Men of HonorNovember 10, 2000
The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 6.9/10 (43,946 voted)
Critic's Score: 56/100
George Tillman Jr.
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron
The story ultimately revolves around two "men of honor"; their relationship, their individual and joint failures and triumphs. Carl Brashear is determined to be the first African American Navy Diver in a time where racism is strife. Leslie Sunday is his embittered trainer, determined to see him fail. Fate, challenges and circumstances eventually draw these two men together in a tale of turbulance and ultimately triumph.
Robert De Niro
Master Chief Billy Sunday
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Chief Carl Brashear
MM1 Dylan Rourke
PO2 Timothy Douglas Isert
History is made by those who break the rules.
Release Date: 10 November 2000
Filming Locations: Cathlamet, Washington, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $13,339,465
(12 November 2000)
(4 March 2001)
Did You Know?
In the hearing to determine if Senior Chief Brashear can remain a diver, his insignia is gold and Chief Sunday's is red. Chief Sunday has had a record of bad conduct. Gold chevrons are used if an enlisted man has a good conduct record of at least 12 years.
In the initial scene in the barracks a modern fire extinguisher is seen hanging on the wall in the background. At this time the barracks would have had either a simple water bucket or a more primitive extinguisher.
Think you deserve to be here, don't ya? Fraternizing among navy men? Think you're as good as they are? How 'bout me, cookie? You better than me?
You're damn right I am!
An inspirational story with some shortcomings
Military training films are becoming so common that they are becoming a
genre unto themselves. Among the more prominent we have, `Officer and a
Gentleman', `Top Gun', `GI Jane', and now `Men of Honor'. The fact that
this one happened to be true doesn't change the fact that the formula is the
same. This film is probably most like `GI Jane' since it focuses on the
The story is actually quite inspirational and is probably the best
human-interest story among those mentioned above. Carl Brashear (Cuba
Gooding, Jr.) is unquestionably a man of great courage and principle, and
his strength of character shines through brightly in this film.
Unfortunately, director George Tillman has tunnel vision in presenting the
characters and eschews character development of various characters other
than Brashear in favor of showing Brashear in a constant state of adversity.
Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) is a central figure, and except for the
initial scene, the fistfight and a couple of scenes with his wife, we don't
know much about him. For instance, Brashear sees the scars on Sunday's
palms and we are to assume that he worked a plow, but there is no follow-up
on that point. Mr. Pappy (Hal Holbrook) gets only one short scene by which
we can judge him. The rest of his screen time shows him pacing around and
ranting. If a director is going to make a human-interest story, he needs to
humanize the characters.
Cuba Gooding Jr. gives an outstanding performance as Brashear. This is
probably the best I've seen him. This is a role and a character that is far
more complete than any part he has played before, and he rises to the
occasion. In `Jerry Maguire', Rod Tidwell was a fascinating, but
one-dimensional character with the depth of a rain puddle. Brashear is much
more complex and grounded, and the issues he faces are life crises, making
the part far more challenging. This is an excellent recovery from Gooding's
last role in `Chill Factor', a film so dreadful that it was almost an act of
professional suicide to take the part.
After a stint trying his hand as a comedian (`Analyze This', `The Adventures
of Rocky & Bullwinkle', `Meet The Parents'), Robert DeNiro is back to his
dramatic roots with an outstanding performance. DeNiro isn't a bad
comedian, he is just such a great dramatic actor that it seems like he
shouldn't waste his time doing comedy. DeNiro endows Billy Sunday with a
rock hard personality belying a tortured soul. It is a pleasure watching
It seems every film I watch lately has Charlize Theron in it. I saw `The
Legend of Bagger Vance', `Men of Honor' and `The Yards' right in a row and I
was beginning to wonder if she had a part in every film in 2000 (actually,
she only did five). This was a minor role for Theron, but she carried it
off well and managed to stay with DeNiro step for step. David Keith, who
co-starred with Richard Gere in `Officer and a Gentleman', has a cameo
The DVD has some interesting special features, including reflections by the
real Carl Brashear and some deleted scenes.
I enjoyed this film despite the hackneyed plot and the one-dimensional
presentation. I rated it a 7/10. I'm a sucker for underdog stories and I
have a fondness for stories where strength of character is the central
theme. This film is particularly strong in both areas and brings us two
memorable acting performances that compensate for some of the director's