Goldie Hawn wins the Comedy Medal of Honor in this box-office smash about a pampered, upper-middle class princess who joins "today's Army." Eileen Brennen and Armand Assante co-star. Year: 1980 Director: Howard Zieff Starr... more »ing: Goldie Hawn, Eileen Brennen, Armand Assante« less
Goldie Hawn is so great in this film! I could watch it a thousand times and still find it great
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Great Film! Poor Treatment!
J. Bongiorno | Valley Stream, NY United States | 05/26/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Along with "Foul Play" this is one of Goldie Hawn's finest hours, playing a rich, pampered widow who is duped into joining the army. An hysterical comedy who's format has been returned to time and again, but never quite to this effect. Eileen Brennan is equally fantastic as the tough army officer you love to hate. I've been awaiting the release of this film on DVD for some time (along with Foul Play which hasn't yet been released), and it's here that I felt disappointed. For one, the only released version of this is in Standard Pan & Scan. I know some of you out there still cling to this outmoded format, but for the rest of us, this is unacceptable. At the very least, it should have been dual sided, with Widescreen on one side and Standard on the other. Secondly, they've done nothing with soundtrack other than present in Dolby Stereo 2.0. I realize that with some older titles, they don't bother to remaster the soundtrack in 5.0 (let alone DTS - the Ultimate sound format for your buck!), but I still think it's very lame that they do this. Anyway, there is a trailer, at least, but don't expect any deleted scenes, bloopers, or any other fancy features. The film can also be heard in French, but Spanish would also have been nice (there are at least Spanish subtitles). They've priced this relatively low (I guess because they knew what a lame job they did with it), but I'd have preferred a bit more of a higher price if it meant little more effort on their part for this truly classic comedy. Let's hope that "Foul Play" offers a lot more when it's finally released."
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 01/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judy is in an extremely vulnerable state and when she calls into a radio show to understand why her life is in turmoil, an army recruter asks to meet her. When she arrives, she is obviously confused and wants to escape from her problems.
An assignment in Europe, getting into peak physical shape and living in her own condo sounds just too tempting. The reality of the situation is not so tempting. $458 a month hardly makes up for your husband dying on your wedding night. When she arrives at boot camp and says: "Is green the only color these come in? Where are the yahts?" You just fall in love with her character.
The disturbingly insensitive Captain Doreen Lewis is a comic treat all by herself, yet even with a whip in hand, not even she can compete with the pouting princess. Doreen wants to toss Judy right back into the arms of her parents. However, when Judy's father tells her she is not intelligent enough to make her own decisions, something changes. Private Benjamin decides to stay.
Some of the great comic moments are when Goldie is cleaning the bathroom with her electric toothbrush. I have stayed at an army base in Germany and trust me, they could have used a bit of toothbrush cleaning. My thoughts were that in the army, everything was spotless. Not! So, this movie was even funnier since I could totally relate to some of the experiences Judy had to go through. Another reason to respect our men and women in the military!
While this is mostly a comedy, there is some romance, with a sadistic twist. You know there is going to be trouble when Judy asks: "Am I making sense?" And her French Fianc says: "No, and that `s what I love about you." You start to get the feeling that Judy is the only one who really knows what she wants and that no one else is listening.
Judy starts off running from her problems and ends up running from her problems. There are no real solutions presented, except to run. And maybe sometimes if you think about it, running is just a good idea.
Comic Entertainment at its finest!
~The Rebecca Review"
One of Goldie Hawn's Best Comedies
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 08/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Goldie Hawn has long had a knack for comedy. "Private Benjamin" is one of her best comedies. The "Jewish Princess" persona wears a little thin in a few places, but most of the time the comedy works well.
Judy Benjamin (Hawn) has led a pampered life. We learn this early in the movie when Judy becomes upset that the upholsterer has failed to find an obscure color for an ottoman. The movie proceeds to develop Judy's character as that of a woman that has received excessive luxuries from everyone in her life, with the only requirement that she be obedient. As we join the movie, it seems that Judy is about to get her life long wish. She is about to marry a man of great promise, her parents are thrilled, and she has tons of expensive wedding gifts. Unfortunately for Judy, the wedding night exertions are too much for her new spouse, and Judy finds herself a newlywed widow.
Judy learns that she is good for little. She is non-functional as a secretary. Judy is spoiled to the point of absurdity. She is unable to cook. I doubt she knows how to clean house. Judy realizes she needs to get her life moving along again, but she does not know how. A fortuitous phone call has Judy visiting an Army recruiter, where she learns that modern army life is full of beautiful bases, condos, and yachts, not to mention great medical benefits. Judy believes the recruiters picture of Army life, and heads off to basic training.
Basic training is filled with the lovely accommodating people that you might anticipate. Judy quickly learns that her recruiter misled her more than a lot. Captain Doreen Lewis (Eileen Brennan) initially makes Judy's life a living hell. Judy wants to quit the Army, but a visit from her parents makes Judy realize that she is tired of people pushing her around, so Judy turns into a model soldier.
Judy turns misfortune into embarrassment for Captain Lewis. Judy catches her current love interest Captain William Woodbridge (Craig T. Nelson) in a rather interesting position with a fellow recruit. Judy and a small band of misfits manage to take guard duty of a swamp and turn it into a major embarrassment of Captain Lewis, but glory for Judy and her gang. After Captain Lewis punishes the barracks once more for all the embarrassment she has received, Judy and her fellow recruits get their revenge with a little bit of dye.
Judy's life seems to have hit a turning point. She is in charge of herself and doing well. She turns another embarrassing incident into a European assignment. Judy soon finds the man of her dreams, again. Unfortunately, Captain Lewis also has an assignment at the same facility, and she still wants to make Private Benjamin's life as difficult as possible. Life becomes very interesting for Judy as she decides how to stay in control of her life.
This movie has far more humor than my mellow review would intimate. This movie has numerous one-liners that bring smiles all the way to serious laughs. Judy Benjamin complains to Captain Lewis that she signed up with a different Army, the one with the condos and the yachts. When a drill sergeant tells Private Benjamin that she is only permitted to stop running if she is puking, she does; on his shoes. When Captain Lewis tells Judy that she is not fit to wear an Army uniform, Judy replies that she has been trying to tell her that.
Goldie Hawn does an excellent job of bringing the role of Private Benjamin to life. She performed so well that she was nominated for a Best Actress in a Leading Role. Eileen Brennan was also outstanding, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Both nominations were well deserved.
This movie is rated R because it has several scenes that are bit risqué. Considering today's standards, an R rating seems a little excessive. Regardless, this movie is not a family movie.
The occasional bumpy spots in the movie are more than compensated for by the humor of the rest of the movie. This movie is one that I watch when I want light comedy with guaranteed funny jokes. After watching this movie a half dozen times, I suspect I will watch it many more times. Now, if they would release this movie in a wide screen format, this movie would be even better. "
Goldie Hawn; simply delightful
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 05/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Goldie Hawn in arguably one of her best films (certainly one of her greatest performances of the 80's).
PRIVATE BENJAMIN is the story of a "Jewish princess" called Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn), whose new husband expires on the honeymoon. With very little on the horizon, she rashly decides to enter the army, but comes under the wrath of tyrannical Captain Doreen Lewis (Eileen Brennan in an Oscar-nominated performance, and later a short-lived television sitcom spin-off).
A classic "fish out of water" story, produced by Hawn and largely-tailored to her comedy talents.
An amazing supporting cast too, with Armand Assante, Sam Wanamaker, Mary Kay Place, Albert Brooks, P.J. Soles, Craig T. Nelson, Barbara Barrie, Harry Dean Stanton, Gretchen Wyler and Sally Kirkland."
The Film 5 Stars, The DVD 1 Star!
James Helberg | Detroit, MI United States | 08/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Private Benjamin" was one of the best comedies of the 80's as well as one of Goldie Hawn's greatest performances besides "Cactus Flower", "Sugarland Express", "Foul Play", "Overboard", and "The First Wives Club" all of the titles I just listed have been released in decent DVD editions! Sadly the "Private Benjamin" DVD only exsists in this sub-standard Pan and Scan version! Plus the sound and picture quality is very poor! This title is way overdue for a Special Edition. Widescreen with some great special features like perhaps an audio commentary by Ms. Hawn and co-star Eileen Brennan! It would be fun to hear two old friends talk about the fun they had in their Oscar nominated roles. I've noticed that Goldie Hawn has yet to do an audio commentary on any of her films released on DVD. I wonder why? Anyway, I would love to see Warner Bros. give this title the treatment it deserves! I keep checking to see if a Special Edition is on the way but, no! Now I see that WB is releasing a comedy double feature DVD with this title and "Protocol" on one disc. Most likely WB will issue the same content on the double feature disc making a remastered Widescreen edition most un-likely! To bad! Such shabby treatment for a wonderful, beloved, box office hit that made alot of money for WB! I'm still hopeful that a better DVD edition will be released one day! Until then I'll continue to view this poor DVD edition!"