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. Gunnery Sergeant Emil 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.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Zack tells Paula that he will later be stationed in Beeville, Texas to learn to fly jets. Beeville was actually home, until the mid nineties, of Naval Air Station Chase Field, where Navy pilots trained. The base has since been closed, and the site converted into prison transfer units, and a trustee camp. It is near the site of a maximum security prison. See more »
In the scene on the beach outside of the Tides Motel after Sid is found dead, an ambulance siren is heard. In fact Sid's body had been seen being loaded into coroner's vehicle. Normally a coroner's wagon would not be running a siren to avoid causing unnecessary confusion to other drivers. See more »
[whispered to sleeping father]
[flashback to Manila]
Hey, kid! Are you Zack?
I'm Byron; nice to meet you. Come on, let's get your bags, OK?
See more »
With special thanks to Art Kulman of the Washington State Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development, Fort Worden State Park, Gus Gustafson, Brent Shirley, and the people of Port Townsend, Washington. See more »
TV versions typically eliminate the pre-credits scenes with young Zack in the Phillipines, after his mother has died and he joins his father. See more »
An Officer and a Gentleman is a well-crafted melodrama set against the back drop of the elite Naval Aviator training facility in upstate Washington. Richard Gere portrays Zachary Mayo, a young man and son of a career sailor who has risen from residing above a house of ill repute in the Philippines to becoming an officer's candidate destined to fly jets.
Gere is terrific as Mayo, and works incredibly hard to combine the complex emotions of the character with his seemingly, simplistic facade. Gere is supported by a great cast including Debra Winger as the young factory worker who yearns of a better life with Mayo, David Keith as a cadet who's not all that he seems, and the legendary Louis Gossett, Jr. as Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley, Mayo's adamant and hard-edged drill instructor who remains Zach's total bane of existence. Gossett won a well-deserved Oscar for this role, and he remains the true highlight of this film.
Some have called An Officer and a Gentlemen out-dated, improbable, and too melodramatic, and perhaps it is all of these. But, it is so entertaining and so enthralling, I find it easily to become enveloped by the picture's story and characters. You want them all to succeed, and you feel for them when they fail. This is the true mark of a truly great film.
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