#7. An Officer and a Gentleman

After a little hiatus, I’m back to the 100 films project, and its another military movie…I’ll change it up soon, I swear!

Growing up in Knoxville, TN I always heard about David Keith (an actor from Knoxville) and finally got around to seeing one of his marquee roles in the film An Officer and a Gentleman.

Richard Gere plays the lead role as Zack, who is joining the Navy to get his life together and escape the rollercoaster drama of his crazed alcoholic father (a brief role by Robert Loggia).  Zack arrives to training camp and is coldly received by Sgt. Foley (brilliantly played by Louis Gossett, Jr.).  Foley unleashes his own brand of fire and brimstone to eliminate cadets, as they work towards a million dollar flight education upon graduation.

Zack immediately befriends Sid (David Keith) who shares an interest in picking up some of the local ladies.  They are warned by Foley that many of the local factory girls are just looking for a ticket out of town with a Navy man, but that doesn’t stop Zack and Sid from pairing up with Paula (Debra Winger) and Lynette (Lisa Blount) respectively.

As Foley torments the cadets, he singles out Zack and rides him relentlessly as he believes Zack has the most potential of the candidates.  As graduation nears, Zack and Sid deal with the increasing pressure of their uncertain love lives and the enormous responsibility of looming flight school.  As tension builds, their paths eventually splinter into two very different fates.

Louis Gossett, Jr. is hell on wheels and rightly deserving of his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role.  Though Richard Gere is rugged yet charming and established a career playing the same part over and again, David Keith is the unsung hero here as he portrays a very conflicted and capturing role.

An Officer and a Gentleman succeeds and escapes predictability (and genre) by balancing an intense military story and melodramatic romance with a few surprising curveballs.  The film is not quite a chick flick and not quite Platoon, and offers something for every viewer-even if it falls prey to the ultimately cheesy ending.

The survey says…3.5 stars out of 5.

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Categories: 100 Films

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2 Comments on “#7. An Officer and a Gentleman”

  1. PTD
    February 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    You should review some Paul Thomas Anderson movies.

  2. February 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Wow. It’s been years since I’ve seen this!!! Will have to rescreen it.

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