Private Benjamin (1980)

R  |   |  Comedy, War  |  10 October 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 17,153 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 22 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 1 win & 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


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Comedy | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La pícara recluta  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


$69,800,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


One of the ribbons worn by Capt. Doreen Lewis is for the Woman's Army Corps Service Medal. The Women's Army Corps Service Medal was awarded for service in both the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps during the period 10 Jul 42 - 31 Aug 43 and the Women's Army Corps during the period 1 Sep 43 - 2 Sep 45, even tho the Woman's Army Corps was around until the 1970's. See more »


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


Spoofed in Army Brat (1987) See more »


Bridal Chorus
from "Lohengrin"
by Richard Wagner
played by string quartet at French chateau wedding
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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