An Officer and a Gentleman

August 13th, 1982


An Officer and a Gentleman

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Still of David Keith and Lisa Blount in An Officer and a GentlemanStill of Richard Gere in An Officer and a GentlemanStill of Richard Gere and Debra Winger in An Officer and a GentlemanStill of Richard Gere and Debra Winger in An Officer and a GentlemanStill of Richard Gere and David Keith in An Officer and a GentlemanStill of Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman

A young man must complete his work at a Navy Flight school to become an aviator, with the help of a tough gunnery sergeant and his new girlfriend.

Release Year: 1982

Rating: 6.8/10 (20,971 voted)

Critic's Score: 75/100

Director: Taylor Hackford

Stars: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith

Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. GySgt Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.

Richard Gere - Zack Mayo
Debra Winger - Paula Pokrifki
David Keith - Sid Worley
Robert Loggia - Byron Mayo
Lisa Blount - Lynette Pomeroy
Lisa Eilbacher - Casey Seeger
Louis Gossett Jr. - Sgt. Emil Foley
Tony Plana - Emiliano Della Serra
Harold Sylvester - Perryman
David Caruso - Topper Daniels
Victor French - Joe Pokrifiki
Grace Zabriskie - Esther Pokrifiki
Tommy Petersen - Young Zack
Mara Scott-Wood - Bunny (as Mara Scott Wood)
David Greenfield - Schneider

Taglines: Life gave him nothing, except the courage to win...and a woman to love.

Release Date: 13 August 1982

Filming Locations: Bremerton, Washington, USA

Opening Weekend: $3,304,679 (USA) (1 August 1982) (346 Screens)

Gross: $129,795,552 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Kristy McNichol and Brooke Shields were each offered the role of Paula, but both turned it down.

Errors in geography: The beginning of the movie is set in Seattle, Washington, but when Zack gets on his motorcycle to leave from his father's house, it is outside the Naval Base in Bremerton, Washington, on the other side of Puget Sound. Seattle does not have a Naval home port.

[first lines]
Mayo: [whispered to sleeping father] Hey.
[flashback to Manila]
Byron: Hey, kid! Are you Zack?
Young Zack: Yes, sir.
Byron: I'm Byron; nice to meet you. Come on, let's get your bags, OK?
Young Zack: Yes, sir.

User Review

Great story of self-discovery made even better by strong performances

Rating: 9/10

'An Officer And A Gentleman' is a brilliant film with great performances from Richard Gere, Louis Gossett Jr. and Debra Winger. Richard Gere embodies the character of Zack Mayo, a troubled young man who, due to neglect and ill parenting by a military father, signs up with the Navy to get some direction in his misguided life.

Mayo's life is made even harder by the ball-busting Sergeant Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.) upon his arrival at the barracks, and he struggles to find his place. However, he does find it in himself to stand-up to the overbearing Foley and his own inner-demons and, during the course of the film, goes from being selfish, weak and undisciplined to considerate, strong and determined. His will, as well as the love of the beautiful Paula (Debra Winger) and the guidance of Foley, makes him stay the course and lifts him 'up where he belongs'.

Richard Gere is great in adding layers to what could have been a poorly drawn characterisation. Mayo is not always the 'good guy' and is more often than not a complete prick. Nevertheless, he undertakes a journey of self-discovery where he refuses to become a carbon copy of his father and takes hold of his own destiny, turning himself into the man he wants to be. Gere has never been better on film than when he screams, `I got nowhere else to go!' at Foley in such a heartbreaking howl that the audience can literally feel his pain.

Debra Winger is also good as Paula, a downtrodden factory girl trapped in a small-minded small town with a lack of opportunities for women. She not only finds a way out in her love for Mayo, but the hope of a better future somewhere else. Louis Gossett Jr. also stands out as the foul-mouthed, domineering Sergeant Foley who proves to be pivotal in Mayo's journey.

With a great soundtrack, strong performances and the most rousing and emotional final scene in a film since 'Rocky', 'An Officer And A Gentleman' deserves its place among the classics of film history.


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