Private Benjamin


1h 50m 1980

Brief Synopsis

A spoiled rich girl joins the Army and changes her life.

Film Details

Also Known As
Tjejen som gjorde lumpen, bidasse
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
War
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Synopsis

When her husband dies on their wedding night, Jewish American princess Judy Benjamin is so traumatized that she is vulnerable to a pitch by a tricky recruiter and finds herself in the Women's Army Corps. Judy expects the spa-like atmoshere that she was promised, but is quickly disabused of this notion by the tough Captain Lewis. Now just one of the grunts, the pampered Judy has to work for her privileges for the first time, and after a grueling period of adjustment, grows into a good soldier, and a woman with solid self-esteem.

Crew

Dick Alexander

Sound

Kathryn Blondell

Hair

Martin Bolger

Sound

Rita Bordonaro

Hair

Robert Boyle

Production Designer

Ross Brown

Assistant Director

Jim Bullock

Sound Effects Editor

Milton C Burrow

Sound Effects Editor

Tom Case

Makeup

Betty Chaplin

Script Supervisor

Bill Conti

Music

Betsy Cox

Costume Designer

Serge Douy

Art Director

Bob Edsa

Camera Operator

Gene Fioramonti

Location Manager

Wayne Fitzgerald

Titles

Dennis R Foley

Technical Advisor

Lois Freeman-fox

Associate Editor

Edouard Garrouste

Production Coordinator

Jim George

Costumes

Goldie Hawn

Executive Producer

Jeffrey Howard

Art Director

Henri Jaquillard

Production Manager

Ricardo Romero Jones

Makeup

Sheldon Kahn

Editor

Andrew Macdonald

Sound

Bill Macsems

Props

William L Manger

Sound Editor

Eugene Marks

Sound Editor

Patrick Meunier

Location Manager

Nancy Meyers

Producer

Nancy Meyers

Screenplay

Harvey Miller

Screenplay

Harvey Miller

Producer

Charles Moran

Sound Effects Editor

Joseph A Mosca

Assistant Editor

Wallis Nicita

Casting

Jessica Overwise

Casting

Arthur J Parker

Set Decorator

Robert Peterson

Special Effects

Gina Picerni

Stunt Man

Louis Pitzele

Assistant Director

Vern Poore

Sound

Glynn Rubin

Stunt Coordinator

John Shannon

Photography

Charles Shyer

Screenplay

Charles Shyer

Producer

Dave Silver

Unit Production Manager

Victoria J Snow

Costumes

Jerry Sobul

Assistant Director

Lee Stitch

Production Coordinator

Juliette Toutain

Unit Manager

John M Walker

Color

David M. Walsh

Director Of Photography

David M. Walsh

Dp/Cinematographer

Film Details

Also Known As
Tjejen som gjorde lumpen, bidasse
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
War
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1980
Goldie Hawn

Best Original Screenplay

1980

Best Supporting Actress

1980
Eileen Brennan

Articles

Private Benjamin


When Goldie Hawn was giggling and go-going on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968-'70), few imagined she would one day be producing her own movies. But in 1979, with her marriage to Mark Hudson (of the Hudson Brothers) disintegrating and pregnant with her daughter Kate, that's exactly what she did.

Five months into her pregnancy, writes Marc Shapiro in Pure Goldie: The Life and Times of Goldie Hawn, "she was approached by a former script editor, Nancy Meyers, with a story idea. It was for something called Private Benjamin (1980). After reading the story outline, Hawn was hooked. 'You write the damned thing, 'she said,' and I'll produce it.'"

But that decision proved to be the easy part. The film, about a pampered rich girl who joins the Army, believing it will be a low-cost Club Med escape from her overbearing family in the wake of her husband's wedding-night death, should have been an easy sell with the bankable Hawn attached. But getting a studio interested was a tough sell for a woman with strong ideas of how she wanted the film done and - she'd only star if she could executive produce it: "In the beginning, they [the studio executives] would pat me on the head. To them I was still the cute little Goldie. But the minute I stood up and had something to say, I became the bitch," Hawn says in the Shapiro biography. "I didn't plan on becoming a producer....I only wanted to create better roles for myself, and I loved the idea of Private Benjamin so much that I felt it would be the perfect opportunity to finally control my own destiny." A deal was finally struck during a fateful June '79 Warner Bros. meeting where she had to constantly excuse herself for bouts of morning sickness. Days later Hawn gave birth to another labor of love, her daughter Kate.

Private Benjamin was close to Hawn's heart on a number of levels. As her relationship with husband Mark Hudson grew increasingly strained (his career was at a standstill), Hawn couldn't help but contemplate the struggles between independence and partnership faced by many women: "Private Benjamin points up some very tough, hard-edged realities," she explained. "My character is an Everywoman. She's been taught to be protected, spoiled, and taken care of. She's missed the revolution. She's the real unmarried woman, not the woman who walks away happy and in love. She walks alone but strong," she says in Pure Goldie.

Hawn showed an uncanny talent for the business end of things in her first gig as a producer. Word of mouth about her studio savvy quickly lured top-drawer talent such as Harry Dean Stanton, Eileen Brennan and Armand Assante to the movie. Having endured the agony of casting sessions herself over the years, Hawn was particularly sensitive to the selection process and handpicked actors for even the most minor roles. She also shouldered the task of wearing two hats for the film, showing up on set hours before the crew arrived and staying long after daily filming wrapped to view dailies and attend advertising/promotion meetings.

When the time came for Hawn to step in front of the camera, she wanted Judy Benjamin to be as believable as possible. So, with the cooperation of the U.S. Army, Hawn went through six weeks of basic training at Fort MacArthur, Calif., face to face with a real-life, screaming drill sergeant. "After going through basic training," Hawn said in Pure Goldie, "I would not resist the draft. Provided, of course, I could have a stunt double at all times." Her director, Howard Zieff (House Calls, 1978, The Main Event, 1979) appreciated Hawn the actress, for her game professionalism. "You don't have to work hard with people like Goldie around", he explained in Pure Goldie. "When I would talk about the concept of a scene, she would already be ahead of me."

Released in the fall of 1980 Private Benjamin proved to be a major hit with audiences and critics alike. It quickly recouped its $10 million cost and was well on its way to grossing $50 million by Christmas. Hawn scored an Oscar® nomination as Best Actress for her role and Eileen Brennan also received recognition in the Best Supporting Actress category. The film even spawned a series (1981-'83), in which Brennan reprised her role as Capt. Doreen Lewis. Judy Benjamin was played by Lorna Patterson, who already had a number of short-lived series under her belt (Working Stiffs, 1979, Goodtime Girls, 1980) and is best remembered for her role as the guitar-playing stewardess in Airplane (1980).

By the time Private Benjamin was in national distribution, Hawn was dealing with her final divorce from Hudson. But she had managed to pull off one of her most successful films ever, without seemingly missing a beat. Of his work with Hawn on Private Benjamin, Armand Assante told Marc Shapiro, "I never had the sense that what we were doing was work. It always seem like play. What she may have been going through internally is another thing. But she managed to keep a real positive bubble in the atmosphere."

Producer: Goldie Hawn, Nancy Meyers, Harvey Miller, Charles Shyer
Director: Howard Zieff
Screenplay: Nancy Meyers, Harvey Miller, Charles Shyer
Cinematography: David M. Walsh
Film Editing: Sheldon Kahn
Art Direction: Robert F. Boyle, Jeffrey Howard
Music: Bill Conti
Cast: Goldie Hawn (Pvt. Judy Benjamin), Eileen Brennan (Capt. Doreen Lewis), Armand Assante (Henri Alan Tremont), Robert Webber (Col. Clay Thornbush), Sam Wanamaker (Teddy Benjamin), Barbara Barrie (Harriet Benjamin).
C-110m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Emily Soares
Private Benjamin

Private Benjamin

When Goldie Hawn was giggling and go-going on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968-'70), few imagined she would one day be producing her own movies. But in 1979, with her marriage to Mark Hudson (of the Hudson Brothers) disintegrating and pregnant with her daughter Kate, that's exactly what she did. Five months into her pregnancy, writes Marc Shapiro in Pure Goldie: The Life and Times of Goldie Hawn, "she was approached by a former script editor, Nancy Meyers, with a story idea. It was for something called Private Benjamin (1980). After reading the story outline, Hawn was hooked. 'You write the damned thing, 'she said,' and I'll produce it.'" But that decision proved to be the easy part. The film, about a pampered rich girl who joins the Army, believing it will be a low-cost Club Med escape from her overbearing family in the wake of her husband's wedding-night death, should have been an easy sell with the bankable Hawn attached. But getting a studio interested was a tough sell for a woman with strong ideas of how she wanted the film done and - she'd only star if she could executive produce it: "In the beginning, they [the studio executives] would pat me on the head. To them I was still the cute little Goldie. But the minute I stood up and had something to say, I became the bitch," Hawn says in the Shapiro biography. "I didn't plan on becoming a producer....I only wanted to create better roles for myself, and I loved the idea of Private Benjamin so much that I felt it would be the perfect opportunity to finally control my own destiny." A deal was finally struck during a fateful June '79 Warner Bros. meeting where she had to constantly excuse herself for bouts of morning sickness. Days later Hawn gave birth to another labor of love, her daughter Kate. Private Benjamin was close to Hawn's heart on a number of levels. As her relationship with husband Mark Hudson grew increasingly strained (his career was at a standstill), Hawn couldn't help but contemplate the struggles between independence and partnership faced by many women: "Private Benjamin points up some very tough, hard-edged realities," she explained. "My character is an Everywoman. She's been taught to be protected, spoiled, and taken care of. She's missed the revolution. She's the real unmarried woman, not the woman who walks away happy and in love. She walks alone but strong," she says in Pure Goldie. Hawn showed an uncanny talent for the business end of things in her first gig as a producer. Word of mouth about her studio savvy quickly lured top-drawer talent such as Harry Dean Stanton, Eileen Brennan and Armand Assante to the movie. Having endured the agony of casting sessions herself over the years, Hawn was particularly sensitive to the selection process and handpicked actors for even the most minor roles. She also shouldered the task of wearing two hats for the film, showing up on set hours before the crew arrived and staying long after daily filming wrapped to view dailies and attend advertising/promotion meetings. When the time came for Hawn to step in front of the camera, she wanted Judy Benjamin to be as believable as possible. So, with the cooperation of the U.S. Army, Hawn went through six weeks of basic training at Fort MacArthur, Calif., face to face with a real-life, screaming drill sergeant. "After going through basic training," Hawn said in Pure Goldie, "I would not resist the draft. Provided, of course, I could have a stunt double at all times." Her director, Howard Zieff (House Calls, 1978, The Main Event, 1979) appreciated Hawn the actress, for her game professionalism. "You don't have to work hard with people like Goldie around", he explained in Pure Goldie. "When I would talk about the concept of a scene, she would already be ahead of me." Released in the fall of 1980 Private Benjamin proved to be a major hit with audiences and critics alike. It quickly recouped its $10 million cost and was well on its way to grossing $50 million by Christmas. Hawn scored an Oscar® nomination as Best Actress for her role and Eileen Brennan also received recognition in the Best Supporting Actress category. The film even spawned a series (1981-'83), in which Brennan reprised her role as Capt. Doreen Lewis. Judy Benjamin was played by Lorna Patterson, who already had a number of short-lived series under her belt (Working Stiffs, 1979, Goodtime Girls, 1980) and is best remembered for her role as the guitar-playing stewardess in Airplane (1980). By the time Private Benjamin was in national distribution, Hawn was dealing with her final divorce from Hudson. But she had managed to pull off one of her most successful films ever, without seemingly missing a beat. Of his work with Hawn on Private Benjamin, Armand Assante told Marc Shapiro, "I never had the sense that what we were doing was work. It always seem like play. What she may have been going through internally is another thing. But she managed to keep a real positive bubble in the atmosphere." Producer: Goldie Hawn, Nancy Meyers, Harvey Miller, Charles Shyer Director: Howard Zieff Screenplay: Nancy Meyers, Harvey Miller, Charles Shyer Cinematography: David M. Walsh Film Editing: Sheldon Kahn Art Direction: Robert F. Boyle, Jeffrey Howard Music: Bill Conti Cast: Goldie Hawn (Pvt. Judy Benjamin), Eileen Brennan (Capt. Doreen Lewis), Armand Assante (Henri Alan Tremont), Robert Webber (Col. Clay Thornbush), Sam Wanamaker (Teddy Benjamin), Barbara Barrie (Harriet Benjamin). C-110m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Emily Soares

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States October 1980

Released in United States Fall October 10, 1980

Released in United States October 1980

Released in United States Fall October 10, 1980