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|Index||122 reviews in total|
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.
'An Officer And A Gentleman' is a brilliant film with great performances
from Richard Gere, Louis Gossett Jr. and Debra Winger. Richard Gere
the character of Zack Mayo, a troubled young man who, due to neglect and
parenting by a military father, signs up with the Navy to get some
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.
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 life...an 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, though...you 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!
*** This review may contain 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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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