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Movie Review — An Officer and a Gentleman

Zachary Mayo as a teenager, ends up with his father, in the Philippines after his mother committed suicide in America. His father is a navy sailor, a Senior Chief Boatswain Mate, who was reluctant to bring up his son as he would be away at sea much of the time, and he believes he would be a bad father. He relents when Zack begs him. Now, years later, Zack finishes collage and while his father his not happy about it, he enrols and prepares to report to Aviation Officer Cadet School, so he could become a naval pilot, and thus his father would have to salute him. When arriving at the fort to begin his intense training with other recruits, he becomes friends with Sid Worley. As the weeks go by, Mayo dates Paula Pokrifki, while Sid dates her friend Lynette Pomeroy. Both women work at the local paper factory, dreaming of being with a future naval officer.

This is actually the first time I have seen this movie. While, I can see why it did well, and is well liked, I myself didn’t think it was that good. It is well cast and well-acted, but I could have don’t without the bed and sex scenes. As I become a stronger Catholic, I see nothing intimate or romantic with people who are not married and unwilling to commit. For me, sex is for marriage. Yet, I do understand that this is the world we live in, be it 1982 when this movie was released or today as I write this review in 2021. This movie reminds me, I must not be like the world as I try to grow more in my love for God, and try each day to become more holy.

As the weeks go buy, the training is intense and hard as it should be, Sid and Lynette think she could be pregnant. Sid wants her to have an abortion. He discusses this with Zack the next day over breakfast. Zack suggests an abortion as well. I was thinking the way it was discussed it was nothing more than a procedure. Like having a lump removed, and getting stiches. This is when Sid says Lynette won’t do that, she’s Catholic. What did I just hear?  I had to go back and listen to that again. Lynette is a Catholic? She sleeps with a guy she is not married to, and this movie character is meant to be a Catholic! Does Lynette not know the Eighth Commandment Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery? Again, this is the world we live in today, where many Catholics have bought into the culture today know little or nothing of their faith, or if they do, they don’t care. I could treat this movie as educational. More could be said about the movie, as you find that Paula too is also a Catholic, when she makes the sign of the cross in a scene, I won’t talk about for those who haven’t seen the film.

Of course, this movie is best known for the final moment, in one of Hollywood’s movies classic scenes, when Zachary Mayo now as Ensign Mayo, about to start fighter training, strolls into the paper factory to get his girl, Paula with the instrumental music of Up Where We Belong, with who whole factor workers clapping and cheering. I admit is a lovely Cinderella moment. You know Paula and Zachary will be together, forever. Yet as for the title of this movie, I find it ironic. Zachary Mayo is not a gentleman. Yes, he does show virtue at times but could also be disrespectful with authority. Yet he cares, is loyal and he will make a good officer. A true gentleman would wait until he is willing to commit to marriage and a family, not sleep around beforehand. Yet, as I said, this is the world we live in. A good movie but for me it is not a classic.

Directed: Taylor Hackford Starring: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith & Louis Gossett Jr. Genre: Drama Rating: 16+ Year: 1982

Note: This movie review is from Carl Strehlow, a valued member of Coffin Nation.


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