An Officer and a Gentleman deserves a 21-gun salute, maybe 42. Rarely does a film come along with so many finely-drawn characters to care about.

An Officer and a Gentleman deserves a 21-gun salute, maybe 42. Rarely does a film come along with so many finely-drawn characters to care about.

Officer belongs to Louis Gossett Jr, who takes a near-cliche role of the tough, unrelenting drill instructor and makes him a sympathetic hero without ever softening a whit.

The title refers to the official reward awaiting those willing to endure 13 weeks of agony in Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School, whose initial aim – via Gossett – is to wash out as many hopefuls as possible before letting the best move on to flight training.

Pic is a bit muddled, via flashback, in setting up Richard Gere’s motives for going into the training. Suffice to say he did not enjoy a model childhood. On leave, Gere meets Debra Winger, one of the local girls laboring at a paper mill and hoping for a knight in naval officer’s uniform to rescue her from a life of drudgery. It’s another fetching little slut role for Winger and she makes the most of it.

A secondary romance involves Gere’s friend and fellow candidate (David Keith), who takes a tumble for Winger’s friend (Lisa Blount), another slut but not so fetching.

1982: Best Supp. Actor (Louis Gossett Jr), Original Song (‘Up Where We Belong’).

Nominations: Best Actress (Debra Winger), Original Screenplay, Editing, Original Score, Original Song (‘Up Where We Belong’)

An Officer and a Gentleman

Production

Lorimar. Director Taylor Hackford; Producer Martin Elfand; Screenplay Douglas Day Stewart; Camera Donald Thorin; Editor Peter Zinner; Music Jack Nitzsche; Art Director Philip M. Jefferies

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1982. Running time: 126 MIN.

With

Richard Gere Debra Winger Louis Gossett Jr David Keith Lisa Blount Lisa Eilbacher

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