Private Benjamin (1980 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Howard Zieff|
|Produced by||Nancy Meyers
|Written by||Nancy Meyers
|Music by||Bill Conti
Barry De Vorzon
|Cinematography||David M. Walsh|
|Editing by||Sheldon Kahn|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||109 minutes|
Private Benjamin is a 1980 American comedy film starring Goldie Hawn. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of 1980, and also spawned a short-lived television series. The film is ranked 82 on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies" poll, and 59 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) is a Jewish American woman who joins the U.S. Army after her new husband (Albert Brooks) dies on their wedding night during sex. Duped by a sneaky recruiting sergeant, Jim Ballard (Harry Dean Stanton), who lets her believe military life to be more glamorous than it is, she has a rude awakening in boot camp. After getting in trouble constantly, Judy wants to quit, and is astonished to learn that she can't.
Army regulations and the continuing disapproval of Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan) frustrate her, but Judy does meet Henri Tremont (Armand Assante), a dashing French doctor. They separate after a brief romance, but Judy manages to be assigned to SHAPE in Belgium, where she meets up with Henri again. He proposes marriage and she accepts, but when Capt. Lewis discovers that Tremont is a communist, Judy is forced to choose either her Army career or him.
After she opts for marriage, Judy discovers Henri's controlling side. He tries to "remake" her, and also forces her to sign a prenuptial agreement in his favor. Then, when she finds out Henri is still madly in love with an old flame (his ex, Clare) and has cheated on her with their maid, she realizes that she is capable of doing whatever she wants, and that she doesn't need Henri in her life. She walks out on him at the altar to go and live her own life.
- Goldie Hawn as Private Judy Benjamin
- Eileen Brennan as Captain Doreen Lewis
- Armand Assante as Henri Alan Tremont
- Robert Webber as Colonel Clay Thornbush
- Sam Wanamaker as Teddie Benjamin
- Barbara Barrie as Harriet Benjamin
- Mary Kay Place as Private/2nd Lieutenant Mary Lou Glass
- Harry Dean Stanton as 1st Sergeant Jim Ballard
- Hal Williams as Sergeant L.C. Ross
- P.J. Soles as Private Wanda Winter
- Craig T. Nelson as Captain William Woodbridge
- Albert Brooks as Yale Goodman
- Alan Oppenheimer as Rabbi
- Toni Kalem as Private Gianelli
- Damita Jo Freeman as Private Gloria Moe
- Alston Ahern as Private P.J. Soyer
- Lee Wallace as Mr. Waxman
Awards and nominations
Private Benjamin was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Goldie Hawn), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eileen Brennan) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
American Film Institute recognition
- 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #82
In 1981, Private Benjamin was made into an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning television series of the same name starring Lorna Patterson, Eileen Brennan, Hal Williams, Lisa Raggio, Wendie Jo Sperber and Joel Brooks (it originally aired 1981–1983). Brennan and Williams had reprised their roles, that of Captain Doreen Lewis and Sergeant L.C. Ross, from the film for the television series.
In March 2010, Anna Faris has been cast to portray Judy Benjamin in a remake of Private Benjamin from New Line Cinema. Amy Talkington is in talks to write the script and Mark Gordon is set to produce.
The new take will set the story in contemporary times with modern wars as the backdrop. Insiders say the studio doesn’t want to poke fun at the people in the service or take political potshots, but rather focus on the empowerment elements and build on the fish-out-of-water comedy.
It is not to be confused with the similarly-named, but unrelated, 2011 Filipino film.
- "Private Tutor". Infoplease.com. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" on Lists of Bests". Listsofbests.com. 2006-06-02. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Anna Faris to star in 'Private Benjamin' remake (exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
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