As of February 12, 2006, the film grossed an approximate total of US$17.2 million in the United States, and was produced for a $26-million budget. Annapolis scored mostly negative reviews from critics but found an audience on DVD selling over 4 million copies and staying on top 10 rental lists around the U.S. This movie is a cult film.
The movie begins with Jake Huard (Franco) waking up after being knocked down during a boxing match. After returning to his feet and beating his opponent, he returns to the home he shares with his distant father (Brian Goodman), who is also his employer at a naval shipyard, building vessels for the Navy. It is revealed that his mother died an unspecified time ago, and his father doubts his ability to be anything.
The next day, Huard is visited by LCDR Burton (Wahlberg), who reveals that his application to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland has been recently accepted. At a bar where Huard and his friends are celebrating his acceptance, his friends introduce him to a young woman named Ali (Brewster), whom they claim is a prostitute hired as a going-away present. Huard's attempts to seduce Ali are unsuccessful, and his farewell with his father leaves him frustrated.
On his first day at the Academy, Huard discovers that one of his instructors is Ali, a Midshipman 2nd Class (an upperclassman) is the same woman that his friends introduced him to. She and her fellow instructor, Whitaker, begin hazing Huard's class of plebes, and it is revealed that Huard in particular is behind academically. Their company commanding officer, Midshipman Lieutenant 1st Class Cole (Gibson), is revealed to have been an enlisted Marine prior to joining the Academy, and announces his intent to run out any midshipman he deems unfit to be an officer. Huard's roommates include Nance (Shannon) (nicknamed Twins because he is too overweight to complete the obstacle course), Loo (Fan), and Estrada (Calderon), who is being singled out by Whitaker because of his ethnicity.
As time goes on, Estrada is kicked out for lying to Whitaker and attempting to assault Loo when he informs on Estrada to Cole. Estrada was kicked out because he supposed to take a shower. Huard's class becomes increasingly frustrated from suffering due to his failures, as evidenced by Loo moving out of the room. Nance explains his refusal to leave by noting that the instructors are so focused on Huard that they are leaving him alone. Returning home on winter leave, he intends not to return until he discovers that his father made a wager, expecting him to fail. Upon his return, the class begins instruction in boxing, and it is announced that a midshipman tournament, the Brigades, will occur at the end of the year. After Huard angers the boxing instructor with some unsportsmanlike conduct toward Cole in the ring, he is forced to train by himself.
After an after-hours match with Burton, Huard swallows his pride and admits he needs help training, enlisting Ali and Burton for physical training, and Nance to gain enough weight to be in Cole's weight class. In his match with Loo, he endures some taunting and returns with a single-punch knockout, earning him Loo's respect and support, along with the rest of his class when he proves capable of performing academically. He progresses through the tournament and defeats Whitaker in the semifinals, leaving Huard and Cole for the final match.
After Nance fails by just four seconds to successfully complete the obstacle course within five minutes, Cole informs Nance that he will be separated from the Academy, in other words Nance was kicked out of the academy for failing the obstacle course. Nance attempts suicide, which prompts Huard to tackle Cole in anger. Expecting to be kicked out, Huard begins to pack up and leave, until Cole approaches him and informs him that he has requested more time from the disciplinary board in order to delay the hearing until after the final Brigades match. After some encouragement from the recovering Nance, Huard steps into the ring to fight Cole, lasting a full three rounds. Although Cole wins by decision, Huard's boxing ability earns him the respect of the entire Academy, as well as his father (who has come to see the fight despite being behind schedule on the current ship he is building).
At his subsequent hearing, the disciplinary board decides to retain Huard, based on Cole's recommendation. The class of 2008 celebrates the end of their Plebe year, while Huard and Ali finally express their mutual attraction openly. Huard approaches newly-commissioned Second Lieutenant Cole to ask who would have won if the fight had continued, to which Cole challenges Huard to join the Marines to find out.James Franco as Midshipman 4th Class Jake Huard
Tyrese Gibson as Midshipman 1st Class Matthew Cole
Jordana Brewster as Midshipman 2nd Class Ali
Vicellous Reon Shannon as Twins
Roger Fan as Loo
Wilmer Calderon as Estrada
Donnie Wahlberg as Lieutenant Commander Burton
Chi McBride as McNally
Brian Goodman as Bill Huard
Billy Finnigan as Kevin
Jim Parrack as A.J.
Charles Napier as Supt. Carter
Heather Henderson as Daniels
McCaleb Burnett as Whitaker
Matt Myers as Mr. Nance
John Fahy as Midshipman
Sam Winder as Flaming Midshipman
The score by Brian Tyler was released, but the soundtrack was not.
- "Nowhere Ride" - The Chelsea Smiles
- "More Human than Human" - White Zombie
- "When I'm Gone" - No Address
- "Just Stop" - Disturbed
- "Different Stars" - Trespassers William
- "Somersault" - Zero 7
- "Born Too Slow" - The Crystal Method
- "Hero of the Day" - Metallica
- "Start Something" - Lostprophets
The film was considered a box office bomb, as it failed to break even with production costs. It received mostly negative reviews from critics, and holds a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 111 reviews.
Upon reviewing the script, the Chief of Naval Information commented:
This picture was made without the support of the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense ... the story depicted in the script did not accurately portray the Academy, its standards for training, and its methods of shaping midshipmen mentally, morally and physically for service in the U.S. Navy. Based on this, the producers were not allowed further access to the Academy grounds or provided with any other support for the filming.
Navy personnel should avoid the appearance of support to the film as members of the Department of the Navy. Anyone attending a screening or promotional activity for the film should not attend in uniform.
Because of the lack of access to Annapolis Naval Academy, the movie was filmed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Girard College at the decommissioned Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.