An Officer and a Gentleman
|An Officer and a Gentleman|
|Directed by||Taylor Hackford|
|Written by||Douglas Day Stewart|
|Produced by||Martin Elfand |
Douglas Day Stewart
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Edited by||Peter Zinner|
|Music by||Jack Nitzsche|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Budget||$6 million or $7 million|
|Box office||$190 million|
An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 American romantic drama film starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger, and Louis Gossett Jr. Gossett Jr. won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film, making him the first black male to do so. It tells the story of Zack Mayo (Gere), a United States Navy Aviation Officer Candidate who is beginning his training at Aviation Officer Candidate School. While Zack meets his first true girlfriend during his training, a young "townie" named Paula (Winger), he also comes into conflict with the hard-driving Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (Gossett Jr.) training his class.
The film was written by Douglas Day Stewart and directed by Taylor Hackford. Its title is an old expression from the Royal Navy and later from the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice's charge of "conduct unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman" (from 1860). The film was commercially released in the U.S. on August 13, 1982. It was well-received by critics, with a number calling it the best film of 1982. It also was a financial success, grossing $190 million against a $6 million or $7 million budget.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2021)
Zachary Mayo is preparing to report to Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) following college graduation. After his mother's suicide while he was a child, he had moved to the Philippines to live with his father, Byron, a US Navy Boatswain's Mate First Class. His father, initially reluctant to take Zack because he spent most of his time at sea and did not think he would be a good father, relents after Zack begs him to stay, and Zack grows up as a Navy brat at U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. Zack is now determined—despite his father's disapproval—to become a Navy pilot so Byron will have to salute him.
Upon arrival at AOCS, Zack and his classmates are shocked by the treatment they receive from their drill instructor, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, who tells them the next 13 weeks are designed to eliminate officer candidates (OCs) who are found to be mentally or physically unfit for commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. Foley warns the male candidates about the "Puget Sound Debs", local girls who dream of marrying a Naval Aviator to escape their dull lives. Foley warns the OCs they will feign pregnancy or even stop using birth control to become pregnant to trap a man. Zack and fellow candidate Sid Worley meet two local factory workers, Paula Pokrifki and Lynette Pomeroy, at a Navy Ball. Zack begins a relationship with Paula while Sid dates Lynette.
Foley runs the program mercilessly, and Recruit Topper Daniels drops out after nearly drowning in the Dilbert Dunker during a ditching-escape exercise. Foley believes Zack lacks motivation and is not a team player, and when he discovers Zack has a side business selling pre-shined shoes and belt buckles, he punishes Zack with an entire weekend of hazing to make him quit the program. Zack refuses, and Foley tells him he will expel him. Zack breaks down, telling Foley "I've got nowhere else to go. I've got nobody." Satisfied that Zack has come to a crucial self-realization, Foley gives him the chance to prove he can be a team player.
The next weekend, during an awkward meal with Paula and her family, Zack learns that Paula’s real father, an officer candidate like him, got Paula’s mother pregnant and refused to marry her. Later, during his last obstacle-course run, Zack has a chance to break the course record, but instead stops to encourage his teammate, Casey Seeger, who had been having trouble on the course, to succeed by climbing over a 12-foot (3.7 m) wall.
Zack attends a dinner with Sid and his parents and learns that Sid has a long-time girlfriend back home who was his late brother's girlfriend and whom he is planning to marry once he receives his commission. Meanwhile, Lynette has been dropping hints to Sid that she may be pregnant with his child. After having a severe anxiety attack during a high-altitude simulation in a pressure chamber, Sid realizes that he joined the program out of a sense of obligation to his family and quits without saying goodbye. He goes to Lynette's house to propose marriage but she rejects him, telling him she wants to marry a naval aviator, and that she is no longer pregnant. After Sid leaves, Zack shows up at Lynette's with Paula looking for Sid. After Lynette recaps the conversation she had with Sid, Zack accuses her of making up the pregnancy. Lynette denies this, and asks for Paula to vouch for her, which Paula refuses to do.
Zack and Paula go to the Tides Motel looking for Sid where they discover that he has hanged himself. Zack blames himself for Sid's suicide and heads back to base, intending to quit, but Foley will not let him. They fight an unsanctioned martial arts bout that neither wins because of Zack's expertise. An injured Foley tells an equally injured Zack "you can quit now if you want".
Zack stays and is commissioned into the Navy with his graduating class. Following naval tradition, he receives his first salute from Foley in exchange for a US silver dollar. While tradition calls for the drill instructor to place the coin in his left shirt pocket, Foley places the coin in his right pocket, acknowledging that Zack was a special candidate. Zack thanks the Gunnery Sergeant for not giving up on him and says he would have never have made it without him. While leaving the base, he sees Foley initiating a new OC class who are in the same position he was thirteen weeks ago. Now as Ensign Mayo with orders to undertake flight training, he finds Paula at the factory and declares his love to her. He picks her up and walks out with her in his arms to the applause of her colleagues, including Lynette.
(in credits order)
- Richard Gere as Aviation Officer Candidate Zack Mayo
- Debra Winger as Paula Pokrifki
- David Keith as AOC Sid Worley
- Robert Loggia as Senior Chief Petty Officer Byron Mayo (Zack's father)
- Lisa Blount as Lynette Pomeroy
- Lisa Eilbacher as AOC Casey Seeger
- Louis Gossett Jr. as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, USMC
- Tony Plana as AOC Emiliano Della Serra
- Harold Sylvester as AOC Lionel Perryman
- David Caruso as AOC Topper Daniels
- Victor French as Joe Pokrifki (Paula's stepfather)
- Grace Zabriskie as Esther Pokrifki (Paula's mother)
- Tommy Petersen as Young Zack
- Elizabeth Rogers as Betty Worley
- John Laughlin as Troy
- Ed Begley Jr. as Altitude Chamber Instructor (voice)
The film was shot in late 1981 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, at Port Townsend and Fort Worden. The U.S. Navy did not permit filming at NAS Pensacola in the Florida panhandle, the site of the actual Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1981. Deactivated U.S. Army base Fort Worden stood in for the location of the school, an actual Naval Air Station in the Puget Sound area, NAS Whidbey Island.
A motel room in Port Townsend, The Tides Inn on Water Street ( There was a plaque outside the room noting it as a filming location, although the room has been extensively refurbished. Some early scenes of the movie were filmed in Bremerton, with ships of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the background.), was used for the film.
The "Dilbert Dunker" scenes were filmed in the swimming pool at what is now Mountain View Elementary School (Port Townsend Jr High School during filming). According to the director's commentary on the DVD, the dunking machine was constructed specifically for the film and was an exact duplicate of the actual one used by the Navy. As of 2010[update], Mountain View Elementary is closed and is home to the Mountain View Commons, which holds the police station, food bank and the YMCA, the latter of which holds the pool.
The filming location of Paula Pokrifiki's house was 1003 Tremont in Port Townsend. As of 2009, the house was shrouded by a large hedge, and the front porch had been remodeled. The neighboring homes and landscape look identical to their appearance in the film, including the 'crooked oak tree' across the street from the Pokrifiki home. This oak tree is visible in the scene near the end of the film in which Richard Gere returns to the home to request Paula's help in finding his friend Sid. In the film, the plot has Paula leaving on a ferry ride away from the naval base. In reality, Paula's home is located approximately 8 blocks from Fort Worden.
Lynette Pomeroy's house was located on Mill Road, just west of the main entrance of the Port Townsend Paper Corp. mill. The house no longer exists, but the concrete driveway pad is still visible.
The interior of the USO building at Fort Worden State Park was used for the reception scene near the beginning of the film.
The concrete structure used during the famous Richard Gere line "I got nowhere else to go!" is the Battery Kinzie located at Fort Worden State Park. The scene was filmed on the southwest corner of the upper level of the battery. The 'obstacle course' was constructed specifically for the film and was located in the grassy areas just south and southeast of Battery Kinzie.
The decompression chamber was one of the only sets constructed for the film and as of 2013[update], it is still intact in the basement of building number 225 of the Fort Worden State Park. It can be seen through the windows of the building's basement.
Building 204 of Fort Worden State Park was used as the dormitory and its porch was used for the film's closing 'silver dollar' scene.
The blimp hangar used for the famous fight scene between Louis Gossett Jr. and Richard Gere is located at Fort Worden State Park and as of 2013[update] is still intact, but has been converted into a 1200-seat performing arts center called the McCurdy Pavilion.
The filming location for the exterior of 'TJ's Restaurant' is located at the Point Hudson marina in Port Townsend. The space is now occupied by a company that makes sails. The fictional "TJ's" is an homage to the Trader Jon's bar in Pensacola, Florida, as a naval aviator hangout until it closed later in November 2003. For years, it was traditional for graduating Aviation Officer Candidate School classes to celebrate their commissioning at "Trader's."
Originally, folk music singer and occasional actor John Denver was signed to play Zack Mayo. But a casting process eventually involved Jeff Bridges, Harry Hamlin, Christopher Reeve, John Travolta, and Richard Gere. Gere eventually beat all the other actors for the part. Travolta had turned down the role, as he did with American Gigolo (another Richard Gere hit).
The role of Paula was originally given to Sigourney Weaver, then to Anjelica Huston and later to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who dropped out to do the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High instead. Eventually, Debra Winger replaced Leigh for the role of Paula. Rebecca De Mornay, Meg Ryan, and Geena Davis auditioned for the role of Paula.
In spite of the strong on-screen chemistry between Gere and Winger, the actors did not get along during filming. Publicly, she called him a "brick wall" while he admitted there was "tension" between them. Thirty years later, Gere was complimentary towards Winger when he said that she was much more open to the camera than he was, and he appreciated the fact that she presented him with an award at the Rome Film Festival.
R. Lee Ermey was originally the main cast for Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley due to his time of being an actual drill instructor for the United States Marine Corps at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in the 1960s. However, Taylor Hackford instead cast Louis Gossett Jr. and had Ermey coach him for his role as the film's technical advisor. It was there where the "steers and queers" comment from Gossett's character in the 1982 movie came from, which was later used for Ermey's role in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.
Hackford kept Gossett Jr. in separate living quarters from other actors during production so Gossett could intimidate them more during his scenes as drill instructor. In addition to R. Lee Ermey, Gossett was advised by Gunnery Sergeant Buck Welscher, an actual Drill Instructor at Aviation Officer Candidate School, NAS Pensacola. He can be seen leading the senior class after the run.
Richard Gere rides a 750cc T140E Triumph Bonneville. Paramount purchased two of the motorcycle from Dewey's Cycle Shop in Seattle. The stunt bike is on display in the Planet Hollywood restaurant, Orlando, Florida. In the United Kingdom, Paramount linked with Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) Ltd on a mutual promotion campaign. Triumph's then-chairman, John Rosamond, in his book Save The Triumph Bonneville! (Veloce 2009), states it was agreed cinemas showing the film would be promoted at their local Triumph dealer, and T140E Triumph Bonnevilles supplied by the dealer would be displayed in the cinema's foyers.
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. 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 a portion of the score (that was used to write "Up Where We Belong") played 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."
Two versions of the film exist. The original, an uncensored R-rated cut and an edited-for-broadcast television cut (which first aired on NBC in 1986) are nearly identical. The main difference is that the nudity and a majority of the foul language are edited out when the film airs on regular television. However, the group marching song near the beginning of the film and Mayo's solo marching song are not voiceover edits; they are reshoots of those scenes for television. Also, the sex scene between Mayo and Paula is cut in half, and the scene where Mayo finds Sid's naked body hanging in the shower is also edited.
The film has been available on various formats, first on VHS and also DVD. It was first released on DVD in 2000 with two extra features, audio commentary and film trailer. It was released as a collectors edition in 2007 with new bonus material. The film debuted on Blu-ray in the U.S. by Warner Bros. and UK by Paramount Pictures in 2013, however the same bonus features ported from the 2007 DVD are only on the U.S. release. It was re-released in 2017 by Paramount Pictures.
An Officer and a Gentleman was an enormous box office success and went on to become the third-highest-grossing film of 1982, after E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial and Tootsie. It grossed $3,304,679 in its opening weekend and $129,795,554 overall at the US and Canadian box office. It sold an estimated 44 million tickets in the US and Canada. Internationally, it grossed $60 million for a worldwide gross of $190 million.
An Officer and a Gentleman was well received by critics and is widely considered one of the best films of 1982. The film holds an 80% rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 30 reviews, with the consensus: "Old-fashioned without sacrificing its characters to simplicity, An Officer and a Gentleman successfully walks the fine line between sweeping romance and melodrama". On Metacritic it has a score of 75% based on reviews from 8 critics. It received rave reviews from critics, most notably from Roger Ebert, who gave it four out of four stars. Ebert described An Officer and a Gentleman as "a wonderful movie precisely because it's so willing to deal with matters of the heart...it takes chances, takes the time to know and develop its characters, and by the time this movie's wonderful last scene comes along, we know exactly what's happening, and why, and it makes us very happy."
Rex Reed gave a glowing review where he commented: "This movie will make you feel ten feet tall!" British film critic Mark Kermode, an admirer of Taylor Hackford observed, "It's a much tougher film than people remember it being; it's not a romantic movie, it's actually a movie about blue-collar, down-trodden people."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions—#29
- 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- 2006: AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers—#68
Louis Gossett Jr. became the first African-American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the fourth African-American Oscar winner overall (after Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier and Isaac Hayes).
Producer Don Simpson complained about the song "Up Where We Belong", "The song is no good. It isn't a hit," and unsuccessfully demanded it be cut from the film. It later became the number one song on the Billboard charts.
Track Listing (Original Record)
|Song||Lyrics by||Performed by|
|"Up Where We Belong"||Will Jennings||Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes|
|"Theme from 'An Officer and a Gentleman"||Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie||Jack Nitzche|
|"Treat Me Right"||D. Lubahn and Pat Benatar||Pat Benatar|
|"Hungry for Your Love"||Van Morrison||Van Morrison|
|"Be Real"||D. Sahm||Sir Douglas Quintet|
|"Tush"||B. Gibbons, D. Hill and F. Beard||ZZ Top|
|"Tunnel of Love"||Mark Knopfler||Dire Straits|
|"Feelings"||Morris Albert||Morris Albert|
|"Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree"||Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown||Greg Pecknold|
|"Anchors Aweigh"||Charles A. Zimmerman, George D. Lottman and Alfred Hart Miles|
|"Moon River"||Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer|
|"Big Money Dollars"||John Thomas Lenox|
|"Gamelan Gong: Barong Dance"||David Lewiston|
|"The Plains of Mindanao"||Bayanihan 7|
|"Galan Kangin"||Gong Kebyar, Sebatu|
|"Love Theme From 'An Officer And A Gentleman"||Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Lee Ritenour||Lee Ritenour|
|"The Morning After Love Theme"||Jack Nitzsche||Jack Nitzsche|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||28|
|United States (Billboard 200)||38|
- The Takarazuka Revue adapted the movie as a musical in 2010 in Japan (Takarazuka Grand Theater; Tokyo Takarazuka Theater). The production was performed by Star Troupe and the cast included Reon Yuzuki as Zack Mayo, Nene Yumesaki as Paula Pokrifki and Kaname Ouki as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley.
- A stage musical, with book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen and songs by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner, directed by Simon Phillips, opened on May 18, 2012 at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Australia. The production received mixed reviews and closed after six weeks.
- Solomon, Aubrey (1989). Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, p. 198, ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
- "The Unstoppables". Spy. November 1988. p. 92.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 15, 2002). "Top 50 worldwide grossers". Variety. p. 52, Paramount at 90 supplement.
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- Perlman, Jake (August 8, 2014). "Was Jeff Bridges really supposed to play Batman and Indiana Jones?". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Omar, Aref (October 24, 2014). "TOP PICKS: Officers and gentlemen". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Kinser, Jeremy (September 1, 2012). "Richard Gere Accepted American Gigolo Role Because of Gay Subtext". The Advocate. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Naglazas, Mark (May 16, 2012). "Officer's stage salute". The West Australian. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
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- Krane, Jonathan D. (September 7, 2012). The Art & Science of Moviemaking (Part I). Polimedia Publishing. pp. 98–100.[ISBN missing]
- Klemesrud, Judy (August 20, 1982). "The making of a new D.I.: Director separated Gossett, Gere to sustain intensity". The Lakeland Register. pp. 1–2C.
- "1979 Triumph Bonneville Frame no. CXO6604 Engine no. CXO6604". Bonhams.com.
- Keith Turk (August 6, 2015). "1979 Triumph Bonneville T140E | ME & MY BIKE". Motorcyclist.
Honestly, it's just not a great motorcycle. It's from one of Triumph's worst years.
- "Gere begged director not to shoot romantic scene". PR Inside. April 29, 2007. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- An Officer and a Gentleman Blu-ray Archived April 25, 2019, at the Wayback Machine | United States | Warner Bros. | 1982 | 124 min | Rated R | May 07, 2013
- An Officer and a Gentleman Blu-ray Archived April 25, 2019, at the Wayback Machine | United Kingdom | Paramount Pictures | 1982 | 124 min | Rated BBFC: 15 | Sep 02, 2013
- An Officer and a Gentleman Blu-ray Archived April 25, 2019, at the Wayback Machine | United States | Paramount Pictures | 1982 | 124 min | Rated R | Sep 12, 2017
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- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 13, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "The 55th Academy Awards (1983) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
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