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Private Benjamin (1980)

 -  Comedy | War  -  10 October 1980 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 15,358 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 17 critic

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

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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 on their wedding night, Judy decides to join the United States Army. She realizes that she has never been independent in her entire life. What looks like a bad decision at first, turns out not so bad at all. That is, until her superior officer makes sexual advances on her. She has been transferred to NATO headquarters in Europe and (re)meets the Frenchman Henri Tremont. Judy and Henri decide to marry, but will they? Written by Berend Meijer <bmeijer@euronet.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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:

La pícara recluta  »

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

Actress Goldie Hawn was five months pregnant with daughter Kate Hudson when she was approached by writer Nancy Meyers with a story outline for this movie. Hawn said after reading it: "You write the damned thing and I'll produce it". See more »

Goofs

After Judy has arranged her posting to Europe, there are aerial shots of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. This is followed by a voice-over of Judy describing how lovely it is "here in Belgium". The next shot shows her posting location - S.H.A.P.E. headquarters, which actually is in Belgium - followed by another shot with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Why would she live in Paris if she works in Mons, 2.5 hour's drive away? See more »

Quotes

Yale Goodman: Lift your back leg.
Judy Benjamin: I don't have a back leg.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue:

When Judy Benjamin was eight years old, she confessed her life's desire to her best friend.

"All I want," Judy whispered, "is a big house... nice clothes, two closets, a live-in maid, and a professional man for a husband."

Today, all of Judy's dreams come true. See more »

Connections

Followed by Private Benjamin (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Hava Nagila
(uncredited)
Israeli folk song
played at Judy and Yale's wedding reception
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Enlist with Judy. You could use a good laugh.
22 January 2003 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

Hawn's string of successes in the 1980's, Swing Shift, Overboard, Protocol, Seems Like Old Times, and Private Benjamin, are among my favorite comedies of all time. She has timing, presence, and character galore, and this one may just be at the top of my Goldie Hawn list.

The cast is extraordinary. Eileen Brennan is a showstopper as the, shall we say, less than feminine company commander and Benjamin's nemesis, but that's not the start of it. There's an embarrassment of talent here. Craig T. Nelson as the amorous Capt. Woodbridge, Armand Assante as the even more amorous Henri Tremont who sexes Benjamin up, and the still more amorous Albert Brooks, the husband who dies sexing her up, are all stellar. But Sam Wanamaker (see The Competition) and Robert Webber (both sadly deceased) are male role models who may not exactly set the bar very high as father figures, but add a delightful pseudo-machismo as counterpoint to all the talented women.

Mary Kay Place seems so young as a fellow recruit, even more so than in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which is a nice segue to the fact that this, like many Hawn movies, draws from a distinguished television pedigree to deliver its surprising success.

This is one of those perfect little movies that I pull out of the DVD closet several times a year like visiting with an old friend, and it just occurred to me why. It's not nihilistic or deconstructionist or multi-plotted or any of the other crap that has supplanted story and dialog in too many movies since. It's sad that the only available version of the DVD is in pan and scan, as with some other great movies of this era, but I keep hoping for a widescreen release.

Favorite Line: "There are mine fields out there. Most of them are inert. However, some are ert." My recommendation: Enlist with Judy. You could use a good laugh.


12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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