Carl stand up, only to be informed that under new rules, a Navy Diver must stand unaided. The struggle for Carl to get to his feet takes minutes.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Who knew taking 12 steps forward could be so dramatic?
- The Obi-Wan: Sunday, after Brashear earns his respect.
- Pretty in Mink: Sunday's wife.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Overlapping with Deliberate Values Dissonance. After specifically sabotaging Carl's diving qualification exam, Sunday is ordered by the racist admiral in charge of the diving school to let Carl die underwater instead of letting him pass. Sunday deliberately refuses to do so, and is promptly demoted/reassigned after certifying Carl as a Navy Diver.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Sunday's teaching philosophy.
- Socialite: Several officers at a
- The Drunken Sailor: Sunday, whose Madness Mantra takes the form of the CPO Rules:
Chief Sunday: A chief petty officer shall not drink; however, if he should drink, he shall not get drunk. If he should get drunk, he shall not stagger. And if he staggers, he shall not fall. If he should fall down, he shall fall in such a manner as to cover up his rate so that passers-by will think he is an officer.
- The Mentor: Sunday to Brashear. Carl wouldn't have made master chief without him.
- Training from Hell: Truth in Television, Navy Dive School really is pretty damn strenuous.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: It seems the story is over when Carl graduated from dive school. Cue the second half of the movie.