Private Benjamin

Private Benjamin

Howard Zieff (1980)

15 Certificate


Our Score
At a time when everyone was looking for a star vehicle for Goldie Hawn, she turned up in this high-octane tale about a Jewish princess who joins the US Army. It's basically a one-joke effort, but that joke has Hawn throwing herself with great gusto into the role of a bewildered spoilt brat who comes good and her Oscar-nominated performance has huge charm. If only director Howard Zieff had allowed someone else to get a look in - the members of the supporting cast are mere satellites around a perky sun - and the screenplay had been broadened to contain more than just gags about broken fingernails. Even so, Eileen Brennan (as best supporting actress) and the writers also received Oscar nominations.


A scatterbrained society woman looks for a change of pace after her husband dies on their wedding night, and is tricked by a duplicitous recruiter into enlisting in the army. In spite of the initial culture shock and conflict with her tough commanding officer, she gradually finds direction and self-esteem for the first time in her life. Upon completion of basic training, she meets a dashing French doctor, who is in Biloxi for a medical conference. They part ways after a brief romance but it is not long before she must decide between her Army career or love. Comedy, starring Goldie Hawn, Armand Assante, Eileen Brennan, Harry Dean Stanton, Sam Wanamaker and Barbara Barrie.

Cast & Crew

Judy Benjamin Goldie Hawn
Captain Doreen Lewis Eileen Brennan
Henri Tremont Armand Assante
Colonel Clay Thornbush Robert Webber
Teddy Benjamin Sam Wanamaker
Harriet Benjamin Barbara Barrie
Private Mary Lou Glass Mary Kay Place
Sergeant Jim Ballard Harry Dean Stanton
Yale Goodman Albert Brooks
Director Howard Zieff
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia-Emi-Warner Dists LtdGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, drug abuseAvailable on: video and DVD