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Private Benjamin (1980)

 -  Comedy | War  -  10 October 1980 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 14,647 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 17 critic

A sheltered young high society woman joins the army on a whim and finds herself in a more difficult situation than she ever expected.

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Title: Private Benjamin (1980)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Teddy Benjamin
...
Harriet Benjamin
...
Pvt. Mary Lou Glass
...
1st Sgt. Jim Ballard
...
Yale Goodman
...
Rabbi
Estelle Marlov ...
Vocalist at Wedding
Everett Covin ...
Bandleader
...
Arnie
Lee Wallace ...
Mr. Waxman
James Dybas ...
Photographer
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Storyline

When her husband dies in the wedding night Judy decides to join the army. What looks like a bad decision at first, turns out not so bad at all. That is, until her superior makes sexual advances. She is transferred to NATO headquarters in Europe and (re)meets the Frenchman Henri. Judy and Henri decide to marry, but will they ? Written by Berend Meijer <bmeijer@euronet.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

army | wedding night | wedding | nato | prank | See more »

Taglines:

The army was no laughing matter until Judy Benjamin joined it.

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Private Benjamin  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$69,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of of two movies that actor Armand Assante made with director Howard Zieff. The second would be Unfaithfully Yours (1984) made and released about four years later in 1984. See more »

Goofs

After the "war games", the women are back at their barracks and had been dancing to "We Are Family" and Captain Lewis comes in to address them wearing an off-white Australian-style "bush hat." On it, an improper eagle device, that of an enlisted woman, was clearly shown. Those of an officer do not have the circular brass base but are the more impressive large-eagle emblem of an officer. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: You did Claire's *dishes*?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Bill Murray/Lucinda Williams (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Riverside
(uncredited)
traditional spiritual
played by jazz band in lounge
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User Reviews

 
A woman searching for her identity
14 July 1999 | by (California) – See all my reviews

What I've always enjoyed about this film is that, once you get past all the slapstick and Jewish American Princess jokes, you find the story of a sheltered young woman seeking her identity and independence. Judy Benjamin has been raised in a very coddled existence, believing she can do nothing, and that her only value is to be someone's wife, or attached to a person in some way. When her husband dies on her wedding night, she foolishly joins the army, where her inability is played for laughs. But this is not what the film is really about, in the long run. When her parents come to retrieve her, Barbara Barrie as Judy's mom is literally holding the pen, showing Judy where to sign. To me, this scene is very believable. It's as if Judy finally realizes that she has set herself up to fail. She decides to stay and proves that she can do a good job, she just believed she couldn't.

Perhaps my perspective is different because I saw this film first in 1980 when I was 18 years old, but I still enjoy it to this day. I can overlook the portions that are not very PC by today's standards. It was, after all, a different world then. I find Goldie Hawn's performance to have great comic timing and believability. Eileen Brennan is memorable in her role, even though it is a bit stereotypical by today's standards. Barbara Barrie and Sam Wanamaker are hilarious as Judy's parents, and Robert Webber is unforgettable as Col. Clay Thornbush. I will always enjoy this film, perhaps always from a different viewpoint.


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