6.2/10
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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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The misadventures of a spoiled young woman who joins the army and her friends.

Stars: Lorna Patterson, Hal Williams, Eileen Brennan
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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

Eileen Brennan was starring in the TV show "A New Kind of Family" with Janet Jackson and Rob Lowe when this aired. See more »

Goofs

When Benjamin tries to take her blanket back from Gianelli, at the start of the fight Gianelli's underwear is red to match the non-regulation bra. When she's pulled off of Benjamin, her underwear is white. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Army Brat (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Body and Soul
(1930) (uncredited)
by Edward Heyman (as E. Heyman), Robert Sour (as R. Sour), Frank Eyton (as F. Eyton) and Johnny Green (as J. Green)
played by jazz band in lounge
See more »

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User Reviews

Enlist with Judy. You could use a good laugh.
22 January 2003 | by budmasseySee all my reviews

Hawn's string of successes in the 1980's, Swing Shift, Overboard, Protocol, Seems Like Old Times, and Private Benjamin, are among my favorite comedies of all time. She has timing, presence, and character galore, and this one may just be at the top of my Goldie Hawn list.

The cast is extraordinary. Eileen Brennan is a showstopper as the, shall we say, less than feminine company commander and Benjamin's nemesis, but that's not the start of it. There's an embarrassment of talent here. Craig T. Nelson as the amorous Capt. Woodbridge, Armand Assante as the even more amorous Henri Tremont who sexes Benjamin up, and the still more amorous Albert Brooks, the husband who dies sexing her up, are all stellar. But Sam Wanamaker (see The Competition) and Robert Webber (both sadly deceased) are male role models who may not exactly set the bar very high as father figures, but add a delightful pseudo-machismo as counterpoint to all the talented women.

Mary Kay Place seems so young as a fellow recruit, even more so than in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which is a nice segue to the fact that this, like many Hawn movies, draws from a distinguished television pedigree to deliver its surprising success.

This is one of those perfect little movies that I pull out of the DVD closet several times a year like visiting with an old friend, and it just occurred to me why. It's not nihilistic or deconstructionist or multi-plotted or any of the other crap that has supplanted story and dialog in too many movies since. It's sad that the only available version of the DVD is in pan and scan, as with some other great movies of this era, but I keep hoping for a widescreen release.

Favorite Line: "There are mine fields out there. Most of them are inert. However, some are ert." My recommendation: Enlist with Judy. You could use a good laugh.


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