Private Benjamin

( 3 )

Overview

Devastated when her brand-new husband Albert Brooks drops dead on their wedding night, Jewish American princess Judy Benjamin Goldie Hawn is receptive to the pitch delivered by a duplicitous recruiter for the Women's Army Corps. Quickly adivsed by topkick Captain Lewis Eileen Brennan that she should not look forward to the private room, fancy clothes and sauna bath that she'd been promised, Judy is forced to go through basic training like any other "grunt." This turns out to be a real growth experience for the ...
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Overview

Devastated when her brand-new husband Albert Brooks drops dead on their wedding night, Jewish American princess Judy Benjamin Goldie Hawn is receptive to the pitch delivered by a duplicitous recruiter for the Women's Army Corps. Quickly adivsed by topkick Captain Lewis Eileen Brennan that she should not look forward to the private room, fancy clothes and sauna bath that she'd been promised, Judy is forced to go through basic training like any other "grunt." This turns out to be a real growth experience for the pampered Private Benjamin, who for the first time in her life has to work for her privileges. A brief misadventure with a lascivious paratroop officer Robert Webber nearly sours Judy on army life, but she turns out to be a darned good soldier-and a woman with a highly developed sense of self-esteem, which enables her to weather a further disappointing romantic fling with French phsycian Henri Tremont Armand Assante. Private Benjamin turned out to be one of Goldie Hawn's most profitable vehicles. The 1981-82 TV sitcom spinoff starred Lorna Patterson in Goldie's role, with Eileen Brennan repeating her film characterization of the long-suffering Captain Lewis.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Private Benjamin is a beloved film, a rallying call for burgeoning feminists and one of Goldie Hawn's most recognizable star vehicles. However, its narrative is also a mess and only funny in spots. The film doesn't understand what it wants to be -- a goofy military sendup or a tale of a spoiled young woman growing into independence. A smarter script would have had it both ways, but this one meanders, jumping in and out of the barracks and finishing with a third act that has nothing to do with the armed forces. If it had been filmed in the 1990s, Private Benjamin might have taken place entirely within basic training, centering on the struggles of Hawn's Judy Benjamin as she makes painful but funny strides to trade her jewelry for artillery. That might have been too tight and formulaic, but at least it would have been internally consistent. As is, the film jumps from a funny opener involving the absurd death of Judy's new husband (Albert Brooks), to Judy's pronounced difficulties in training, to her sudden rebound to head of the class, where she scores an assignment so select that only men had received it. Little explanation is given for her transition between these stations. And the third act, involving her engagement to a French skeezeball (Armand Assante), can only be considered a very dated, and hollow, feminist victory. The best way to explain the widespread appeal is the viewing public's much-deserved adoration of Hawn, who has some brilliant moments and became one of the most reliable comedic actresses of her generation. When Private Benjamin does trust its sillier instincts, it's a winner.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/2/1993
  • UPC: 085391521037
  • Original Release: 1980
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Goldie Hawn Judy Benjamin
Eileen Brennan Capt. Doreen Lewis
Armand Assante Henri Tremont
Sam Wanamaker Teddy Benjamin
Harry Dean Stanton Sgt. Jim Ballard
Barbara Barrie Harriet Benjamin
Robert Webber Col. Clay Thornbush
Mary Kay Place Pvt. Mary Lou Glass
Albert Brooks Yale Goodman
James Barnett
Estelle Marlow
Raymond Oliver
Clay Wright
Alan Oppenheimer Rabbi
Everett Covin Band Leader
Robert Hanley Arnie
Lee Wallace Mr. Waxman
Gretchen Wyler Aunt Kitty
Maxine Stuart Aunt Betty
Lillian Adams Mrs. Goodman
Tim Haldeman Stanley Goodman
Kopi Sotiropulos Limo Passerby
Stu Nahan Newscaster
J.P. Bumstead Induction Officer
Hal Williams Sgt. L.C. Ross
Toni Kalem Pvt. Ganelli
Damita Jo Freeman Pvt. Gloria Moe
Alston Ahern Pvt. P.J. Soyer
P.J. Soles Pvt. Wanda Winter
Craig T. Nelson Capt. William Woodbridge
Robin Hoff Red Team Soldier
Ed Lewis Red Team Soldier
Danny Wells Slick Guy
Keone Young Kim Osaka
Paul Marin Leo Lemish
Mimi Maynard Liz Lemish
Alice Hirson Mrs. Thornbush
Wil Albert Lt. Rahmi
Richard Herd General Foley
Sally Kirkland Helga
Lilyan Chauvin Mrs. Tremont
Allison Caine Voice Only
Technical Credits
Howard Zieff Director
Marty Bolger Sound/Sound Designer
Robert F. Boyle Production Designer
Bill Conti Score Composer
Betsy Cox Costumes/Costume Designer
Goldie Hawn Executive Producer, Producer
Jeffrey Howard Production Designer
Sheldon Kahn Editor
Nancy Meyers Producer, Screenwriter
Harvey Miller Producer, Screenwriter
Arthur Jeph Parker Set Decoration/Design
Bob Peterson Special Effects
Charles Shyer Producer, Screenwriter
Jerry Sobul Asst. Director
David M. Walsh Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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    Posted October 17, 2008

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    Posted November 24, 2011

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    Posted January 17, 2011

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