Private Benjamin 1980

Private Benjamin

Critics Consensus

Private Benjamin proves a potent showcase for its Oscar-nominated star, with Hawn making the most of a story that rests almost completely on her daffily irresistible charm.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 33

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,939

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Movie Info

A Jewish-American princess, Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn), is devastated when her husband (Albert Brooks) drops dead on their wedding night. While she grieves a duplicitous recruiter for the Women's Army Corps convinces her to enlist. Judy thinks her enlistment is like a vacation but Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan) quickly dashes her hopes of an easy time. As Judy goes through basic training like any other grunt, she becomes a good soldier and develops a sense of self-esteem.

Cast & Crew

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
Mary Kay Place
Pvt. Mary Lou Glass
Harry Dean Stanton
1st Sgt. Jim Ballard
Albert Brooks
Yale Goodman
Harvey Miller
Producer
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News & Interviews for Private Benjamin

Critic Reviews for Private Benjamin

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (6)

  • "Private Benjamin" seems coarse, sluggish and interminable as a comedy scenario, but the profoundly depressing aspect of it is that Goldie Hawn appears to be receding as a comedienne and emerging as a boss lady.

    May 8, 2017 | Full Review…
  • [Hawn's] not so gifted that she can carry a heavy load of indifferent material on her own two little shoulders, without considerable sagging.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Another depressing example of the big-screen gag-string sitcom, it turns exclusively on a plot that grew from a concept that developed from an idea that somebody should never have had - Goldie Hawn joins the army.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Quote not available.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Mr. Zieff demonstrates great skill in keeping the gags aloft and in finding new ways by which to free the laughs trapped inside old routines about latrine duty, war games, forced marches and calisthenics.

    August 30, 2004 | Full Review…
  • ...a fairly familiar premise that's mostly employed to affable effect by filmmaker Howard Zieff...

    March 14, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Private Benjamin

  • May 18, 2017
    One half of this situation comedy has a one joke premise that wears thin fast, that of a poor little rich girl forced to live out of her ivory tower. Ho-hum. The other half is essentially that all men are jerks and thus unreliable. Lesser Goldie Hawn. Pass.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2014
    When this film came out, it was a novelty to see a woman in military uniform. Now it just seems like a sad reflection of the times. Goldie is good but the rest is not.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2013
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2013
    Goldie Hawn -- I remember when she was cute. Sadly, cute grimaces don't make up for talent.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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