An Officer And A Gentleman

1982, Movie, R, 126 mins


Lou Gossett, Jr., won a much-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his stellar portrayal of a drill instructor in this story of determination and love set against the backdrop of a Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School. Richard Gere plays Zack Mayo, a would-be flyer with a tough-luck background who, like his classmates, must survive the rigors of training under draconian Marine sergeant Emil Foley (Gossett) before moving on to flight school. Sgt. Foley singles out Zack for special derision, and though he pushes his charge to the limit, the feisty Zack refuses to give up, eventually tangling with the DI in martial-arts battle. Meanwhile, Zack and classmate Sid Worley (David Keith), the film's tragic figure, become involved with a couple of local girls, millworkers Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger, who received a Best Actress nomination for her fine performance) and Lynette Pomeroy (Lisa Blount). Paula becomes convinced that Zack is like all the other officer candidates who do their training, take advantage of local women, and then disappear forever once they've earned their white uniform. Douglas Day Stewart's Oscar-nominated screenplay is generally involving (if a little overheated), but it is ultimately compromised by its sexism, particularly in the finale, which leaves Paula with only one hope for happiness--to be carried off by a dashing knight. Nonetheless, the performances are uniformly strong, with Gere offering some of his best work--though it pales in comparison with Gossett's tour de force as the tough, principled Sgt. Foley, which he patterned after real-life army DI Bill Dower (familiar to some from his appearances in Miller Lite commercials). The film's memorable theme song, "Up Where We Belong" (sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes), also won an Academy Award. leave a comment

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An Officer And A Gentleman
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