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>
Richard Gere balked at shooting the ending of the film, in which Zack arrives at Paula's factory wearing his Naval dress whites and carries her off the factory floor. Gere thought the ending would not work because it was too sentimental. Taylor Hackford agreed with Gere until, during a rehearsal, the extras playing the workers began to cheer and cry. When Gere saw the scene later, with the music underneath it ("Up Where We Belong") at the right tempo, he said it gave him chills. Gere is now convinced Hackford made the right decision. Screenwriter Michael Hauge, in his book "Writing Screenplays That Sell", echoed this opinion: "I don't believe that those who criticized this Cinderella-style ending were paying very close attention to who exactly is rescuing whom." See more »
For the entire movie, Gunnery Sergeant Foley is called either "Sir" or "Sergeant". While DIs at OCS are called "Sir" (despite being enlisted), a Gunnery Sergeant is never called just "Sergeant." 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 change the chants repeated by the group while marching and by Zack marching in place in the mud. The alternate rhymes contain fewer references to ethnicity and sex. See more »
This has to be Richard Gere's best movie and the one movie I felt he deserved an Oscar nomination for. I read once that his role of Zach Mayo was first offered to John Denver. It is impossible to think of anyone else in the role which is one indication of how good Gere was. Lou Gossett, Jr. steals the show and gets a deserved Oscar as Gunnery Sergeant Foley. Debra Winger is also delectable as Paula, Zach's working class girlfriend. I had read that Winger had a real problem doing the nude scenes with Gere and felt very uncomfortable being undressed in front of the camera. Supposedly the scene in which she is crying while making love to Zach isn't because she's feeling passion, it is because she is feeling humiliated. The movie also had to snip out a couple of seconds of Winger flexing her hips a bit too much during a bed scene. Still one of the steamiest bed scenes in film history. The most riveting moment of the movie is when Foley is going to kick Zach out of the program and Gere frantically and desperately screams "DON'T YOU DO THAT! I AIN'T GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!" All of Zach's arrogance is drained out of him and he is just a desperate kid begging for the only chance he'll ever have. Powerful moment. In the end, Zach gains maturity. Would you want to fly into combat with Zach Mayo or with Tom Cruise's Maverick in "Top Gun"? Zach Mayo, hands down.
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