6.2/10
21,946
64 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 ... 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

Captain Lewis and Private Benjamin become friends in the TV sitcom version of Private Benjamin. In the movie they remain enemies. See more »

Goofs

Col. Clay Thornbush (Robert Webber) says that, during the Korean War, he took orders from Douglas MacArthur in 1952. He could not have done this, as MacArthur was relieved of command by President Truman on 10 April 1951. See more »

Quotes

Judy Benjamin: Daddy - Mom just fainted.
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 »


Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
by Richard Wagner
played by string quartet at French chateau wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

"Twenty-Nine Years Old, And Trained To Do Nothing"
20 March 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

Oh dear. This is a difficult film to say generous things about. It has funny moments, but they are few and far between. It holds itself out as a satire on Jewish life, especially the materialism and the limitations of the complacent middle-class Jewish American lifestyle ... but when Judy Benjamin (who claims to have rejected her parents' values) is resisting Henri's amorous advances, she learns that he is Jewish and wealthy, and immediately succumbs.

The early scene in which Jewish princess Benjamin complains to Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan) is funny, but thereafter the military training is a long, long extension of one joke - namely, that Benjamin isn't very good at drill. However, as is always the way with these boot camp movies, the rookies bond and overcome their tribulations, and all goes well. That Benjamin should be sent to a cushy Paris posting is, even allowing for the plot point that brings it about, hard to believe.

The 'Thorn Birds' segment is weak. Benjamin is in and out before the situation is properly established. Jewish weddings are frequent occurrences in American films, and accordingly rather tedious - but this movie manages to give us two fairly protracted ones. Other hackneyed conventions include Paris with accordion music (Henri's office happens to be in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower) and shots of Goldie and Henri walking across the Pont Alexandre III.

Judy's second husband jabbered repeatedly about 'pre-nups', and this returns to haunt her when her prospective third husband insists on her signing a document which she doesn't understand. For all its celebration of marriage, the film's underlying attitude is cynical and materialistic.

"Private Benjamin" was made in 1980, and it hasn't aged well. Sexual harrassment is treated as a joke, as is a Turk's inability to pronounce English clearly. Everybody smokes cigarettes openly onscreen, and 'reds' are considered as the enemy.

Verdict - A Weak Goldie Hawn Vehicle


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