Private Benjamin (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Devastated when her brand-new husband (Albert Brooks) drops dead on their wedding night, Jewish American princess Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) is receptive to the pitch delivered by a duplicitous recruiter for the Women's Army Corps. Quickly adivsed by topkick Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan) that she should not look forward to the private room, fancy clothes and sauna bath that she'd been promised, Judy is forced to go through basic training like any other "grunt". This turns out to be a real growth experience for the pampered Private Benjamin, who for the first time in her life has to work for her privileges. A brief misadventure with a lascivious paratroop officer (Robert Webber) nearly sours Judy on army life, but she turns out to be a darned good soldier-and a woman with a highly developed sense of self-esteem, which enables her to weather a further disappointing romantic fling with French phsycian Henri Tremont (Armand Assante). Private Benjamin turned out to be one of Goldie Hawn's most profitable vehicles. The 1981-82 TV sitcom spinoff starred Lorna Patterson in Goldie's role, with Eileen Brennan repeating her film characterization of the long-suffering Captain Lewis. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures

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Goldie Hawn
as Pvt. Judy Benjamin
Eileen Brennan
as Capt. Doreen Lewis
Armand Assante
as Henri Alan Tremont
Sam Wanamaker
as Teddy Benjamin
Harry Dean Stanton
as 1st Sgt. Jim Ballard
Robert Webber
as Col. Clay Thornbush
Albert Brooks
as Yale Goodman
Barbara Barrie
as Harriet Benjamin
Mary Kay Place
as Pvt. Mary Lou Glass
Gretchen Wyler
as Aunt Kissy
Maxine Stuart
as Aunt Betty
Estelle Marlov
as Vocalist at Wedding
Everett Covin
as Bandleader
Lee Wallace
as Mr. Waxman
James Dybas
as Photographer
Lillian Adams
as Mrs. Goodman
Sandy Weintraub
as Harvey Goodman
Tim Haldeman
as Stanley Goodman
Kopi Sotiropulos
as Limo Passerby
Stu Nahan
as Newscaster
J.P. Bumstead
as Induction Officer
Hal Williams
as Sgt. L.C. Ross
Toni Kalem
as Pvt. Gianelli
Damita Jo Freeman
as Pvt. Gloria Moe
Alston Ahern
as Pvt. P.J. Soyer
P.J. Soles
as Pvt. Wanda Winter
Craig T. Nelson
as Capt. William Woodbridge
James Barnett
as Drill Instructor
Robin Hoff
as Red Team Soldier #2
Ed Lewis
as Red Team Soldier #3
Clay Wright
as Helicopter Pilot
Richard Herd
as Brig. Gen. Foley
Denise Halma
as Gabrielle
Lilyan Chauvin
as Mrs. Tremont
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Critic Reviews for Private Benjamin

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (1)

Funny fish-out-of-water comedy with lots of sexual content.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Common Sense Media

Goldie Hawn gives a charming, Oscar-nominated performance in this lightly feminist service comedy.

Full Review… | May 1, 2011

Goldie Hawn at the height of her powers.

November 6, 2005

Funny, popular Goldie Hawn comedy set in army boot camp.

June 12, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Private Benjamin is a comic fairy tale with a delightful performance by Goldie Hawn.

Full Review… | January 29, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Why do people like this movie? I don't get it,

January 7, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Private Benjamin

Thinking that it's a vacation spot, Jewish American Princess joins the Army. Goldie Hawn, whose work never impressed me before, gives an excellent performance, mostly in her silence. Her cold, hurt stare at her father when her parents come to pick her up from boot camp, her dead-pan sex scene - she's great in the in-between moments. The film's femme-power message is good, but most of the story belies believability. Even the dumbest person wouldn't believe the myths about vacation condos in the Army, Private Benjamin's defeat of the opposing squad, the lecherous superior officer, her time in Paris, even the cliche of girls sitting around talking about how they lost their virginity - it's all too trite and too convenient and bespeaks heavy-handed writing. This story doesn't unfold; it jumps. Overall, Hawn's work is remarkable, but the film's flimsy plot leaves much to be desired.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Goldie Hawn -- I remember when she was cute. Sadly, cute grimaces don't make up for talent.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


It's a good film, but only for it's obvious target audience. It has a few funny moments but it got boring in it's second half and ran out of steam. The performance of Goldie Hawn is great but everything else could have been better leaving this chick flick as enjoyable as accidentally signing up for the army.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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