The Lords of Discipline (film)

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The Lords of Discipline
Poster of the movie The Lords of Discipline.jpg
Directed by Franc Roddam
Produced by Herb Jaffe
Gabriel Katzka
Written by Lloyd Fonvielle
Thomas Pope
from the novel by
Pat Conroy
Starring
Music by Howard Blake
Cinematography Brian Tufano
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • February 18, 1983 (1983-02-18)
Running time
103 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $11,787,127

The Lords of Discipline is a 1983 American film based on the novel by Pat Conroy and directed by Franc Roddam.[1]

The film stars David Keith, Robert Prosky, Judge Reinhold, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Michael Biehn, and Olympic boxer Mark Breland. The college scenes were filmed primarily at Wellington College in England, as none of the American military academies would allow filming on their grounds because of the book's less-than-positive portrayal of life at a military academy.[citation needed]

The film was not filmed entirely in England. The restaurant scene with Bobby Bentley, Commerce's home, and the train track scene were filmed in Charleston, South Carolina over a period of two weeks.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Will McLean is a senior cadet at the Carolina Military Institute, a school that outwardly promises to produce men of honor but practices brutal hazing against the junior cadets. Among these are the overweight Poteete and the Institute's first black cadet, Tom Pearce. McLean's mentor, Lt. Col. "Bear" Berrineau, asks him to protect Pearce. McLean's roommates at the Institute are "Pig" Pignetti, Mark Santoro and Tradd St. Croix, the last of whom offers him a key to his parents' house.

As the term begins, McLean's roommates participate in breaking in the new cadets, while McLean remains aloof. This draws the attention of the school's commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Bentley Durrell, who warns him not to be soft. Both Poteete and Pearce become targets of the Ten, a traditional clandestine group of seniors dedicated to ridding the school of "unfit" cadets. Poteete is left standing all night on a high ledge and falls to his death, and Pearce is attacked and has the number 10 carved in his back. McLean's attempts to protect him are thwarted when someone intercepts their communications. Together with his roommates, he kidnaps Dan McIntyre, a former member of the Ten, and forces him to disclose the location of the Hole, the place where they take cadets to be tortured. McLean and his friends arrive at the Hole just as Pearce is threatened with immolation. They distract the Ten and McLean unmasks one of them, John Alexander.

The Ten retaliate by having Pignetti charged with theft and expelled by an Honor Court that they control. Alexander issues a large number of demerits against the rest of McLean's faction, placing them also at risk of expulsion. McLean offers to resign if Alexander will show leniency towards Santoro and Tradd, which Alexander accepts. Before he can submit his resignation, McLean sees McIntyre on campus meeting with Bear and Tradd's father. He enters the St. Croix house and discovers the history of the Ten from Mr. St. Croix's journals. Not only have the Ten been operating for years, but Durrell supports their activities. Most shockingly, Tradd is a member and has kept them ahead of McLean at every step. McLean confronts Tradd and throws the house key at him.

McLean returns to the Institute and marches into Durrell's office. He demands that the senior class, with Pignetti reinstated, be allowed to graduate; that the Ten be disbanded and exposed; and that Durrell resign at the end of the year. If Durrell does not agree, the journals will be sent to the press. Durrell accepts the terms for the sake of the Institute. McLean remains at CMI until graduation day to see the deal through, but he remains disgusted by the corruption and chooses not to graduate himself. As he walks out the gates of the Institute, Bear hands him his class ring, telling him that he earned it.

Cast[edit]

Legacy[edit]

An episode of NCIS, "Cadence" (season 12, episode 14), has some similarity to the film. It centers around the "Remington Military Academy", which has a secret society similar to the Ten- Honor Corps- and includes a character nicknamed "Piggy", versus the film's character Dante "Pig" Pignetti.

References[edit]

External links[edit]