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Private Benjamin (1980)

 -  Comedy | War  -  10 October 1980 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 15,356 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 & 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

The acronym for SHAPE, the real life central command of NATO military forces that Private Benjamin is assigned to in Belgium, stands for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. See more »

Goofs

The berets worn by the soldiers and army officers in the film show the typical folds of berets that clearly have never been worn. In real army life, this is how you recognize new recruits. Any beret which has been worn for more than a few months will stay in the shape pushed to one ear. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: Daddy - Mom just fainted.
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

Referenced in Rock Soup (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Body and Soul
(1930) (uncredited)
by Edward Heyman (as E. Heyman), Robert Sour (as R. Sour), Frank Eyton (as F. Eyton) and Johnny Green (as J. Green)
played by jazz band in lounge
See more »

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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.


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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