6.1/10
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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

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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

The acronym for SHAPE, the real life central command of NATO military forces that Private Benjamin is assigned to in Belgium, stands for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. 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

Sgt. L.C. Ross: Beware, there are mine fields out there. Most of them are inert. However, some are ert.
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

References Happy Days (1974) 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

 
"Has anybody ever died from basic?"
29 June 2016 | by PredragSee all my reviews

This comedy flick is about a spoiled Jewish-American woman Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) who joins the Army after her new husband dies right on their wedding night during sex and duped by sneaky recruiting Sgt. Jim Ballard (Harry Dean Stanton) convinces her that military life to be glamorous, she gets a rude wake up call in boot camp after getting in trouble constantly, especially by Judy's hard-nosed superior officer Capt. Doreen Lewis (Eileen Brennan) prompting her to want a quit the Army, but then Judy has a change of heart and decides to stick it out leading her to a series of adventures that eventually lead her to a promotion and a transfer to Paris, France.

The entire cast is outstanding, but especially Hawn who lights up the screen with her charm and beauty. Goldie Hawn is made for this kind of role, and as usual delivers the goods. There are some genuinely 'laugh out loud' moments as she struggles to adapt and make friends. Unfortunately the film seems to run out of steam half way through. Whereas the first half is true comedy, the second half has very little in the way of humor to offer. Having met a French gynecologist who she falls for, she wangles a posting to Paris to be with him. This is where the humor disappears as Judy leaves the army to be with him and he turns out to be a control freak that turns Judy into a clone of his ex girlfriend. It's almost like watching two separate films. I think it would have been better if the whole movie was her in the army not broken into basically two parts one distinctly comedic and the other a love story. Still, despite some glaring flaws, Private Benjamin is a good movie with a good story to tell. Unfortunately, what was probably a pretty daring look at gender rolls for its time has gotten really stale. If you overlook that, though, the movie is very entertaining.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.


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