An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
129 Reviews
Sort by:
A Classic 20 years on...
Stacey Woods25 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has certainly survived the test of time, in that it can still provoke a happy yet poignant tear when everything turns out for the best in the end. And that really is the source of its appeal.

College graduate Zack Mayo (Gere) enlists in the Naval Officer Candidate programme to realize his ambition of flying fighter jets, and also to escape a haunted past of his mother's suicide and his alcoholic sailor father.

While training, not only does he have to survive the Drill Instructor (Gossett Jr) but he also recognises the solitude that has been holding him back his whole life. Throw Debra Winger into the mix as the girl looking for a husband amongst the class and David Keith as Mayo's best friend with his own problems, then you have this classic movie.

I have seen this movie many times and it never gets boring. Richard Gere is at his most powerful here and I don't think he's ever had a better role. The supporting cast is also solid, with Gossett Jr. firmly deserving his Academy Award and Winger proving once again that she is thoroughly underrated by Hollywood.

A firm 10/10 from me.
41 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More true than you might think.
elvismanson18 February 2005
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.
77 out of 88 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great story of self-discovery made even better by strong performances
jaspertown7718 June 2002
'An Officer And A Gentleman' is a brilliant film with great performances from Richard Gere, Louis Gossett Jr. and Debra Winger. Richard Gere embodies the character of Zack Mayo, a troubled young man who, due to neglect and ill parenting by a military father, signs up with the Navy to get some direction in his misguided life.

Mayo's life is made even harder by the ball-busting Sergeant Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.) upon his arrival at the barracks, and he struggles to find his place. However, he does find it in himself to stand-up to the overbearing Foley and his own inner-demons and, during the course of the film, goes from being selfish, weak and undisciplined to considerate, strong and determined. His will, as well as the love of the beautiful Paula (Debra Winger) and the guidance of Foley, makes him stay the course and lifts him 'up where he belongs'.

Richard Gere is great in adding layers to what could have been a poorly drawn characterisation. Mayo is not always the 'good guy' and is more often than not a complete prick. Nevertheless, he undertakes a journey of self-discovery where he refuses to become a carbon copy of his father and takes hold of his own destiny, turning himself into the man he wants to be. Gere has never been better on film than when he screams, `I got nowhere else to go!' at Foley in such a heartbreaking howl that the audience can literally feel his pain.

Debra Winger is also good as Paula, a downtrodden factory girl trapped in a small-minded small town with a lack of opportunities for women. She not only finds a way out in her love for Mayo, but the hope of a better future somewhere else. Louis Gossett Jr. also stands out as the foul-mouthed, domineering Sergeant Foley who proves to be pivotal in Mayo's journey.

With a great soundtrack, strong performances and the most rousing and emotional final scene in a film since 'Rocky', 'An Officer And A Gentleman' deserves its place among the classics of film history.
68 out of 80 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Few Factual Corrections and a Comment
Gator195518 January 2006
First, there is not, and never was, an Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Washington state. I would assume it was used because the true locale for AOCS, Pensacola, FL, wasn't suitable for some reason. Officer candidates going to AOCS already have their degrees and are undergoing training, physical and educational, to earn their commission. No, it's not four years like the Naval Academy, but then again, it's not four years of hell at the Academy, as another reviewer attempted to posit. Any officer commissioned through AOCS is an officer just like an academy grad and both, ultimately, can end up with regular commissions vice reserve commissions.

Next, the training at AOCS was fairly accurately portrayed in the movie. Lots of running, swimming, academics, inspections, etc. all intended to result in the individual becoming part of a team. Another reviewer, obviously not a Republican (LOL), detests this movie just because of his perception that it endorsed the philosophy of the Reagan years. Utter balderdash, of course. What this movie portrays, again fairly accurately, is the growth of a loner into someone who realizes, as Spock so eloquently stated in one of the Star Trek movies, "(t)he needs of the many outweigh the needs, or the wants, of the one or the few." Mayo learns to be part of a team; he learns to care for others and cease being a "user" of people in his example he learned from his father.

The terminology, during the 80s when I went through AOCS, was still DOR..."Drop On Request." It was an "out" exercised by very few people, mostly because those of us in AOCS were already motivated to come into the Navy and specifically into Naval Aviation. The rigors, as stated previously, are presented fairly accurately although a little melodramatic in places, e.g., the altitude chamber. Never in all my years in the Navy did I see anyone "freak" out in the chamber, which is a required test, along with swim quals, every four years to remain qualified to fly.

The legend of the "Pensacola Debs" was presented to us early on in AOCS. Yes, there are stories, many of them true, of men meeting their wives while going through training in Penasacola, but I'd wager there's not a higher incidence in P'cola than there is at any military base or college town for that matter. Odd, but you put men and women in the same room and some will pair off, and some will marry and remain together forever. The bar in the film, TJ's, was based on a bar in Penascola named Trader Jon's. Trader had a running deal that if you caught him wearing matching socks, you'd get some prize...can't remember if it was money or drinks. Let's just say, he never paid off as far as I know. Trader died a few years back, but I'm pretty sure some of the stuff from his bar is probably at the Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola.

The Drill Instructor portrayal by Louis Gossett is VERY true to life! While they cussed us, screamed at us, pushed us physically and looked for what would "trip" us up, they also, in retrospect, wanted us to succeed. One thing they never did, and would have been severely disciplined for, was hit us, so the fight scene, while improbable, works in the movie. PTing us into the ground, bet they did! This movie works for me because I lived the life both during the AOCS part and during a career in the Navy in aviation. The portrayals are pretty much spot-on and believable. Sure there's dramatic license, but there is in any movie! Anyone who believes Full Metal Jacket tells it "like it is" is delusional; there's plenty of dramatic license there, too. Relax, enjoy the movie. It's about personal growth, love, and sacrifice; all in all good things. Not the best movie ever made, but certainly not the worst!
67 out of 80 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Ajtlawyer5 July 2002
This has to be Richard Gere's best movie and the one movie I felt he deserved an Oscar nomination for. I read once that his role of Zach Mayo was first offered to John Denver. It is impossible to think of anyone else in the role which is one indication of how good Gere was. Lou Gossett, Jr. steals the show and gets a deserved Oscar as Gunnery Sergeant Foley. Debra Winger is also delectable as Paula, Zach's working class girlfriend. I had read that Winger had a real problem doing the nude scenes with Gere and felt very uncomfortable being undressed in front of the camera. Supposedly the scene in which she is crying while making love to Zach isn't because she's feeling passion, it is because she is feeling humiliated. The movie also had to snip out a couple of seconds of Winger flexing her hips a bit too much during a bed scene. Still one of the steamiest bed scenes in film history. The most riveting moment of the movie is when Foley is going to kick Zach out of the program and Gere frantically and desperately screams "DON'T YOU DO THAT! I AIN'T GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!" All of Zach's arrogance is drained out of him and he is just a desperate kid begging for the only chance he'll ever have. Powerful moment. In the end, Zach gains maturity. Would you want to fly into combat with Zach Mayo or with Tom Cruise's Maverick in "Top Gun"? Zach Mayo, hands down.
29 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
For every student of screenplay this is a must. A classic.
GLYNNE18 April 2002
A movie that you can watch over and over again and find something new. There really is something for everyone and for those who follow classical screenplay protocols this is an absolute must. The timing of events and the pace of those events is absolutely perfect. Richard Gere is really extremely good and in fact as time goes on his role may actually turn out to be one of his best. He has such a fragile bravado in this tale of selfish loner turns good. Debra Winger and Louis Gossett are also outstanding. It is a movie that you either love or you hate and, over the years, the critics have very much wanted to play it down but there is no doubt in my mind that it is a classic tale well told with every aspect of "the cinema" used to its fullest extent
47 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Realistic presentation of old-school romance
robb_7724 May 2006
Though ribbed by some critics for being a crude update of the formula film romances of the 1940's, audiences still showed up in droves to see this film and turned it into one of the biggest grossers of 1982. While the film may certainly follow the general formulaic outlines of the genre, director Taylor Hackford and screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart dodge sentimentalization with a healthy dosage of grim reality. This is no longer the ultra-glamorized world of old Hollywood; AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN is a movie about love in the real world. By not sheltering it's lovers from the harsh nature of humanity, the film manages to have a significantly greater impact as it works toward a deservedly optimistic ending.

In a role turned down by both John Travolta and John Denver, Richard Gere lends a brooding intensity that electrifies what could have been a bland protagonist. Debra Winger, with her down-home sexiness at it's peak, turns in a fascinating portrayal of small town frustration, and Louis Gossett Jr nearly steals the picture in a harrowing, Oscar-winning performance. In fact, Gere's relationship with Gossett's Drill Sargent is just as involving as his love affair with Winger. The supporting cast is also well-cast, with David Keith, Robert Loggia, and Lisa Blount delivering standout performances.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Vivid characters and story make this a classic.
triple813 December 2003
I was quite young when I saw this and not into movies this deep, heck I was a kid! Yet this powerful film touched me and I never forgot it.

There were so many various relationships going on that between the characters, if the movie had just been about one of those it might have gotten boring but each one of these individuals were so fascinating in their own right, that it never did get dull. Officer isn't a film one can watch at any time, it's so heavy you really have to be in the mood for it. I would definitely call this a classic.

I will comment on Debra Winger because as good as everyone was Winger hasn't been commented on as much and should be. Her character Paula was gritty, tough and so likable. She was easily as good as anyone else in the movie(I miss not seeing her in current movies, she's amazing).

This isn't my absolute favorite film but its one of the most well done films I've ever seen.
22 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
eve6kicksass20 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Title: AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN Rating: **** (out of 4) I want to say first off that this first off that I've heard many people say that this nothing more than a simple "chick flick." I really hate that term, because I know every guy has seen a so-called "chick flick" and went away at least liking it. Ok, maybe AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN is one of those type of films, but one thing is kicks TOP GUN's A**!!! This is film is about the rigorous training to become a pilot, while GUN shows a bunch of guys involved in "dogfights that play like video games (I heartily agree with Leonard Maltin). ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** Richard Gere, in one of his best roles (second only to PRIMAL FEAR), plays Zachary Mayo, a loner who goes to Navy Candidate School to become a pilot because simply, that's all he wants to do. He finds a real challenge in the drill instructor Foley, played unforgettably by Louis Gossett, Jr. (who won an Oscar). He also finds love for the first time in his life, in the form of a poor factory worker (Debra Winger). His best friend Worley (David Keith) finds love too...but it doesn't turn out the way he wanted. Much of the film alternates between in his growing relationship with Winger and the rigourous training he endures, which become more important to him than ever when Foley order him to quit after doing so illegal....he, however, refuses to give up for anything in this world (the famous emotional climax is when he confesses "I've got nowhere else to go."). Personally, I see this film as most certainly not a chick flick, but a film that has something for both sequences in equal doses; more females will appreciate the romance, while more males will root for Mayo as he overcomes many obstacles, most notably Foley. I must confess, however, that my favorite sequence in the whole film is the last one, showing Gere carry Winger out of her factory. There is a much more emotional scene, however, that I will definately not give away; I've never met anyone who wasn't moved by it (when you see it, you will find out!). In addition to the cast, the film also features great direction by Taylor Hackford and a well-written (if having the standard number of minute flaws) screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart. The lovely score is done by Jack Nitzsche, and it also features the classic love song "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (which, I must say, is way better than Berlin's song from TOP GUN, though both won Oscars). Still, the performances are what makes this film and it succeeds, making it one of the most romantic films of all time.

Fav. Quote: "Only two things come out of Oklahoma: Steers and Queers."
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A great and honest movie!
anfinke8 June 2005
I am a huge fan of "Full Metal Jacket", but I think it is wrong to compare this movie w/ "An Officer and A Gentleman", they are just too different. It is no surprise that Louis Gosset Jr. won on Oscar for "best supporting actor", he was very convincing!!

This movie is a good example of great characters and the dynamics between them. They were all great!! Richard Gere plays a likable loner. But he is less arrogant than he is untrusting, and I think Foley finally gains some respect for him when he realizes this.

The most memorable scenes for me were when Seegar couldn't make it up the wall the first time and she caves into tears at Foley's caustic (and very funny!) comments. The scenerio were she finally makes it over due to Mayo's newfound concern and trust of others is also great and shows his maturing. But I think Louis Gosset Jr. shines the most when he challenges Mayo to a fight (I believe he did this out of respect for Mayo as a last ditch effort to keep him from dropping out), a wonderful scene indeed!!

Debra Winger was some serious eye-candy in this flick and Lisa Eilbacher has the cutest doll face.

Great characters and cast!
24 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An Officer and a Gentleman
Coxer9927 May 1999
Excellent love story about a young man (Gere, in an engaging performance) who dreams of being a Navy jet pilot and a girl (Winger) who wishes to escape the life in a paper mill. The film is strikingly rich, romantic and features stand out performance from Robert Loggia, David Keith and Oscar winner, Gossett, as a brass hearted drill instructor. Director Hackford shows us some old fashioned filmmaking here...and it's damn good.
24 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sometimes a guy needs a big brother.
PWNYCNY15 October 2005
This movie is about an adolescent who becomes a man with the help of a big brother, who in this case is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense, tough-as-nails drill sergeant. The adolescent is a wayward young man with no direction and with no one to depend on except his alcoholic sailer father who believes that the young man will never succeed at anything. Well, the adolescent wants to prove his father wrong and does something most unexpected - applies for Navy flight school and is accepted. Now the question is: Will he succeed? For him to succeed, this adolescent will have to change: become a team player, take on responsibilities, apply himself to achieving goals, and complete an exceedingly difficult 12-week course that will test not only his physical strength and mental capabilities, but the very essence of his character. In short, the adolescent will have to become a man. And there is only one person who cares enough to push him to succeed - the adolescent's drill sergeant who does everything he can to get the adolescent to drop out, which does not happen. This movie shows what a person can accomplish when they believe in themselves and have a big brother who cares enough to make them succeed. This is a great movie.
23 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"I Don't Know, But I've Been Told........"
bkoganbing20 November 2011
The players make this one something special. Without the fine performances from this great ensemble cast, An Officer And A Gentleman would be just another flag waving recruiting film from Hollywood.

Richard Gere along with such various and diverse people as David Keith, Tony Plana, and one female recruit Lisa Eilbacher are training to be Naval Pilots and they've got a Marine gunnery sergeant putting them through their paces during the training near Puget Sound. The sergeant is Lou Gossett, Jr. and he's looking for whatever weaknesses, academic, physical, professional or moral to wash them out of the program.

The film turns on the conflict between Gere and Gossett. Gere thinks he's something special and Gossett is going to prove to him he's not. Gere shows he does have the right stuff, take careful note of the scene on the confidence course with Lisa Eilbacher where he shows he's not just about himself.

Gossett casts so well in military parts, but this one set the standard for playing training sergeants. Many have done it before, but Gossett's is the best by far. His peers must have thought so because not only did he win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 1982, but Gossett beat out two Hollywood veterans either James Mason for The Verdict or Robert Preston for Victor/Victoria should have been a sentimental favorite.

The moral failings in the trainees are brought out by town girls Debra Winger and Lisa Blount. Both are types that Gossett warns his trainees about, town girls who are on the make and want to trap a glamorous Navy Pilot to get out of their factory town. Not too much different from sorority girls at Ivy League schools looking to snare a husband. Winger and Blount go after Gere and Keith respectively. It ends in tragedy for one of them. Debra got a Best Actress nomination, but lost to Meryl Streep for Sophie's Choice.

I wish somehow David Keith had been given some recognition. For me his is the most touching performance in the whole film. He's doing the program out of some sense of instilled obligation, not really because he wants to. It's between this and the country kid prisoner part that Keith did so well in Brubaker as being his career roles.

An Officer And A Gentleman got a few more nominations in technical categories, but 1982 was the year of Gandhi which was the big winner. But it did receive a second Oscar for Best Song with Up Where We Belong which was a big old hit that year. You could hardly go anywhere without hearing Jennifer Warren's hit on somebody's radio. No contest in the voting in that category.

There have been a lot of films about military training, but the special performances by the whole cast make An Officer And A Gentleman a really outstanding film, the best in the genre.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Time-Tested Classic!
firehawk-ws621 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This one NEVER gets old to me! I was just a kid the first time I saw it, and it stuck with me for years after. It did give me somewhat of an idea of what to expect when I joined the Marines and went to boot camp...somewhat...ours was MUCH! Anyway, the plus side to this movie is the simple fact that you can emotionally attach yourself to these characters. I think all of the actors did a great job, and I became an instant Gosset Jr. fan after this one. Until Iron Eagle....UGH! Louis, WHAT were you thinking? The only scene I found unrealistic was toward the end, after Sid's death, when Mayo confronted Foley in front of the platoon, calling him out. In the real military world, Mayo would have been locked up quicker than a flash for insubordination. Same applies to the scene where he confronted Foley after Sid's DOR. But, Hollywood had to give the audience the satisfaction of the underling turning around and picking on the big, bad drill instructor.

The 80's were a simple time...and this is a simple, easy to follow movie. I'll still watch it to this day, and enjoy it every time.

I understand Debra Winger was miserable during the filming of this movie. Especially during one particular intimate scene with Gere...she did NOT want to film that scene, but went through with it. The tears falling down her cheek are there for this very reason. Interesting.

Watch this movie. You won't regret it. It brings back some great memories for me.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Anything Under An 8.0
tstevens3218 August 2015
A rating of anything under 8.0, to me is blasphemous. This film stands the test of time very easily, with further viewing only increasing ones view.

At first, it seems like a cookie-cutter military drama played with a known denouement. We all knew the happy ending right? With that said, the road to get there is extremely satisfying, with some stellar acting from all parties.

If it wasn't for the cast \ acting, the script would make this film mediocre; but the actors sold me each and every turn and saved the story. I was invested even after knowing the outcome.

I have seen this film 10+ times now, and each time I view it, I appreciate the acting skills involved. I can only hazard a guess that this set was not a friendly one to actors; but dayum did they all deliver.

Over time, this could break my top 25 of all time.

It is very worthy of a review if you haven't already.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The best of its kind
Wuchak21 January 2014
Released in 1982, "An Officer and a Gentleman" was the obvious inspiration of films like Tom Cruise's "Top Gun" and "Days of Thunder." "An Officer and a Gentleman" was the first and best, by far.

The plot similarities are obvious: They all include the angry young man who needs to prove his gifting, the uncompromising mentor, the encouraging babe, the craft, the arena and the doomed buddy. In "An Officer" the angry young man is Richard Gere as Mayo, the mentor is Louis Gossett Jr. as Drill Instructor Folely, the babe is Paula (Debra Winger), the craft is aviation basic training, the arena is a Naval academy and the Puget Sound area of Washington (shot on location) and the buddy is Sid Worley (David Keith).

Thankfully, the film doesn't get bogged down telling the back-story of Mayo. Instead, it ingeniously shares his past in a matter of minutes at the very beginning. It's all we need to know to understand why Mayo is the way he is. And then we're off to basic training where he's tested. Does he have what it takes? Can someone as lowborn, aloof and un-trusting as Mayo make it as an officer?

Debra Winger and Lisa Blount shine here as Mayo and Worley's babes. Winger is alluring in a humble "girl next door" type of way (she out-shined Lynda Carter as Wonder Girl on "Wonder Woman," which is hard to believe), but Blount is even more alluring -- yes, despite the negative aspects of her character. I'll just put it this way, she really fills out a pair of jeans, lol.

Both couples get intimate way too quickly, but maybe this is one of the flaws of the "Puget Debs" and explains why they have a problems getting marriage material, if you know what I mean. Besides this, time has to be condensed in a two-hour film.

BOTTOM LINE: If you're in the mood for a film of this ilk "An Officer and a Gentleman" is the best of the lot.


INSIGHTS ABOUT THE ENDING (***SPOILER ALERT*** Don't read further unless you've seen the film):

An officer is a military leader. Drill Instructor Foley's job is to weed out those who can't hack it as an officer. It's an important job because people's lives in combat are dependent on the quality of the leaders and Foley takes his job seriously.

Foley rightly pegs Mayo as a lowlife loner from the outset -- a wannabe officer -- and therefore puts on the pressure. This is especially so on the one weekend where he has Mayo to himself. Foley does everything he can to make Mayo break AND quit, but Mayo doesn't. He breaks, indeed, but he refuses to quit on the grounds that he has no where to go. At the end of this scene you can see that Foley develops respect for Mayo (which you get a glimpse of earlier when Mayo does extremely well on the obstacle course).

Later, Mayo disregards breaking the record on the obstacle course (which he was definitely able to do) in order to encourage Seegar (the female recruit) to finally make it over the wall. Foley sees that Mayo's no longer the aloof and selfish loner he was when he rode in on his motorcycle. He's matured; he's developed character. It was already there, of course, but the boot camp training has brought it to the fore, and Foley sees it.

After Worley's tragic death, Mayo confronts Foley while he's drilling the platoon. Foley informs Mayo that they all know what happened and even tells him they're sorry about Worley. He didn't have to do this and it shows that Foley isn't just an honorable man, but also that he cared about Worley. After all, Worley was only one week away from graduating! In a sense, he was one of Foley's kids. In other words, Foley and the platoon were grieving too. But Mayo was closest to Worley and he's crazy with shock & grief at this point. He insists that he's going to quit, to which Foley tells him to meet him for a fight. Sure, there's some testosterone in his words, but he actually does this out of respect for Mayo as a last ditch effort to keep him from dropping out.

And Foley doesn't "kick his axx", as some claim. It was essentially an even match and Foley barely walks off the mat, which is the only reason he technically wins. But that's inconsequential. The purpose of the fight was to run Mayo's steam out so he didn't make a rash decision in an obvious moment of grief & anger. Foley accomplished his purpose. Once Mayo was no longer blinded by rage he makes the right choice and graduates.

This is why he thanks Foley at the end.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Engaging and Engrossing Melodramatic Fare
Brad L. Wooldridge6 October 1999
An Officer and a Gentleman is a well-crafted melodrama set against the back drop of the elite Naval Aviator training facility in upstate Washington. Richard Gere portrays Zachary Mayo, a young man and son of a career sailor who has risen from residing above a house of ill repute in the Philippines to becoming an officer's candidate destined to fly jets.

Gere is terrific as Mayo, and works incredibly hard to combine the complex emotions of the character with his seemingly, simplistic facade. Gere is supported by a great cast including Debra Winger as the young factory worker who yearns of a better life with Mayo, David Keith as a cadet who's not all that he seems, and the legendary Louis Gossett, Jr. as Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley, Mayo's adamant and hard-edged drill instructor who remains Zach's total bane of existence. Gossett won a well-deserved Oscar for this role, and he remains the true highlight of this film.

Some have called An Officer and a Gentlemen out-dated, improbable, and too melodramatic, and perhaps it is all of these. But, it is so entertaining and so enthralling, I find it easily to become enveloped by the picture's story and characters. You want them all to succeed, and you feel for them when they fail. This is the true mark of a truly great film.

Highly recommended.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A film that hits at the heart
Naamah8 August 1999
This movie is a classic that will make you cry every time.

Though I have never been in through military training, I found Louis Gossett Jr.'s performance to be a very convincing as well as intimidating. Not once did I feel that Sgt. Foley was too soft or unnecessarily hard on any of the Naval officer recruits.

Debra Winger, though seemingly lost in some scenes, truly makes the viewer believe in her love of Richard Gere. Equally, Lisa Blout carries a wonderful performance of a young, selfish girl who is torn between her compassion and her dreams.

Richard Gere is at his best. The scenes where Mayo is forced to deal with his emotions are riveting and even better are the scenes were Mayo has to deal with Sgt. Foley. Gossett Jr. and Gere play great opposite each other.

This movie is a great love story as well as an honest portrayal of a man being forced to deal with his mixed emotions in a search for inner peace and a life as a gentleman. Gere plays a man that goes through more than physical training with his drill sgt and finds love along the way.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Just as great l7 years later.
bettiem29 June 1999
This movie is one of many which became legend due to one scene- the final scene of course. When Richard Gere goes into the factory and picks up Debra Winger by her machine, kisses her numerous times, and takes her out of the fatory forever, suddenly the viewer is uptlifted, optimistic for a moment, that fairy tales do at times come true. The music is perfect for that last scene, all about "Lifting up." Performances were fantastic by everyone, especially the great actor Lou Gossett Jr.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Don't believe the naysayers, this is a true uplifter.
Spikeopath25 April 2009
Zack Mayo, after years of being shunted around with his woman chasing, alcoholic, naval father, decides to up sticks and join the navy himself. He plans to fly jets and enrols at a tough Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School. Very much a loner and used to doing things his own way, Zack must tow the line if he is to succeed. Forming friendships and taking on a romance with a local girl, he may just make the grade. But he has to convince not only his tough no nonsense drill instructor, but also himself.

An Officer And A Gentleman has been bogged down over the years by being labelled as a chick flick, a film they say, that is for the soggy handkerchief brigade. Not so say I. Yes love is a critical strand here, not only finding it after years of being closed off from it, but also to keep it after seizing the day. But it's as much a film about determination as it is love, in finding strengths from within to achieve ones goals against seemingly badly stacked odds. It really is a film that essays that triumph of the will spirit so lacking in many similar pictures that followed this 1982 piece. There are some incredibly great sequences here, chiefly during the training programme, from Mayo's continuing conflict with Sgt Foley, to a devastating turn of events with a friendship. This film royally packs an emotional punch.

The cast are uniformly excellent, Richard Gere as Mayo is pitch perfect and it pays to notice that he was a 32 year old man playing an early 20s rookie, it's a testament to his undervalued ability that nobody noticed. Debra Winger was nominated for a Best Actress Award for her portrayal as Mayo's love interest, Paula Pokrifki. It's believed that Gere and herself didn't get on off screen, it isn't noticeable, tho, because the chemistry sizzles and the resulting end product is one of a joyous return. Honours have to go to Louis Gossett Jr., tho, rightly winning the Best Supporting Actor Award, his performance as instructor Sgt Foley is towering and one of the best of the 1980s. David Keith and Lisa Eilbacher also turn in strong performances, and Taylor Hackford's direction is smooth and without intrusion. The involving screenplay and tidy editing are also noteworthy, and the theme song, "Up where We Belong" took home the gong for Best Original Song.

Some critics have called the film sexist, oh come off it people. It may come as a shock to them but a lot of women do want to be carried off by some dashing hunk, similarly, a lot of us men are more than willing to be the ones carrying the maiden! 9/10
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best movies of all time.
syed36 November 2006
What can i say, i saw this movie when i was 10 (or a teenager) i think. I knew and remember that i liked it, but as i watched it again at 15 and then later at 22, i started loving it.

Man, this is one of my favorite movies. The movie contains so much. Success, will power, depression, obstacles, confusion, love, lack of love, friendship, goal, help, toughness.

The movie inspires me from every angle every time i see it. It inspires me to succeed against all odds life showers. It inspires me to look into friendship once again, it inspires me to look into love once again. :-) I hope all you viewers will somewhat (atleast if not all) agree with me. Do e-mail me for any comments on this movie.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Formula film the actors make worth watching
Al21 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is the typical rebel-loner seeks exciting career in military to prove himself. The rebel is afraid to love, but meets a girl who eventually brings it out of him and finally the tough mentor makes him a man. This formula military film goes back to the earliest days of War films. The story is so familiar and overdone, it is only thanks to the excellent cast that the film is even watchable. Right down the line from Gere, David Keith, Debra Winger, Lisa Blount, Lisa Eilbacher and the rest of the cast; everyone does a great job especially Lou Gossett in the role of a lifetime as tough Sergeant Foley. Catch a young David Caruso in a small role as Topper Daniels.

Worthwhile and entertaining to watch, but oh what a corny ending. I know through movie-lore that the ending wasn't planned in exactly that way-- but oh man!
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
They don't make them like this anymore
CheshireCatsGrin29 March 2005
I decided to give this movie another view after reading about Taylor Hackford this month. I was not disappointed.

Sadly, they don't make films like this anymore. Both Richard Gere and Debra Winger actually pull together a love story that I enjoyed. In the years where all movies have a forced love story line, this film placed the love story into the plot without taking away from the growth of Gere's character.

Excellent performance from Lewis Gossett Jr., David Keith, and Robert Loggia pulls this film into a category of film I reserve for the classics. An excellent summer night rental, grab the popcorn and enjoy this rarity with real characters you care about.

This is what Proof of Life should have been.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Shine That Buckle, Mister.
Robert J. Maxwell10 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"An Officer and a Gentleman." Good title. It pretty much sums up the story of Richard Gere's aviation midshipman undergoing a tough training course in the Northwest. He comes from a seedy background and is mean and selfish. He meets a girl from the nearby factory, Deborah Winger, whom he relies on for sex and comfort during his 12-weeks of misery. She, in turn, is the daughter of an unknown aviation cadet in a class twenty-two years ago, and is looking for a way out of this dead-end existence through marriage to a naval aviator. The two meet at a dance, exit the premises, go down to the beach and boff -- he for kicks, she because she's loose and likes him. Will Richard Gere overcome his egocentricity? Will he graduate as an ensign and go on to flight school? Will he realize that his feelings for Winger are more than those he would feel for just another play toy? Will be become an "officer" AND a "gentleman"? Answer: You don't need a Magic 8-ball.

It's kind of an interesting movie. It's certainly one of Gere's best performances. Under the torment of Lou Gossett Jr.'s Gunnery Sergeant, he's at one point reduced to a mud-covered tortured shambles and screams out abjectly, "I got no place else to GO!" His face is all twisted out of its handsomeness and his usual arrogance is nowhere in sight.

Winger's role is rather more complicated. If Gere's principal concern must shift from himself to the other members of the team, well, it does so on cue. But Winger's motives are ambiguous from the beginning, even to herself. She's interested in Gere from the start, yes, but she's also interested in HER career as an ordinary bourgeois, fixing bacon and eggs for her man in some exotic locale perhaps, bearing him children. Her motives don't change so much as they intensify as she comes to bond with Gere. And yet, rather than trap him with a false pregnancy or something, she's willing to give him up when he shows signs of reluctance to pursue their affair beyond the stage of an amuse-bouche.

Speaking of fake pregnancies, that's part of the subplot involving David Keith, a fellow classmate, and HIS girlfriend, one of Winger's coworkers at the factory. Keith gives up everything for his supposedly pregnant partner, resigns from the Navy, buys her a wedding ring and immediately proposes marriage so he can take her back to meet the family in Oklahoma where he has a job as floor manager waiting for him at J. C. Penny. FLOOR MANAGER? She is waiting for bread and he brings her stones. Like any sensible shark, she tells him what he can do with his wedding ring. After he goes to a motel and does it, he hangs himself.

There is a terrific martial arts slug out at the end in which Gossett, the instructor, manages to save himself only be delivering a hard kick to Gere's family jewels. I haven't quite figured that out yet. Why was an unfair blow necessary? Granted that Gere must discover that he can be defeated. As far as maturity goes, he has a lot of catching up to do. But surely he knows by now that life is unfair, so he doesn't need a painful reminder. Is it just that the writers didn't want to risk showing Richard Gere being beaten in a fair fight? That's kind of how it looks. By the way, writers, when a man is kicked there he doesn't fall to the ground in a fetal position and choke. He falls to the ground in a fetal position and screams bloody murder.

The script is part of the problem with this film. Absolutely nobody could be as naive and stupid as David Keith's midshipman. He's a nice guy but he doesn't seem to have any insight at all, into himself or into others. He doesn't deserve to be a naval aviator. He deserves to be a Steward's Mate Third Class.

It's as if the writers figured something like, let's put Richard Gere through midshipman training so we can watch him suffer, and then we'll have him fall for Deborah Winger. This schematic skeleton is then fitted out with disproportionate, sometimes flabby limbs and extrusions. The script really needed some buffing, at least as much as a midshipman's buckle. It's a colorful movie, with plenty of interesting action and some nice performances, but it's a bit sloppily done.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews