An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
October 26, 2020 8:11 PM - Subscribe

A young man must complete his work at a Navy Officer Candidate School to become an aviator, with the help of a tough Gunnery Sergeant and his new girlfriend.

Wikipedia's intro:
An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 American romantic drama film[4] starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger, and Louis Gossett Jr., who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film, making him the first African American 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 $130 million[3] against a $6 million budget.[1]
Ebert's review: four stars. His conclusion is spot-on: "An Officer and a Gentleman" 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.

Trailer [yt]

Time Out's positive review and Time Out's negative review.

25 Years Later (without Debra Winger) [yt]

Janet Maslin at NYT had high praise for Richard Gere: The best thing about ''An Officer and a Gentleman'' is the level of acting that is sustained throughout, particularly in the key performances of Mr. Gere, Miss Winger and Mr. Gossett. Mr. Gere has never been this affecting before; there's an urgency to his performance, some of it visibly induced by the hard physical work of the basic-training sequences, that cuts right through his manner of detachment.

Poster's comments:
There's not anything to say that the positive reviews don't say better. I've seen this movie all the way through not a few times, but having grown up in the eighties, if I had a buck for every time I've stopped to watch Gere in the last scene, I'd have some serious dough. The movie is of it's time, yet timeless.
posted by Fukiyama (10 comments total)
It gets billed as a romantic drama, but to me it's really about Zack proving that everyone who doubted him (most especially himself) was wrong, and getting a better dad in the form of Sgt. Foley. It's been a very long while since I've seen this, but I still remember seeing it in the theater and someone in the audience taking a picture of Zack when he's in bed with his girlfriend. Lots of good performances in this, including David Keith, not to be confused with Keith David, which I have done in the past. And the last scene is indeed unabashedly romantic.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:49 PM on October 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Forever addressing jars of mayonnaise as "MAY-YO-NAISE".
posted by fleacircus at 3:37 AM on October 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

The military base was played by Fort Worden Historical State Park - if you find yourself in that neck of the woods, it's a nice visit.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:19 AM on October 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just came in here to say that I've always loved this movie. Scratches all my itches.
posted by sundrop at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I still have never seen this movie (and now I will - its sounds like exactly something I would enjoy!) but when I was a kid and this movie was new, I had a 100% wrong idea of what it was about. Like, totally based on the poster and me parsing the titular "officer" and "gentleman" as different people (being unfamilar with the phrase) I filled in that it was about Officer Debra Winger and Gentleman Richard Gere and it had something to do with him wanting to wear her fancy uniform and it resulting in adult scenarios. I know.
posted by cocotine at 10:10 AM on October 28, 2020 [10 favorites]

cocotine, that would be a completely cromulent romance story plot; if the story ever gets remade (based on current trends, that's a very likely possibility), I'd totally go for that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2020

totally go for that version, late at night, alone, browser in incognito mode, remembering to clear cache after... ;-)
posted by sammyo at 2:20 PM on October 28, 2020

my spouse also parsed the title as two different people, but alas not in that manner
posted by fleacircus at 3:45 AM on October 29, 2020

I (white dude) was raised in the mostly-white northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC (class of 1983). There were 800+ kids in my graduating class, and I can remember maybe 10 Black kids. When Gere and Gosset fought in the blimp hander and Gosset said, 'your blood's red same as mine" it really meant something to me. (And I just now discovered it's likely a quote from Huckleberry Finn.)
posted by kirkaracha at 12:01 AM on October 31, 2020

This and Bull Durham are two of my favorite romantic movies. I also like how Mayo is so supportive of the one woman in his training class (Seeger!)
posted by emd3737 at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2020

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