The Lords of Discipline

1983 film by Franc Roddam

The Lords of Discipline is a 1983 film about a Cadet Senior Private at a southern military school, who has been assigned to watch over the first black student at the school to ensure that he makes it through the year. This assignment forces him to stand against the power of "The Ten", an alleged secret brotherhood within the Corps of Cadets sworn to uphold CMI's highest any and all means necessary.

Directed by Franc Roddam. Written by Lloyd Fonvielle and Thomas Pope, based on the novel by Pat Conroy.
One hundred years of the finest school turning out the finest young men. IT WAS ALL A LIE. One cadet is about to expose the system. (taglines)

Lieutenant General Bentley DurrellEdit

  • The Institute's code of honor is a simple one. A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do. It is a simple code, but it is a stern code. There are no second chances here. One is either an honorable man or one is not! And the Institute does not forgive. Make no mistake, gentlemen. Life here is hard. But the Institute's unique system produces a superior breed of man. One this country needs now, more than ever. Because America is fat, gentlemen. America is fat! Sloppy! Immoral! And she needs men of iron to set her on the right path again. America needs Institute men! Men you are not now. But for those of you who have the courage to remain- men you shall become.
  • I loathe deliberate cruelty, because I'm a soldier- not a sadist. The system works, but it needs- it must have- your active participation. The Institute is asking for your help, Will. And so am I.
  • Gentlemen, I had a rather long speech to deliver to you this evening. But less than one hour ago I received a... message. A message that, I feel, expresses the ideals of the Ring, far better than any words I could command. With your permission, I would like to read it to you. "To General Bentley Durrell, Commander, Carolina Military Institute. General; It is with the deepest sadness that I must inform you of the death of your son, Jack. He was killed in a practicing parachute descent. It may help you to know that it was a simple accident, that no one was at fault, and that your boy suffered no pain. He was a fine soldier. Considerate, intelligent, and always attentive to his duty." [Raising his glass in a toast] Gentlemen, the Ring.

Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" BerrineauEdit

  • You know the rules, Alexander. Mr. Pearce is a plebe and you've got a job to do. But you touch a hair on one of my lambs and you pay The Bear.
  • [To Will, about CMI's Corps of Cadets] These are the finest young men in the world; and you're one of 'em. That ring on your hand says so. And I say so.


Plebe: Sir! Mr. Alexander, sir! Permission to cross your quad, sir!
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander: Rack that chin in, scumbag! You look like a piece of shit.
Cadet Officer 1: Eyes front, maggot. Eyes front! What's your name, screw? Pop off!
Plebe: Sir! I-
Cadet Officer 1: Shut up! Tell me your name!
Plebe: Sir! My name's-
Cadet Officer 2: Shut up.
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander: Can't you hear, scum? He just told you to shut up.
Plebe: Sir, no excuse-
Cadet Officer 2: Shut up!
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander: [Smirking] We gonna break you, boy. We love to break knobs.

Will McLean: What are you looking for?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Fly shit in sugar.... there.
[The Bear points at a line of plebes standing across the quad; all are white except one, who is being yelled at by the Regimental Commander]
Will McLean: God-almighty-damn.
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: He ain't here to fry chicken or mow the lawn. Nigger's joining the long gray line.
Will McLean: Yeah, for about one night, till the Corps of Cadets finds out a, a-
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Yeah. A pickaninny, a jigaboo, a coon. Why not plain old nigger? He's gonna hear 'em all, and worse, by tomorrow.
Will McLean: Well, what do you want with me? [The Bear looks pointedly at him] Bear, you're the Commandant of Cadets, it's your job to-
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: It's not my job to play favorites. No, it's gonna have to be a cadet who runs interference for Mr. Pearce.
Will McLean: Yeah, but interference against the whole Corps?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: If that's what it takes.
Will McLean: Oh, Bear... [Turns away, then looks back at the Bear] Colonel, are you a racist?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Yeah. I'm a racist. I'd like nothin' better than to see Mr. Pearce move his black ass right outta here.
Will McLean: Well, then why not let 'im get pushed?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Because from now on Pearce is one of my lambs, and all of my lambs get an even break.
Will McLean: Yeah, but puttin' my neck out for-
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Who looked out for you when you were a screw-up knob?
Will McLean: Well, you did.
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Who saw something in you besides arrogance? Who made you into a cadet?
Will McLean: Bear, you did.
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Bubba, I'm calling my marker due.

[Will is on leave in Charleston at the St. Croix mansion, after Poteete's death]
Tradd St. Croix: If you ask me it's the General's fault for letting somebody like that in. Or Poteete's father! Now he should've known that the guy was unbalanced.
Will McLean: Yeah, it's just something that he said... [After a brief silence, Will looks at Tradd] Tradd, you wouldn't let Pearce in here, would you?
Tradd St. Croix: Not unless he was coming to cut the grass. [Another pause] Will, I don't have anything against Pearce. It's just the way things are. The way they've always been.

Will McLean: Bear, what's the Ten?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: Well, Bubba, when I was a cadet here, back before the beginning of time...
Will McLean: Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: That's right, Bubba. Well, they'd say that the Corps sleeps, the cadre sleeps. But the Ten, they don't never sleep.
Will McLean: And what's the Hole?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: They say that's where the Ten take you, if you've crossed the Institute in thought, word, or deed. They take you on a ride, and you go down the Hole. Deep into the bowels of the Earth. Into hellfire. And even if you came out alive, you'd wish you was dead.
Will McLean: Bear, is the Hole a real place?
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: I don't know, Bubba. Is Hell a real place?
Will McLean: I don't know.
Lieutenant Colonel "The Bear" Berrineau: I don't know either, Bubba, but I sure as hell don't want to go there, you know what I mean?


  • One hundred years of the finest school turning out the finest young men. IT WAS ALL A LIE. One cadet is about to expose the system.


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