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FILM ONLY REVIEW
Judy Benjamin is a spoilt rich girl who is getting married to a wealthy man. Unfortunately on her wedding night her husband has a heart attack and dies. The grieving widow is at a loss what to do and how to get on with her life so she phones a radio show for help. She receives a call from a very nice man and they arrange to meat to discuss her future.
The man Judy meets is an Army recruitment officer and Judy is offered a life of luxury and calm by joining up. Judy takes the plunge and signs on the dotted line. Unfortunately for Judy it is not as she imagined when she arrived for her basic training and she gets put through her paces and broken.
Will Judy be able to stick it in the Army and just what will her parents make of her decision?
I have seen bits of this film many times over the years but have never really sat down and watched the whole film, hubby really wanted to watch it so I reluctantly agreed. I was actually very surprised as the parts and the ending which I have never seen before were interesting and enjoyable to watch. The storyline was good and quite original and I think it was helped with the casting of Goldie Hawn in the lead role. It was not entirely believable but the comedy element made it very fn to watch.
Goldie Hawn did a great job in the role of Judy, she came across as a very spoilt girl at the start of the film and it was nice to watch her grow and change as the story moved on. She looked so much older than the 29 years we were supposed to believe she was but I managed to see past this and just enjoy the film for what it was. She looked so out of place when she first put her uniform on and her hair was so big but it was nice to see her get more comfortable as she got used to her new life. She did not have a very good relationship with the other girls in her regiment at the start of the film but this is what the story was supposed to be showing and the banter and fights they had were good to watch.
We did have a few good support roles in the film and my favourite was that of Captain Doreen Lewis, she was a hard faced woman who wanted her own way and really did not want Judy in her Army. She bought a lot of humour to the film and actor Eileen Brennan who played her did a great job. A few of the other actors in the film included, Armand Assante, Robert Webber, and Mary Kay Place, they all played quite different characters and bought a lot to the film.
The film was made in 1980 and this is very apparent right from the start of the film, it looks dated but at the same time is was funny to watch the old fashions and big hair and the latest technology which they used. I think it has aged pretty well as the story is good enough to carry the film. The costumes were all fitting for the story and the army uniforms were exactly how they were in this year. A lot of detail went into the Army side of the film, uniforms, sets and things they had to do and I did enjoy watching this.
We did have a few special effects in the film, although they were only very small ones, they were fitting for the style and age of the film. The music was also good and in keeping with the feel and theme of the film but it is not a soundtrack I would go and by separately.
There are a few good laughs in the film although I would not personally class this as a comedy. The way Goldie Hawn portrayed herself during her training gave us the most laughs and the private life of Captain Doreen Lewis gave us the rest. There is certainly not enough laughs for me to be able to say this ranks as a comedy film.
This is a film only review so there are no bonus features to speak about. The running time of the film is 109 minutes and the rate is a 15. I do not fully agree with this rate and think people ages 13 and over would enjoy the film. The DVD can be bought for just a few pounds now but I would not waste money on it and would advise waiting for this to be shown on the TV again.
I am going to recommend this film and give it a good 3 stars, the story is good and so too is the acting, for me it was just missing a few more laughs to earn that extra star. It is dated but not overly so and is well worth a watch the next time it comes on the TV.
** The Plot **
Goldie Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a bit of a spoilt socialite. She is living the fairytale life, and has just had her happy ending when she marries a handsome man. Unfortunately, her new husband passes away on their wedding night.
Judy somehow joins the U.S Army, after a sneaky recruiting sergeant leads her to believe life in the Army is a bit like a Spa, which is just what she needs. Judy soon finds out that the Army is not like a spa at all. Her superior is Captain Doreen Lewis who loves making her life a misery, Judy is forced to re-evaluate her conduct when given the option of quitting the Army on psychiatric reasons. She chooses to stay and tough it out and has a series of brilliantly comical moments, which eventually lead to promotion.
During her service Judy meets Henri Tremont, a charming French doctor. They separate when he returns to Paris, but soon Judy is assigned to NATO headquarters, surprisingly in Paris, where she meets up with him and he proposes. Judy accepts, but it means she must give up her army career which she has grown to love.
Just before their wedding, Judy finds out that Henri is extremely controlling and tries to change her into the person she was before she entered the Army. She is also forced to sign a complicated pre-nuptial agreement which is completely in Henri's favour. Judy also finds out that Henri is completely in love with his ex and has already cheated on her with her. Judy must decide if Henri is worth loosing herself for, or if she should become the woman the army made her.
** My Opinion **
This film is a classic, and has lots of slapstick humour in it. Goldie Hawn is brilliant, and really makes me chuckle. The humour is a touch old, well the film is nearly 30 (!!) years old, but all in all its a great little film, with some brilliant moments, even the bits that you know are going to happen, but the way in which they are delivered by Goldie Hawn is generally brilliant.
This is a great family film, and the ending is not your normal "happily ever after" one that you may think would happen.
Director: Howard Zieff.
Producers: Harvey Miller, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer and Goldie Hawn.
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Stars: Goldie Hawn, Eileen Brennan and Armand Assante
Released in 1980 this hour and 50minute movie take you into the world of the American Army recruitment process... in a comical way...and turned out to be one of the biggest hits in 1980... (leading to a television series in 1981 -1983)
Judy Benjamin, (played by Goldie Hawn) is a well off but very spoilt woman, who is the happiest woman in the world on her wedding day...until her husband dies on the first night of married bliss....
In a sort of haze she happens to enlist in the Army, believing it to be a life of luxury, but is soon regretting it when she realises that she has to actually work for a living... and work hard at that...
As she begins to enjoy her new found career, gaining promotion and finding romance with Henri Trement, (played by Armand Assante), a French doctor, she relishes in her independence...
Until her romantic encounter begins to turn sour.....making her re-evaluate her self yet again....
Goldie Hawn - Pvt. Judy Benjamin
Eileen Brennan - Capt. Doreen Lewis
Armand Assante - Henri Alan Tremont
Craig T. Nelson - Capt. William Woodbridge
Robert Webber - Col. Clay Thornbush
Harry Dean Stanton - 1Sgt. Jim Ballard
Sam Wanamaker - Teddie Benjamin
Barbara Barrie - Harriet Benjamin
Mary Kay Place - Pvt./2LT. Mary Lou Glass
Albert Brooks - Yale Goodman
Alan Oppenheimer - Rabbi
Lee Wallace - Mr. Waxman
Hal Williams - Sgt. L.C. Ross
P.J. Soles - Pvt. Wanda Winter
When I first watched this back in the 1980's I remember enjoying it... but when I happened upon it recently I had to wonder why....?
It is quite a good movie with some fine humour, although not the best movie of its time...
The story line is your standard 'woman takes control of her life' type movie with some rather predictable results, including the standard captain who hates all new recruits and shouts a lot...especially at Hawn...giving the movie some of its best humour as the pair bicker....
Goldie Hawn plays her part as the slightly dippy and very spoiled woman who has to adopt to the real world as her pampered upbringing abruptly ends...allowing her to become more 'street wise' as she progresses through her time in the Army
Not the greatest of movies but still worth a viewing if it is ever on the television, although I doubt feel it is worth adding to a DVD collection, (unless you like to see Goldie Hawn in a uniform that is...??)
If you do want a copy you can get it from www.amazon.co.uk for less than £5.00... (Although I feel that £5.00 could be better spent...?)
Would I recommend it...?
This is a difficult choice indeed....?
If I was asked to mark it out of 10 then I would have to say... 3..maybe 4.. But no more than that...
It's a little dull in parts and can be slow in others....
I would say watch it if it's on the television to see if you like it before you plan to spend any money on a copy...
If you like it then feel free to get a copy... if you find it a bit dull then steer well clear..
I really enjoyed this film with Goldie Hawn as the star it was bound to be a winner.
She starts off as a married woman and her husband dies on their wedding night. She is in shock and ends up in a Army recruitment programme which she is more or less shanghighed into.
Then she has to fight her way to the top via a Captain Doreen Lewis played by a stunning actress called Eileen Brennan. She plays the role perfectly and is a right cow. After many beastings and assault courses later an inter platoon contest to find the right kind of leader, it is no wonder Benjamin needs to get her own back every opportunity she gets and succeeds with comic effect.
This is an hilarious film has many twists and turns in it.
Private Benjamin finally gets the gold ring when she gets a great posting and promotion.
Look out for the Hijack sequence it is so funny.
Private Benjamin is a 1980 film. I would class it in the comedy genre. Judy gets married. Sadly her husband dies on the wedding night.
Judy who up to now has led a sheltered life makes a decision on a whim. She decides to join the American army. It looks like she has made a very bad decision. Training schedule is incredibly tough and Private Benjamin finds life in the army very tough. Despite everything being against her she passes the training and is sent to NATO in Germany. This is where she meets a new man and there is talk of a wedding.
Goldie Hawn plays Judy Benjamin. She is one of few actresses who plays same character in all the films .
The film is different after Judy completes her training. I thought it was about a lonely women who doesn't want to find a third husband. To change her surroundings she joins the army. The character develops from slapstick to a serious woman who is looking for rights within the army, also she finds romance again with a man who probably makes a better husband that her last partner. This I presume is to reward her for life change.
In any case Private Benjamin is a very funny film mainly due to the experiences of Judy Benjamin. Lot of things happen that create sympathy for Judy.
I first watched this film when I was younger and it made me want to join the army. I must have forgotten along the way as when it came to career choices this was not on my list, however I am glad that I missed it as I dont think I an cut out for it.
Judy Benjamin has been spoilt throughout her life and when she is made a widow on her wedding night she joins the army.
The recruiter told Judy that the new army is more luxurious than it used to be and poor Judy is so gullible that she believes him and signs up. However the army she joined is not the one she was informed about.
Needless to say Judy is not happy with the way she is treated in the army but her parents offer her a way out which she declines. Now Judy has not way out will she be able to become the solider that the army will need?
Judy Benjamin Goldie Hawn
Capt Doreen Lewis Eileen Brennan
Henri Tremont Armand Assante
Col Clay Thornbush Robert Webber
I am not a great fan of Goldie Hawn but this is definitely one of her better films. Goldie Hawn is able to perform well as the spoilt princess and then her change into an American solider is realistic without losing the characters qualities. Goldie Hawn is perfect for this character.
All the cast have a very good chemistry which complements the film extremely well
Its a sad to say none at all, probably because this is an old film. There are the usual scene access and subtitle options.
I had not seen this film in quite a while and it wasnt until I saw it on offer for £4.99 at Choices that I remember how much I enjoyed it. Upon re-watching this film I cannot see why it made me think I wanted to join the army.
I love the parts where Private Benjamin gets her own back on Capt Lewis and how she uses Col Thornbush to get the posting she wants is excellent. There are many funny parts to this film but mainly you get to see the army through the eyes of Private Benjamin and follow her on her journey of self-discovery.
This DVD is rated 15 because there is scenes of a sexual nature and there is also some swearing. I enjoyed this film and it is a very easy funny comedy.
Thanks for reading.
NOTE: My sincere appologies - I mistakenly asked for this category to be added to the DVD section instead of the VHS section. I will endevour to ask DooYoo to open the correct category for this review and have them move it. SORRY!!!
No, this isn't a review of the Israel Defense Forces during the time of Golda Meir's term as Prime Minister. This is a review of Goldie Hawn in one of my favorite films - Private Benjamin.
I've loved Goldie Hawn since I first saw her many years ago in her Oscar winning performance (for best female actor in a supporting role) in Cactus Flower. Certainly we all should have gathered by then that her career would either be a flash in the pan or a long and successful sun-like blaze. Thank goodness its been the latter!
In this film, Goldie plays the part of Judy Benjamin a spoiled "JAP" (Jewish American Princess) who is about to marry the man of her dreams - Yale Goodman (played by Albert Brook - best known for his sweating anchorman part in Broadcast News). The wedding is a huge success and everything seems to be going perfectly for the new bride when while preparing to leave for their honeymoon, her husband dies during "the act" on the bathroom floor. One of the best lines in the film comes straight at the beginning when a relative of the dead groom insists on hearing what his last words were. I'm sure you can imagine the reply, but Goldie Hawn has such perfect comic timing that even this cliché comes off as funny.
Her parents Teddy and Harriet, played by Barbara Barrie and the late Sam Wanamaker, do all they can to try to console her. But even shopping, and redecorating and spending money can't get Judy out of her depression. Then, one day while wandering the streets in a daze, Judy sees a poster showing how wonderful the army is for women, and in a fit of depression, she joins. Yes, the rich Jewish girl joins the US Army!
How could someone be that stupid, you ask? Simple - the brochures showed pictures of fancy "Condos" on the white beaches of exotic foreign lands as examples of the army barracks! Now, if that was being offered to you, plus full room and board, free clothing, a "spa-like health plan" and on top of all of this they told you that they would pay you to enjoy all of this, well, wouldn't you sign on too? OK, so we have to believe that Judy is a bit naïve and not what one would classify as a genius. No problem there, as this was one of Goldie Hawn's hallmark characters. But that just helps the premise of the story to not be as totally far-fetched as it seems on the outset. And that is consistently portrayed in this film from the opening right through to the last scene. Never in the whole film do any characters do anything to make us doubt that they aren't completely life-like.
There are some truly wonderful performances in this film. As mentioned above, Barrie and Wanamaker are absolutely perfect as Benjamin's parents. These parents spoil her just enough to make sure that she'll do whatever they want, but are only slightly shocked when she shows them she can act like an adult. There's a stellar performance by Eileen Brennan as the tough-as-nails drill sergeant, who may have a heart of gold, but she's not going to show it to her recruits. Watch out for a small but significant role played by Mary Kay Place (who started out on the TV comedy Soap Opera "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" and went on to have a small but successful career as a Country Western singer with the song from that show called "Baby Boy"). Place plays a more street-wise recruits who eventually befriends Judy Benjamin and together they learn how to cope and adjust to army life.
There are many comic opportunities in this film, and the script takes advantage of practically all of them. From down-right basic slapstick to sophisticated puns and everything in between, we are pulled along with a smile on our faces. It seems like this film just goes from one charm to the next. And since the fodder is so very fertile, you can just imagine what kinds of jokes can come out of a situation like this. Sure, there are some obvious parts. Goldie must come up against a tough drill sergeant, some tough (if not tougher) fellow soldiers, and challenges - both physical and emotional - that she's never had to face before in all of her sheltered, spoiled, days of luxury. But the honest handling of these challenges and difficulties is just what makes this film a real winner. It makes me think that the director of this film, Howard Zieff is extremely talented, but unfortunately he doesn't have much in the way of successful movie credits. I'd say that this movie might well be his crowning glory.
But I can hear you saying "this still sounds pretty clichéd". And you might be right. Let's look again at the basic plot. Poor little rich girl gets thrown by circumstance into a tough situation and has to grow up quick and show her real stuff in order to survive. Yes, we've been there, seen that all before. And if the movie had only been about that, it would still have been delightful because of the magical comedic talents of the actors. But there's another side to this movie, and, as trite as it may seem (remember, we're talking 1980 here), the script includes a slightly "coming of age" sub-plot. We get to know Judy and see her go from an insecure, silly, spoiled twit to a woman who is independent and confident, if still a bit spoiled, but now she knows how to get her way by using her wits and not with her whine - and this script is nothing if not witty in the extreme. So even the slightly corny ending that boarders on the predictable can't ruin this film. The truth is, this isn't your typical romantic comedy - mostly because there's very little romancing going on, although there is a bit. The "romance" here is so minor that I'd have to say that this is a straight comedy, but yet, it isn't. Oh, who cares, right?
As for the sound track and special effects, let's remember that we're talking about a comedy made in 1980. Back then, Hollywood was still paying less attention to music and special effects for their lighter films. So to talk about those would be useless. Let's just say that the music doesn't disturb your viewing and whatever special effects are included are realistic enough so that you don't feel like anyone is stretching reality here.
I'd say that anyone looking for a fun movie that's well written and has a good solid cast should watch this film - you won't be disappointed. I therefore highly recommend this film and suggest you take it out of your local DVD or video library soon! I think you'll agree with me that it deserves a Medal of Honor!
Run time for this film is 109 minutes, DVD Release Date: June 28, 1999, Classification 15 (because there's one tiny sex scene, where you can't see anything and lots of "naughty" language).
This film is available to purchase on Amazon.co.uk on DVD for £5.97 (used & new from £4.50).
Amazon.co.uk Catalogue Number: D011075
DVD Features: Special Feature Information:
° Interactive Menus
° Scene Access
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 Wide Screen
Available Audio Tracks: Mono
Main Language: English
Dubbed Language(s): French, Italian
Sub Titles: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Hearing Impaired: English, Italian
Davida Chazan © October, 2002 - updated March, 2005