Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1982. Lorimar Film Entertainment, Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Martin Elfand. Music by Jack Nitzsche. Production Design by Philip M. Jefferies. Costume Design by Rita Riggs, Laurie Riley. Film Editing by Nancy Klopper. Academy Awards 1982. Golden Globe Awards 1982. National Board of Review Awards 1982.
After having been raised in the Philippines by his insensitive father (and I love that they show delicately lit flashbacks to it as if they were setting up for a great epic), Richard Gere goes into basic training at a Navy Flight School and must survive his sadistic sergeant (Louis Gossett Jr.) in order to achieve his goal of graduating. Helping lighten things up is a new relationship with a local girl (Debra Winger, whose performance here made her a star overnight) who may either be taking him away from his career or helping him succeed at it. The story really doesn’t have anywhere in particular that it wants to go, but it does allow its actors to give some fine performances. Gere is amiably effective, sometimes pouting too much but overall strong, Winger completely natural in every scene and Gossett, Jr. steals every moment that he has with his incredible intensity. The film won its audiences over with its cracked sense of romance (which allowed them to overlook the rampant misogyny of David Keith‘s storyline), particularly in the sound of the Oscar-winning theme song ‘Up Where We Belong’, but in the years since it has merely aged as a tacky melodrama that even the World War II-era audiences would have ignored as schmaltz.