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Private Benjamin (1980)

 -  Comedy | War  -  10 October 1980 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 15,228 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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Title: Private Benjamin (1980)

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

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The misadventures of a spoiled young woman who joins the army and her friends.

Stars: Lorna Patterson, Hal Williams, Eileen Brennan
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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

The movie spurred a successful short lived TV series Private Benjamin (1981) which aired between 1981 and 1983 and won Emmy and Golden Globe awards. Actors Eileen Brennan and Hal Williams reprized their roles of Captain Doreen Lewis and Sergeant L.C. Ross respectively. Damita Jo Freeman also reprized her role, the name of Freeman's character was changed from Private Gloria Moe to Private Jackie Sims. See more »

Goofs

In the montage, Judy bounces a quarter on her bed and is supposed to catch it (like Captain Lewis did earlier), but only pretends to catch it. You can see the reflection of the quarter as it almost hits the bed, just before they cut to the next clip. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: My husband had a heart attack and died on our wedding night, while we were making love.
Pvt. Mary Lou Glass: Jesus! Benjamin! I don't get it, what do you do after a thing like that?
Judy Benjamin: Join the Army!
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

References An Unmarried Woman (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Riverside
(uncredited)
traditional spiritual
played by jazz band in lounge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Goldie as the world's most unlikely soldier...
30 August 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Thanks mainly to a clever script and the presence of GOLDIE HAWN and EILEEN BRENNAN, this is the kind of service comedy that brings back reminders of how this sort of thing was done back in the '40s with comedies like SEE HERE, PRIVATE HARGROVE or YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW or BUCK PRIVATES.

But this time, it's a woman enlistee who has to go through the rigors of boot camp (arguably, the best segments in the whole film and the funniest). Goldie is a spoiled rich girl who thinks the Army is going to be a respite from her problems as a woman who lost her husband on her wedding night. She's in for quite a learning experience and the gags come fast and furious for the first half-hour or so.

Then, when romance enters the story, it becomes rather uneven as she has an affair with a Frenchman, ARMAND ASSANTE, who turns out to be a first-class heel. By the end of the film, she decides to re-enlist rather than return to the civilian life she found so empty.

It's a decidedly uneven comedy, but Goldie's perfect comic timing and ability to switch gears when romance is called for, shows she had more dimension as an actress than anyone suspected. She was nominated for an Oscar for her Private Benjamin--and Eileen Brennan, hilarious as Capt. Doreen Lewis won a supporting role nomination.

Goldie's fans should love this one; and after all, it's not supposed to be taken seriously, it's all done tongue-in-cheek style.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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