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; he thought that wouldn't work because it was too sentimental. Director 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 added ("Up Where We Belong"), he said it gave him chills. Gere is now convinced Hackford made the right decision.
Producer Don Simpson unsuccessfully demanded "Up Where We Belong" be cut from An Officer and a Gentleman, saying, "The song is no good. It isn't a hit."
However, the American Top 40 radio stations disagreed with Simpson's comments, as the single, released by Island Records in 1982, hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 1982 and held the top chart position for three consecutive weeks, also reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies in the United States.