Blog | Scouts in the movies
Scouts have always been synonymous with the silver screen, from starring in silent movies like 1909’s Scouts to the Rescue, to making cameos in full-blown 21st century blockbusters like Spider-Man 3. Even one of the world’s biggest filmmakers, Steven Spielberg, was a Scout.
With this year’s Oscars imminent, we host our very own movie awards and hand out golden woggle-ettes to some of cinema’s funniest, weirdest, coolest and most inspiring Scouting highlights.
And the winners are...
Coolest Scout: Young Indy from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
It should come as no surprise that one of the coolest and most iconic characters in movie history was a Scout. Before whip-cracking his way through lost arks and temples of doom, Indiana Jones got an early taste for adventure as a Boy Scout, as depicted in the beginning of the third Indy outing, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Running atop moving trains, riding on horseback and defeating the bad guys is all in a day’s work for Young Indy (played by the late River Phoenix) – the coolest Scout the movie world has ever seen.
Most profound Scout moment: Remembering Scout camp from American Beauty (1999)
Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is suffering from a mid-life crisis and has forgotten what happiness is. Throwing in the towel at his dead-end/high-pressure job, Lester re-connects with his youth and manages to turn his life around and live out his final days in bliss.
Finally meeting at the film’s end, Lester’s life flashes before his eyes as he remembers his most memorable moments, including being at Scout camp: ‘For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars...’
Funniest Scout: Russell from Up (2009)
Pixar/Disney struck gold with the touching and hilarious Up, which follows a crotchety old geezer in search of one last adventure. By attaching his house to thousands of balloons, widower, Carl Fredricksen flies off to see the wonders of South America, though he accidentally takes a stowaway with him. Enter, Russell, a plucky eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer (not technically a Scout – but very similar), whose well-meaning antics inadvertently get him into numerous hilarious scrapes.
This isn’t Disney’s first foray into the world of Scouting: Donald Duck took his nephews Scouting way back in 1939 in the short film, Sea Scouts.
Weirdest Scout movie: Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
Giant aliens head for planet Earth in a bid to destroy all human life and conquer the planet. Taking two Boy Scouts prisoner from a World Scout Jamboree in Japan to prevent a giant turtle, Gamera, from attacking their invading ships, the aliens eventually brainwash the turtle and order it to destroy Tokyo. Luckily, the Boy Scouts re-wire the brainwashing device on the giant turtle’s neck and turn the monster against the aliens, saving the planet in the process.
Honestly, we’re not making this up: the Japanese Gamera vs. Viras was released in 1968 and seven more Gamera films followed, though none of these featured any Scouts unfortunately.
Let’s hope the WSJ in Japan 2015 is just as eventful...
Quirkiest Scout: Sam from Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
In Wes Anderson’s quirky, Scouty masterpiece (director Anderson was a Scout in real life, as were stars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman), a young Scout, Sam, flees his Group on an island off the coast of New England so he can be with the girl he loves. With his fellow Scouts and leaders in hot pursuit, Sam must use all his cunning to stay one step ahead.
Part romantic, part adventurer, part poet, Sam personifies the complex eccentricity that permeates through all of Wes Anderson’s movies. Wise beyond his years and resourceful in times of crisis, Sam’s like a young Baden-Powell with a Ryan Gosling edge – a truly memorable Scout.
Most inspiring Scout moment: Bonding over badges from The Great Escape (1963)
An all-time classic and holiday favourite, this WWII epic is probably best remembered for Steve McQueen’s crazy motorbike antics and its catchy theme tune, but there’s an often-forgotten Scouty moment that remains the film’s true highlight.
An American POW and a German guard momentarily put their differences aside in one particularly memorable scene and bond over their time at Scouts. They enjoy some friendly rivalry over how many badges each of them earned and forget, albeit briefly, that they are at war. A subtle but moving tribute to the power of Scouting...
Scariest Scout moment: Sam confronts the monster from It (1990)
Tim Curry scared the life out of a generation as Pennywise the clown in this TV-movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It. In a spine-chilling scene, Stan, a Scout and one of the ill-fated kids haunted by the evil clown, uses his Scout Oath and Scout Law as mantras against fear. It works, but only for so long...
Coincidentally, Stephen King developed his unique storytelling style at Scouts, where he wrote a play for his Troop at the age of 11. According to the horror icon, it was ‘a big hit.’
Most anticipated Scout movie: Boy Scouts versus Zombies (2015)
As yet, little is known about this forthcoming horror/comedy, though filming is set to commence later this year with the film hoping to reach cinemas sometime in 2015. We wonder if Hollywood got the inspiration from our previous Scout zombie survival guide? If so, we want a writing credit...
We want Scouts to recreate their own favourite movie moments. Post your pics/videos on our Facebook page.