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"MEN OF HONOR"
(2000) (Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Mild Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: An African-American sailor must overcome racism and other obstacles as he attempts to become the first black Master Chief Navy Diver.
PLOT:
Carl Brashear (CUBA GOODING JR.) is the son of a black Kentucky sharecropper who's determined to make something of his life. A longtime underwater diving fan, Carl enlists in the Navy, hoping to become a diver, but finds himself stuck in the galley due to the racial restrictions of both the time and the institution.

A lucky break and a compassionate officer, Capt. Pullman (POWERS BOOTHE), get Carl reassigned as a seaman on a search and rescue ship where he first encounters Billy Sunday (ROBERT DE NIRO), a Master Chief Diver who risks his life, and disobeys direct orders, in an attempt to save another man's life. As a result, Sunday evokes the wrath of his superior officer, Hanks (DAVID CONRAD), and finds his diving career finished due to medical complications.

Two years later, Sunday is the instructor at the U.S. Navy Dive and Salvage School in New Jersey that's run by Mr. Pappy (HAL HOLBROOK), a one-time Navy star whose mental instability led to his current post. Sunday's none too happy about the hand life has dealt him. His marriage to Gwen (CHARLIZE THERON) is rocky due to their drinking problems and his continual resentment of no longer being a diver, so he often takes out his frustrations on his students.

One of them is Carl, who, with a recommendation from Pullman, enrolls in Sunday's school, only to find racist attitudes from him, Pappy and most of the other students, including Rourke (HOLT McCALLANY). His only friend turns out to be Snowhill (MICHAEL RAPAPORT), a stuttering student who rubs Sunday the wrong way.

Although he works hard to graduate, Carl learns that his academic grades might keep him back, so he enlists the tutoring aide of Jo (AUNJANUE ELLIS), a pre-med student and the romantic sparks immediately fly between them. With his grades improving, Carl sets out to prove himself in both training school and beyond, and must then overcome various obstacles along the path to his goal of becoming a Master Chief Navy Diver.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or of military-based, biographical pictures, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT DE NIRO plays a Master Chief Navy Diver who is forced into instructing due to a physical ailment. He uses strong profanity, has a drinking problem, smokes pipes and is disrespectful both to those above and below him in rank.
  • CUBA GOODING JR. plays an enlisted sailor who confronts and overcomes racism and other obstacles on his way to becoming the first black Master Chief Navy Diver.
  • CHARLIZE THERON plays Sunday's seemingly alcoholic wife who smokes, flirts and uses some profanity.
  • AUNJANUE ELLIS plays Carl's eventual wife, a doctor who becomes concerned about his dedication to achieving his goals and the effect it has on their family.
  • HAL HOLBROOK plays a diving school's racist and seemingly somewhat demented commander who will do anything to prevent Carl from graduating.
  • MICHAEL RAPAPORT plays a stuttering white sailor who befriends Carl when others don't and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 13 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. Some sexually related comments are made.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including that of many racist white people (both officers and enlisted men) toward Carl who's black. Violence consists of various instances of hitting and striking others, an off-screen accident that results in a death, and a leg that's nearly severed in a freak accident. Some of those scenes have bloody results, and those moments and others that feature people in peril (including some underwater ones) may be unsettling or suspenseful for viewers.

    Meanwhile, various characters smoke pipes and cigarettes (some quite a bit) and drink (with some noted as being drunk and/or alcoholics). Should the preceding information not answer your concerns about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sunday makes a comment about looking to get a drink.
  • Sunday offers to buy Carl a drink before sending him back home.
  • Gwen is upset that Billy is drinking on their anniversary, but she then orders drinks for herself and Carl (in a bar where others also drink). We then see Billy who appears a bit drunk and Gwen also later appears intoxicated (and wrecks her car while apparently drunk driving - but no one is hurt).
  • Various sailors and others drink at a New Years Eve party where both Billy and Gwen look like they're drunk.
  • We see that Sunday has been committed for his alcoholism and may be suffering from the DTs, as he sounds delirious while strapped to a bed.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Sunday has some bloody cuts and scrapes on his face.
  • We see some bloody cuts/blisters on Carl's father's hands (from plowing).
  • We see some blood on a man's face.
  • We see blood come out of Sunday's nose while he's holding his breath for several minutes in his water filled, diving helmet.
  • A cable yanks a piece of metal from a ship that then zips along, hitting Carl in the leg, nearly severing it from his body. We then see various shots of Carl lying on the deck with the bottom half of his leg turned the wrong way with lots of blood on it and the deck. Later, we see his toes sticking out from his cast/bandaging and they don't look very good.
  • We see some blood on the end of a cast around Carl's amputated leg.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some men who are escorting Sunday - who's A.W.O.L. -- call him a "nigger lover."
  • Various sailors onboard Carl's ship make racist comments to him (calling him "boy") and get upset when he jumps into the ocean to swim with them.
  • Sunday disobeys a direct order not to dive back into the ocean to save someone. Much later, he disobeys orders again, but does so in an attempt to save Carl's life.
  • Fellow trainees at a dive and salvage school act in a racist manner toward Carl (one spits some chew on his shoe and all but Snowhill refuse to bunk with him and remove their belongings).
  • Carl finds a note from his fellow trainees (who are white) that states, "We are going to drown you."
  • Sunday initially has something of a racist attitude toward Carl (calling him "nigger," but you can't tell if that's just "typical" military "hazing" at the time or not), even going so far as to use a fire hose on him while trying to get him to quit (as well as holding his head underwater in a barrel to do the same).
  • Some viewers may not like a moment where Sunday states that he is God to his men.
  • Sunday mocks Snowhill's stuttering and then kicks him out of his class for not staying at the bottom of a body of water (with a weight belt) until he told him to come up (and he apparently had no intention of telling him when to do so).
  • One of the trainees panics and leaves Carl to rescue a trapped trainee all by himself.
  • Various sailors want Carl to leave a bar due to his skin color.
  • Pappy tells Sunday that no colored diver will graduate from his school while he's in command. He then gives the order for Carl's tool bag to be cut before it's lowered into the water for his final test, thus spreading his tools and parts across the ocean floor, making it nearly impossible for him to complete his task. Later, and after many hours, Pappy tells Sunday not to bring him up until he's dead.
  • Hanks seems to have it out for both Sunday and Carl, with him repeatedly trying to make sure that Carl doesn't return to active duty after his leg is amputated.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A man is knocked overboard and there are some tense moments topside between Sunday and his superior officer about him diving back into the water to save that man.
  • Carl finds a note from his fellow trainees (who are white) that states, "We are going to drown you."
  • Sunday uses a fire hose on Carl while trying to get him to quit and then holds his head underwater in a barrel to do the same.
  • Some men on an underwater training exercise inside a sunken ship find themselves in trouble when it shifts on the ocean floor, snagging one of their life support lines back to the surface. As it continues to shift, Carl eventually joins them and tries to free the one man by cutting his one support line and connecting a new one (which means he goes without oxygen in the interim, all while the ship continues to shift precariously close to the edge of a steep, underwater drop-off).
  • Carl and Sunday get into a breath holding contest (in their diving helmets that are filled with water) to see who can do so the longest. As the minutes pass by, the tension increases until blood comes out of Sunday's nose and the contest is called off.
  • Carl tries to complete his graduation assignment after spending many hours underwater in that bone-chilling environment.
  • As Carl looks for a missing nuclear missile on the sea bottom, an enemy sub suddenly approaches and accidentally snags his lifeline to the surface. As such, and as his cable runs along one of the sub's horizontal fins, Carl is suddenly yanked from the bottom and toward both that fin and then the sub's spinning propellers. Afterwards, and for a moment, it looks like Carl might be dead or injured, but it turns out he's okay.
  • A cable yanks a piece of metal from a ship that then zips along, hitting Carl in the leg, nearly severing it from his body. We then see various shots of Carl lying on the deck with the bottom half of his leg turned the wrong way with lots of blood on it and the deck.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Carried by some navy personnel.
  • Nuclear missile: Found on the sea bottom by Carl.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You got f*cked" (nonsexual), "Deep sh*t," "Don't got d*ck sh*t," "Blow job" (oral sex), "Nigger" (said from both black and white men to black men), "Nigger lover," "Shove it directly up his ass," "What the hell are you doing?" "Balls" (testicles), "What the hell is going on?" "Ain't that a bitch?" "Sorry ass," "Broke d*ck," "Knocked her up" (got pregnant), "Looks like hell," "Move your raggedy ass," "Bastard" and "Piss people off."
  • Carl and Sunday get into a breath holding contest (in their diving helmets that are filled with water) to see who can do so the longest.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 13 "f" words (4 used with "mother" and 1 used sexually), 9 "s" words, 3 slang terms for/using male genitals ("d*ck"), 14 asses (1 used with "hole"), 14 hells, 6 damns, 6 S.O.B.s, and 22 uses of "G-damn" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Sunday makes a comment that in the past a man would have gotten both a medal on his chest and a "blow job" for being courageous.
  • Sunday jokes (in a hazing type fashion) about Snowhill and his girlfriend practicing the "breast stroke" (a swimming/sexual reference) and that he "knocked her up."
  • While berating his men, Sunday comments (among other things) about Johnny Weissmuller swimming over to "f*ck" Ester Williams.
  • Before sending his men off on "shore leave," Sunday tells them "One night stands may be over by morning, but syphilis lasts a lifetime."
  • Gwen wears a rather low-cut dress.
  • Jo tells Carl that she's three months late (she's pregnant and they're apparently married now).
  • SMOKING
  • Sunday smokes a pipe more than ten times (and otherwise carries it), Hanks and Gwen smoke a few times, while a large assortment of minor and background/miscellaneous characters also smoke (cigarettes and cigars).
  • Another trainee spits some chew onto Carl's shoe.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Jo mentions that she hasn't seen her father since she was nine.
  • Carl learns that his father died, but not much is made of that beyond one main scene.
  • Sunday's alcoholism puts a strain on his and Gwen's marriage.
  • Carl's commitment and pursuit of getting his diving title puts a strain on his marriage with Jo and she and their son eventually leave him (although they later get back together again).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy of this film that's loosely based on the real-life story of the real Carl Brashear.
  • The racism that Carl encounters throughout the story and how he overcomes it.
  • Why Carl was not given a medal for rescuing a fellow trainee, while another trainee who fled the scene received it (the answer is racism).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Handcuffed in an airport, Sunday head-butts one of the men escorting him, knocking that man out, and then violently grabs and twists his other escort's arm, gaining control over that man (not to escape, but because they were being disrespectful to Carl).
  • A sailor onboard Carl's first ship pushes him.
  • We hear a helicopter crash into a ship and/or the ocean and once Carl makes it topside, we see the burning copter sinking into the sea (as well as an injured and a dead man).
  • Upset that he can't dive ever again, Sunday knocks over some metal bedpans and then uses one to hit a man on the head before being restrained.
  • Sunday uses a fire hose on Carl while trying to get him to quit and then holds his head underwater in a barrel to do the same, before throwing him to the ground.
  • Sunday whips a heavy weight belt into Snowhill's gut and then pushes him off the dock where he then sinks below the surface.
  • We hear a car crash outside and see that Gwen has been shaken up a bit.
  • Sunday smashes Carl's radio to the floor.
  • Drunk, Sunday confronts Hanks and then repeatedly punches him before he's pulled away.
  • A cable yanks a piece of metal from a ship that then zips along, hitting Carl in the leg, nearly severing it from his body. We then see various shots of Carl lying on the deck with the bottom half of his leg turned the wrong way with lots of blood on it and the deck.



  • Reviewed October 4, 2000 / Posted November 10, 2000

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