Scout’s Honor


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2001 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Tom Shepard, D. Stuart Harrison, Tina DiFeliciantonio, Andy Black, Howard Shack, Philippe Roques, Frank Green, Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdottir, Jim Klein, Chad Grochowski, David Pleger, Michael Magnaye


Director/Producer Tom Shepard has crafted an excellent account of the conflict between the antigay policies of the Boy Scouts of America and the broad-based movement by many of its members to overturn them. The result is a blemish that will undoubtedly stain this venerable organization for years to come. Scout’s Honor contextualizes this struggle historically and colors it with emotional portraits of those it has hurt the most – the boys and men who love scouting.

We learn of individuals whose choice to speak out against their expulsion drew national attention to this issue – the most prominent being James Dale, whose case against the Boy Scouts was recently heard by the United States Supreme Court. But much of the grassroots challenge has been waged from Petaluma, California, a small town more familiar with farming than activism. Here Shepard turns to the remarkable stories of a 12-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man. Both are heterosexual and, by speaking out against this discrimination, cause the very organization they cherish to turn against them. In 1998, their struggle was formalized with the founding of Scouting for All. While the battle is far from over, the fundamental Boy Scout doctrines, including “a scout is brave,” serve to empower these renegades to stand up to present leadership.

Scout’s Honor presents a powerful example of what can happen when citizens, straight and gay, unite around a common ideal – the rejection of exclusion from an American institution.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.