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Private Benjamin

Private Benjamin movie poster
Directed by Howard Zieff
Produced by Nancy Meyers
Harvey Miller
Charles Shyer
Goldie Hawn (executive producer)
Written by Nancy Meyers
Harvey Miller
Starring Goldie Hawn
Eileen Brennan
Armand Assante
Music by Bill Conti
Barry De Vorzon
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Editing by Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 7, 1980
Running time 109 min
Country  United States
Language English

Private Benjamin is a 1980 American comedy film starring Goldie Hawn. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of 1980[1], and also spawned a short-lived television series. The film is ranked 82 on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies" poll[2], and 58 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies"[3].


Plot details

Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a JAP who joins the U.S. Army after her new husband dies on their wedding night during sex. Duped by a sneaky recruiting sergeant (Harry Dean Stanton), who lets her believe military life to be more glamorous than it is, she has a rude awakening in boot camp. Her superior officer Captain Doreen Lewis (Eileen Brennan) takes special delight in making her life hell. Judy is forced to re-evaluate her conduct when given the option of quitting the Army on psychiatric grounds. She chooses to stick it out, and has a series of adventures which eventually lead to promotion.

During her service Judy meets Henri Tremont (Armand Assante), a dashing French doctor. However, their romance is short-lived when he returns to Paris and she to her army career. Later Judy manages to be assigned to NATO headquarters in Paris, where she meets up with Henri again. He proposes marriage; she accepts, but must give up her army career to do so.

Later in the relationship Judy discovers Henri's controlling side, when he tries to 'remake' her, and when forced to sign a complicated prenuptial agreement in his favor. Then, when she finds out Henri is madly in love with an old flame with whom he has already cheated on her, she realizes she is in danger of losing her hard-won independence. She walks out on her wedding and Henri just before they take their vows.


Awards and nominations

Private Benjamin was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Goldie Hawn), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eileen Brennan) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

American Film Institute recognition

Television series

In 1981, Private Benjamin was made into a Golden Globe-winning television series starring Lorna Patterson, Eileen Brennan, Hal Williams, Lisa Raggio, Wendie Jo Sperber and Joel Brooks (it originally aired 1981 – 1983).


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" on Lists of Bests

External links



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