6.2/10
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64 user 28 critic

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:

Howard Zieff
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Goldie Hawn ... Judy Benjamin
Eileen Brennan ... Capt. Doreen Lewis
Armand Assante ... Henrí Trémont
Robert Webber ... Col. Clay Thornbush
Sam Wanamaker ... Teddy Benjamin
Barbara Barrie ... Harriet Benjamin
Mary Kay Place ... Pvt. Mary Lou Glass
Harry Dean Stanton ... Sgt. Jim Ballard
Albert Brooks ... Yale Goodman
Alan Oppenheimer ... Rabbi
Estelle Marlov Estelle Marlov ... Vocalist at Wedding
Everett Covin Everett Covin ... Bandleader
Robert Hanley ... Arnie
Lee Wallace ... Mr. Waxman
James Dybas ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La pícara recluta See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,739,769, 12 October 1980

Gross USA:

$69,847,348

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$69,847,348
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The poster and the video art for the movie is a parody of the poster for All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) See more »

Goofs

After the "war games", the women are back at their barracks and had been dancing to "We Are Family" and Captain Lewis comes in to address them wearing an off-white Australian-style "bush hat." On it, an improper eagle device, that of an enlisted woman, was clearly shown. Those of an officer do not have the circular brass base but are the more impressive large-eagle emblem of an officer. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: To be truthful with you, I can't sleep in a room with 20 strangers.
Capt. Doreen Lewis: Oh dear.
Judy Benjamin: And I mean look at this place. The army couldn't afford drapes? I'll be up at the crack of dawn here!
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 »


Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
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 DoylenfSee 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.


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