Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley is there to train and evaluate him, and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family, and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
According to Louis Gossett, Jr. in his book "An Actor and a Gentleman", Richard Gere and Debra Winger did not get along during filming, and would distance themselves from each other significantly while the camera wasn't rolling. Publicly, she called him a "brick wall" while he admitted there was "tension" between them. Even though Gere was playing the title role and had top billing and more screentime, he reacted badly when he realized that Winger had the acting chops and charisma to steal every scene she was in, resulting in an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. Thirty years later, Gere was complimentary towards Winger when he said that she was much more open to the camera than he was, and he appreciated the fact that she presented him with an award at the Rome Film Festival. See more »
When Sid is bragging about Lynnette, he says "best head in 52 states." See more »
[whispered to sleeping father]
[flashback to Manila]
Hey, kid! Are you Zack?
I'm Byron; nice to meet you. Come on, let's get your bags, OK?
See more »
With special thanks to Art Kulman of the Washington State Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development, Fort Worden State Park, Gus Gustafson, Brent Shirley, and the people of Port Townsend, Washington. See more »
TV versions typically eliminate the pre-credits scenes with young Zack in the Phillipines, after his mother has died and he joins his father. See more »
Great story of self-discovery made even better by strong performances
'An Officer And A Gentleman' is a brilliant film with great performances from Richard Gere, Louis Gossett Jr. and Debra Winger. Richard Gere embodies the character of Zack Mayo, a troubled young man who, due to neglect and ill parenting by a military father, signs up with the Navy to get some direction 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.
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