"A Navy diver is not a fighting man, he's a Salvage expert. If it's lost underwater, he finds it. If it's sunk, he brings it up. If it's in the way, he moves it! If he's lucky he will die young, two-hundred feet beneath the waves, for that is the closest he will ever get to being a hero! Hell, I don't know why anybody would want to be a Navy diver. Now report to this line cookie!" (Billy Sunday, played by Robert De Niro.) Men of Honor, is based on the life story of a black man named Carl Brashear, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., who though sheer determination reached a goal he'd always dreamed of and proved society wrong. This film thoroughly displays the determination Brashear has throughout tough times and the honor he gains from others who presented those tough times, also displaying the adversity Brashear overcomes because of the color of his skin.
Men of Honor is about the life of Carl Brashear, and how he had always dreamed of becoming someone important. As he loaded that bus for the Navy, he was determined to make a difference. When he saw the white men having fun swimming just off the side of the boat, he thought he'd enjoy himself too. A black man swimming with a white man was strictly prohibited and unheard of. When the captain of the boat saw how fast of a swimmer Brashear was, he offered him a better job working on the Navy boat, but Brashear wasn't satisfied. He decided he wanted to be a diver. Carl Brashear was the first black man to ever pass diving school. The white men didn't make it easy on him, calling him a "nigger" and not bunking with him. As time went on he gained respect and honor from all his co-workers, who were white. Soon after, Brashear was in an unfortunate accident on a Navy boat and had his leg severed. It had to be amputated. He became the first amputee to be reinstated back to full active duty and was soon after pronounced the first black Master Chief Diver, something he'd always dreamed of. Robert Ebert, a subtle, film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, stated that, "Men of Honor is an old-fashioned biopic. It isn't pumped up with phony action scenes but follows the curve of Brashear's life as it intersects with another man, Master Chief Diver, Billy Sunday. Sunday is a red neck who at first hates Carl and then gradually changes his mind." Ebert brought the concepts of my two main points together. Brashear, determined to earn honor, gets honor. From being a slave-like sharecropper's son to Master Chief Diver in the United States Navy, Carl Brashear proves his beliefs that he is as good as, or equal to any white man and that the color of a person's skin shouldn't keep anybody from reaching their goals.
"Men of Honor marches proudly through this resume as determination overcomes adversity right in front of the camera." (Ebert) Ebert's concept stated here really pulls together the meaning of the film. All the misfortune Brashear undertakes keeps him determined to do great things in his life, proving almost everybody wrong. Determination is a big part of the story line and of Brashear's life. According to Ebert, The most gripping scene of the movie was when the day arrived for the final diving examination and all odds were against Brashear passing the course. Mr. Pappy, "the ugliest opponent of Brashear's dream," and the overseer of the entire diving school, wasn't going to pass a black man, and he let Sunday know that in advance, telling him that he would fire him if he let him pass (Ebert). If Brashear were to perfectly assemble a pipe under the water, he would pass. He suited up and dove under the water anxiously awaiting his tool bag. Sunday nodded to another student so he would slit the side of the tool bag with a knife and toss it into the water. This dispersed all the tools needed to assemble the pipe all along the ocean floor making it nearly impossible. The water was freezing, making his hands shake as he tried to assemble the pipe. Ice was forming around the edge of his diving mask....
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