->''"Never be ashamed of being human, Mr Moreland. Without humanity, a leader becomes a tyrant."''
-->-- '''General Bache'''

''Taps'' is a 1981 film, directed by Harold Becker and starring Timothy Hutton, Creator/SeanPenn, Creator/TomCruise and Creator/GeorgeCScott. The story revolves around young military cadets who take over their academy in order to prevent the directory from closing it. It is based on the book ''Father Sky'', by Devery Freeman.

It was the second role of Creator/TomCruise, and his first major role after a brief appearance in ''Film/EndlessLove'', and the first non-TV movie of Creator/SeanPenn. Timothy Hutton had already burst into the acting scene by playing in ''Literature/OrdinaryPeople''.
!!These Tropes are beautiful, man ! Beautiful :

* AdultsAreUseless: Played for drama, as just about every adult save General Bache is either jeeringly dismissive towards the boys (the school administration) or completely disinterested in their day to day lives. (Their parents) [[TheDogBitesBack That is, until the boys seize the school by force of arms after they try to shut them down.]]
* AllForNothing: [[spoiler: The standoff ends in bloody failure, with several deaths and the school still scheduled to be closed.]]
* AFatherToHisMen: Bache at first, and then Brian.
* BloodKnight: Shawn is the most militant of the three main characters, [[spoiler:and is the one who opens fire on the gathered National Guard just as Brian is about to surrender]].
* BringMyBrownPants: Mentioned by Bache in a war story he tells Moreland. "Of course I was scared. Must have lost twenty pounds, all of it brown."
* CallingTheOldManOut : Brian to Sergeant Moreland, who still considers him as a kid (see TheyCallMeMisterTibbs).
--> '''Brian''': He [''Bache''] is the example we follow!
* ChildSoldiers: The senior cadets are teenagers and there are considerably younger ones as well. Moreland even quotes what Bache taught him about children being the last line of muster, something that Col. Kerby finds horrifying.
* ColonelBadass: Kerby, from start to finish. At first, he tries a gentle and reasoned approach with Brian, as he genuinely understands their point of view. However, once the first cadet is killed and it becomes obvious that Brian still doesn't understand that he's in over his head, Kerby wastes no time in cutting him down to size. He tells Brian in no uncertain terms that he's just been playing at being a soldier, his views on war are incredibly naive and romanticized because they're based on classroom lectures and not real life, his cadets don't stand a chance against trained soldiers, and the campus ''will'' be retaken. While he's spelling all this out, it's clear from Brian's face and body language that he's having another BSOD.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: The film ends with several soldiers and cadets being killed and none of the demands of the cadets being met.]]
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: When climbing the stairs and getting to their room, right after the introduction ceremony, the three main characters are exposed :
** Brian Moreland is the gentle leader, respected by all others (we don't know yet he is the Cadet Major).
** Alex Dwyer is his [[TheCynic subversive]] close friend, mocking the book of remembrance.
** David Shawn admires Moreland but hates Dwyer (see FlippingTheBird) and already looks like an [[AxCrazy insane]] [[HairTriggerTemper angry]] {{Jerkass}}.
* FaceHeelTurn: "Lieutenant West, requesting permission to be dismissed, sir."
** Not so much a Face-Heel turn as Lt. West, despite trying hard to be the voice of reason to Brian, understanding that things were spinning out of control and he was running out of ways to get Brian to see that. Brian had just mustered everyone together and said that anyone who wanted to leave was free to do so. It was ''absolutely clear'' that many people wanted to leave, but no one wanted to be the first to step forward. Lt. West simply cut the knot and stepped up first, followed by nearly half the cadets. This was Brian's first BSOD, and probably the closest he came to realizing it was a lost cause.
* FlippingTheBird: Shawn to Dwyer in introduction.
* ForegoneConclusion: The school ''IS'' going to be closed. Used by Colonel Kerby when telling Brian that [[{{Foreshadowing}} he can't win this]].
--> '''Col. Kerby''': Mr Moreland, you know, and I know, that it's never gonna go your way. You do know that, don't you ?
* FourStarBadass: General Bache. Played with, in that it's implied at several points that Bache's career stalled for whatever reason and his running the school is a way of reliving his GloryDays, and while he means well it's clear that his philosophy and teachings ultimately have harmful consequences.
* HeroicBSOD: Brian gets several when things start to go wrong.
* HonorBeforeReason: Brian, oh so much. Deconstructed, since since Brian is informed by several people that rigidly and needlessly holding to his actions in the face of doomed circumstances for nothing but honor is a fool's errand, and ultimately it only results in people getting hurt and killed. [[spoiler: Including Brian himself.]]
* MilitarySchool
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Brian during his last BSOD about Charlie.
* SarcasticDevotee / SourSupporter: Alex Dwyer is this to Brian Moreland.
* [[SavingTheOrphanage Saving The Military School]]: The cadets do NOT accept its closing.
* SwissCheeseSecurity: General Bache keeps a huge arsenal in the academy, in a building that apparently all the cadets can freely access. This is particularly absurd when you consider the actual U. S. military maintains their firearms on domestic bases in highly secured armories that only certain qualified personnel have access to.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Impersonated with Shawn vs. Dwyer.
* {{Taps}}: [[CaptainObvious Obviously]] pops up a number of times; at the beginning when the school reads off the names and dates of alumni who fell in battle, [[spoiler: and when they have their memorial service for General Bache]]. The movie's title, and thus the TropeNamer, also indicates the impending death of the academy.
* TheyCallMeMisterTibbs: Brian to his father :
--> '''Brian''': Stop calling me kid.
--> '''Sgt Moreland''': You expect me to call you Major ? You can forget it.
* [[WeHaveReserves They Have Reserves]]: From Bache : "They kept coming at us, wave after wave. Totally indifferent to casualties. Of course, the Chinese always had plenty of bodies to spare."


:: ''- What in God's name did they teach you in here? What did they turn you into?''
:: ''- A TROPER, which is the only thing I ever wanted to be !''