Those Aren’t Real Scouts Taking Down Zombies on the Big Screen

Those Aren’t Real Scouts Taking Down Zombies on the Big Screen

Did you catch the flick about the Everest-scaling Scout who risked his life shielding another climber from an avalanche? What about the one following a Scout turned World War II submarine commander who earned the Medal of Honor after leading some of the most daring wartime maneuvers to date?

Of course you didn’t. Those legends weren’t born from a script. They’re the true stories of Scouting.

Scouts saving the world isn’t a work of fiction or a flashy film hitting theaters this fall. It’s reality. Scouts are saving lives, innovating for the future, and making waves in sustainability 24/7. Often, the truth behind these good turns is too incredible to be scripted. But that doesn’t stop current pop culture from drawing on the universally recognized Scout persona, featured in everything from commercials to movies boasting big stars.

And sure, we’d want Scouts on our side if a zombie apocalypse ever sent the living dead knocking on our doors. After all, we know Scouts are lifesavers in times of crisis. But we want to be clear: we have no affiliation with the film Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Read on to learn why.

Why do movies and TV shows often feature Scouts?

Imagine you’re writing a movie script and you want to create a hero who audiences will automatically recognize, you might just pick a Boy Scout-like character.  Scouts are recognized – for good reason – as trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. When you portray a character as a Scout, audiences expect all that and a few good turns on screen. A Scout is a screenwriter’s dream character. Not to mention, Scout-like characters are a way to connect with fifty million Scouting alumni.

All the same, the references (some we love and others we don’t) have evolved over the years. You can see some of the most notable uses of Scouting in pop culture by checking out our previous blogs on the subject:

What about unfavorable pop culture references and depictions?

Sometimes writers play off the Scout persona with very un-Scout-like characters who sport uniforms suspiciously similar to those of the BSA. To the dismay of professional Scouters, volunteers, and Scouts, these portrayals don’t give Scouts the credit they deserve.

Which brings us to the film Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, possibly coming to a theater near you on Halloween.

The Boy Scouts of America is not affiliated with this movie and in no way endorses its content or depicted themes. The film is rated R and contains material which does not reflect the BSA’s values. This film is not appropriate for our youth audiences, and we don’t believe the behavior of the characters in this film represents how Scouts should live out the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

The characters in the film, referred to as “Scouts,” are portrayed wearing uniforms with badges and other design so close to the BSA’s official uniform that movie-goers might assume the characters are actual Boy Scouts. To be clear, they are not. Nevertheless, the film is a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment, which generally speaking affords filmmakers and other artists a certain degree of latitude to evoke and refer to other organizations in creative works. That freedom, while not absolute, applies to even works of dubious artistic value.

What is the BSA’s take on “Scouts” in current TV and movies?

With a century of Scouting memories coloring the fabric of American culture, we have an esteemed brand and reputation to protect. We want every Scout who dons a uniform (or even a Scouting t-shirt) to feel proud of the organization he or she is representing.

For this reason, we strive to be careful of what pop culture references we align ourselves with. We do not approve of nor associate ourselves with films like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse  that do not represent the values and ideals BSA promotes.

On the other hand, some Scouts who pop up on TV and in movies have Scouting’s support. For instance, American Ninja Warrior’s #NinjaScout Jackson Meyer got the all clear to wear his uniform on national TV and represent Scouts across the country on the hardest obstacle course in the world.

We recommend skipping this movie altogether, going outside and investing in the lives of some young people.  You never know when one of them will do something heroic and be the inspiration for a “based on a true story” movie.

For more information on how the BSA works to protect our brand, head to the “Protecting the Brand” page on

Gina Circelli

Gina Circelli is the Digital Editor for Boys' Life. She loves sharing news about Scouts who shake up pop culture or contribute to their communities in a big way. If you have story ideas, reach out to the team at


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Those Aren’t Real Scouts Taking Down Zombies on the Big Screen
Those Aren’t Real Scouts Taking Down Zombies on the Big Screen
Those Aren’t Real Scouts Taking Down Zombies on the Big Screen