6.1/10
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62 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

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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 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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$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

First of two movies that actor Armand Assante made with director Howard Zieff. The second would be Unfaithfully Yours (1984) made and released about four years later in 1984. See more »

Goofs

In addition to the mountains in the background of "Biloxi"--as well as the hills--which don't exist there, anyone who has been in Biloxi for even the shortest amount of time knows that it's not Bi-LOCK-see, as everyone says in the film; it's pronounced bi-LUCK-see. The new recruits could have pronounced it like the former, as this is how most people pronounce it until they know better, but the officers would have corrected them soon enough. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: Have you seen the bathroom?
Capt. Doreen Lewis: Do you think that the latrine... do you think that it's unsanitary?
Judy Benjamin: It's disgusting! There are *urinals* in there!
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

Remade as Private Benjamin See more »

Soundtracks

We Are Family
(uncredited)
by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers
Performed by Sister Sledge
on tape player in barracks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A near-great comedienne ups the ante on this one
14 March 2006 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

There are millions of comedies like "Private Benjamin". They are like TV shows that turn out the same joke week after week, (and "Private Benjamin" itself turned into a TV show). The best ones work and stay in the memory, not because the jokes are great, (though sometimes they are), but because the players are good and can develop the characters beyond the mere limitations of the gag. ("Frasier" and "The Golden Girls" fall into this category).

The jokes in "Private Benjamin" are not particularly original but they are funny, and they are funny because there is a near-great comedienne at the heart of Howard Zieff's film. With the right director Goldie Hawn's kookie, goof-ball wooziness was just about perfect and Zieff brings it out. Her character is the kind of woman who needs a good shaking, (Bette Davis would have made mincemeat out of her), but you love her all the same. At least until she starts making a fool of herself with Armand Assante's French sleaze-ball and the film loses it's comic momentum.

There is at least one other grand-standing comic turn from Eileen Brennan as Hawn's drill sergeant. Brennan's like a slightly butcher Mae West, (I think we're meant to assume she's a lesbian), and she gives her lines the kind of inflection that West did. Between them they raise the ante on this one.


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