Directed by Taylor Hackford
Written by Douglas Day Stewart
Starring: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, Louis Gossett Jr., David Keith, Robert Loggia
Zack Mayo (Gere) is looking for a second chance in life. As he enters Aviation Officer Candidate School he comes up against Sergeant Foley (Gossett Jr.), a hard-nosed instructor. As Mayo begins training, he also starts a relationship with Paula (Winger). After getting on Foley’s bad side, Mayo is fighting for a chance to complete the program and become a Navy aviator.
This is a classic romance written by Douglas Day Stewart (The Scarlet Letter) and directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray). The film stars Richard Gere (Chicago), Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment), and Louis Gossett Jr. (Iron Eagle). In addition the cast features David Keith (Behind Enemy Lines) and Robert Loggia (Big).
This story is one of the more popular romances ever to come to the big screen. The film combines the themes of redemption, coming-of-age, and true love into one nicely woven story. The dialogue is awesome, and creates some of the better moments of the movie. Many of these are the exchanges between Gossett Jr. and Gere. In addition, the story does an excellent job of raising the stakes for all of the characters. None of the story lines feel unfinished, and the payoffs are great. Overall, this might be one of the better written romance movies of 1980s and perhaps of the last 35 years or so.
The acting in this movie is really great. Richard Gere does an excellent job evolving throughout the movie. His character experiences drastic changes, and the acting keeps up with this throughout the movie. Louis Gossett Jr. is also incredible in this one. He earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the unforgiving and demanding drill instructor. Debra Winger is also good in this one. She’s one of my favorite actresses, and this movie is another example of her range and skill. Additionally, David Keith and Robert Loggia do nice work in their roles. This is true of the rest of the cast as well. This is an excellently acted movie.
This movie does a great job giving the location of the film a unique personality. The trends within the community are expressed through the actors, but also through the set designs and locations chosen for filming. The score also features some great music that includes “Up Where We Belong”, the Oscar winning song performed by Joe Cocker. From the technical aspects of movie making, this is a nicely made movie that still works after more than thirty years.
If you’re a fan of romance, this is a must-see movie. I would also recommend this to fans of Gere, Gossett Jr., Winger, or anyone else in this cast. I would also suggest this to anyone who loves good drama since there’s plenty of that mixed in as well. (One interesting fact about this film is that John Travolta turned down the role. He had also passed on american Gigolo, another Gere hit.) I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.