Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. GySgt Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Supposedly, the OCS candidate school shown here at Whidbey Island (they never had an OCS in reality) is the basic starting point to fly jets after completing training. They make it a point to show the jet next to the new candidates in their street clothes, yet, throughout the movie, not one jet is heard, not one runway is seen, not one trip to a jet hangar is made, let alone visible, and made even more suspicious when Dela Sera at TJ's tells Zach about Paula, "that's a flight instructor she's with." A flight training school without airplanes. See more »
[whispered to sleeping father]
[flashback to Manila]
Hey, kid! Are you Zack?
I'm Byron; nice to meet you. Come on, let's get your bags, OK?
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With special thanks to Art Kulman of the Washington State Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development, Fort Worden State Park, Gus Gustafson, Brent Shirley, and the people of Port Townsend, Washington. See more »
I went to Navy OCS (for ship drivers, not aviators) a year after this movie came out. A lot of us considered it one of the best movies ever made. Despite the fact that there is some serious license taken with reality, the movie captures the intensity and high stakes of OCS, and how people who barely know each other become bonded so quickly; how the least likely candidates sometimes become the star performers; how some people are changed beyond recognition by the experience. There was never a lack of old hands like Sid's father, telling you you had it easy because of some difference in the rules he didn't enjoy 10 years earlier. DOR is translated by Foley as "drop on request". In 1983, the terminology was DE, which meant dis enroll. I always wondered what happened to the candidates in my class who DE'd. The ones who graduated I kept running into in the fleet, sometimes in places like the Philippines. The most unrealistic thing about the movie was the premise that local girls want to marry officer candidates. Not so in Pensacola or Newport RI, where OCS was in those days. The locals actually called us behind our backs "cockroaches" because we wore all black and had to run away to our barracks by 10 pm. The second most unrealistic thing was the foul language. That comes later, in the fleet, but not in OCS. No we did not have martial arts duels. All in all, however, the essence of the experience, if not the specifics, is found in the movie. One of our marching songs went "left right left right / you HAD a good job and you LEFT / you're RIGHT!" We really did have nowhere else to go. I say 10 stars. The VHS version gets only 8 because of changes to the soundtrack songs.
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