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Private Benjamin (1980)

R | | Comedy, War | 10 October 1980 (USA)
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.

Director:

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. 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
...
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

Off-duty service men and women were used as extras for the war games and basic training sequences as the replica basic training course was so authentic. See more »

Goofs

Col. Clay Thornbush (Robert Webber) says that, during the Korean War, he took orders from Douglas MacArthur in 1952. He could not have done this, as MacArthur was relieved of command by President Truman on 10 April 1951. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Goodman: Judith. Just one thing. If you can remember. What were Yale's last words?
Judy Benjamin: I'm coming.
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

Spoofed in Army Brat 2 (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A near-great comedienne ups the ante on this one
14 March 2006 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

There are millions of comedies like "Private Benjamin". They are like TV shows that turn out the same joke week after week, (and "Private Benjamin" itself turned into a TV show). The best ones work and stay in the memory, not because the jokes are great, (though sometimes they are), but because the players are good and can develop the characters beyond the mere limitations of the gag. ("Frasier" and "The Golden Girls" fall into this category).

The jokes in "Private Benjamin" are not particularly original but they are funny, and they are funny because there is a near-great comedienne at the heart of Howard Zieff's film. With the right director Goldie Hawn's kookie, goof-ball wooziness was just about perfect and Zieff brings it out. Her character is the kind of woman who needs a good shaking, (Bette Davis would have made mincemeat out of her), but you love her all the same. At least until she starts making a fool of herself with Armand Assante's French sleaze-ball and the film loses it's comic momentum.

There is at least one other grand-standing comic turn from Eileen Brennan as Hawn's drill sergeant. Brennan's like a slightly butcher Mae West, (I think we're meant to assume she's a lesbian), and she gives her lines the kind of inflection that West did. Between them they raise the ante on this one.


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

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