Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

In director Taylor Hackford's and Paramount's R-rated blockbuster (chick-flick) and crowd-pleasing romantic drama about the training of US Navy Aviation officer candidate, and his on-again/off-again romantic relationship with a local townie, one of the 'Puget Debs' who worked at a paper factory who helped to reveal his inner "gentleman":

  • the main character: aloof, cocky Navy cadet trainee Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) during his 13-week training at Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS), who was brought up unwanted by his military seaman father Byron Mayo (Robert Loggia) in the Philippines after his mother committed suicide when he was a boy
  • the early scene of no-nonsense Sgt. Emil Foley's (Oscar-winning Louis Gossett, Jr.) tough drill instruction of new recruits - and his series of insults to new recruits as they lined up in front of him: "I said fall in, you slimy worms! Put your toes on that chalk line! I said put your toes on the chalk line, you slimy worms! I don't believe what I'm seeing. Where you been all your lives, at an orgy? Listening to Mick Jagger music and bad-mouthing your country, I'll bet. Stop eyeballing me. You're not worthy to look your superiors in the eye. Use your peripheral vision. Understand?...I know why most of you are here. I'm not stupid. Before you get to sell what we teach you over at United Airlines, got to give the Navy six years of your life, sweet pea. Lots of things can happen in six years. Another war could come up....Are you a queer, boy?...Only two things come out of Oklahoma. Steers and queers. Which one are you, boy? I don't see no horns. You must be a queer"
  • Zack was confronted by the officer when he laughed, and Sgt. Foley tore into him: "You laughing at me, dickbrain?...You better stop eyeballing me, boy, I'll rip your eyeballs out of their sockets and skull f--k you to death..." - and he adopted a nickname for him: "Mayo-nnaise!"
  • the developing romance between Zack and headstrong, husky-voiced local paper factory working girl Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger), one of the 'Puget Debs'; when they first met at a sponsored officer's dance, they learned a little about their aspirations, and he complimented her with a kiss: "Paula, you are a very, very pretty girl"; she kissed him back, and then innocently asked: "Do you want to go somewhere else?"; they left the dance and were kissing outdoors when he suggested: "Let's go down to the beach"; as their affair heated up, so did their kissing
Zack's Relationship with Paula
At Officers' Dance
First Kiss
  • Sgt. Foley's punishing counsel of Zack (reprimanded by running a side business of shining shoes and belt buckles), including the trainee's powerful determination to not quit his recruit training by self-issuing a DOR (Drop on Request): (Foley: "I want your DOR...All right, then you can forget it! You're out!" Mayo: "I ain't gonna quit...Don't you do it! Don't you - I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g... I ain't got nothin' else. I got nothin' else")
Foley: "I want your DOR!"
Zack: "I ain't gonna quit...I got nowhere else to go!"
  • the scenes of Paula's and Zack's up-and-down relationship - she challenged him for not showing some commitment: Paula: "I don't know who you think you're talking to, you know. I'm not some whore you brought in here. I'm trying to be nice to you. I'm trying to be your friend, Zack." Zack: "Well, then be a friend. Get out of here." Paula: "Fine. Fine. You know, man. You ain't nothing special. You got no manners. You treat women like whores. And if you ask me, you ain't got no chance of being no officer"; the next morning, she challenged him: "I dare you not to fall in love with me. I mean, how can you resist? I'm like candy." He assured her: "You're better than candy." She replied: "It's going to be very hard to get enough. Very hard. Very hard." He called her a "little cocky Polack," and they fell to the floor and kissed. She asked: "So, Zack, what do you do with a girl when you're through with her, huh? Do you say something, or you just disappear, huh?"
  • the erotic, realistic and sexually explicit nude love scene, commencing with steamy kisses, in which she wriggled and straddled atop him and then eased herself off of him ("Bye, Zachary")
  • the feel-good 'obstacle course' scene when Zack coached and assisted fellow recruit Casey Seeger (Lisa Eilbacher) to "walk that wall" - to succeed climbing up a steep 12 foot high wall on the obstacle course
  • the scene of the cruel romantic rejection of Mayo's buddy Sid Worley (David Keith) by Paula's manipulative work friend Lynette Pomeroy (Lisa Blount), after he DOR'd from the naval aviation program after 11 weeks, proposed to her, and suggested they move back to Oklahoma (where he would take back his old job at JC Penney's); Lynette told Sid that she wasn't pregnant and that their relationship was over: "I'm sorry, Sid. But I don't want to marry you. I really like you, and we've had ourselves some really great times, but I thought you understood. I want to marry a pilot. I want to live my life overseas - the wife of an aviator! Damn you! Goddamn you! Nobody DORs after 11 weeks! Nobody!"
  • the scene of Zack's confrontation with Lynette after she had coldly rejected Sid, presumably faked being pregnant, and admitted: "I don't want no Okie from Muskogee. I can get that right here"; Zack angrily charged her with manipulation: "You little bitch. Who the hell do you think you are, playing with people like that? He loves you! You just s---t on him! You made up this whole thing, didn't you? There wasn't any baby...You little c--t"
  • the tragic scene of Zack's discovery of the dead body of Sid (in the nude in a motel bathroom), who had committed suicide by hanging after a failed relationship with Lynette; Zack was dismayed and spoke to his dead friend: "You dumb, f--kin' Okie. I was your friend. Why didn't you come and talk to me about it? You didn't even try. You didn't even say goodbye to me"
  • Zack's utter frustration with the death of Sid, and his temptation to also DOR; conflicted about what to do, he spoke to Paula on the beach, who continued to profess her true love for him: ("Zack, don't do this to yourself. You didn't kill your mother. You didn't kill Sid. They killed themselves. There's nothing you could have done about it...You're not the only one that's feeling awful. Maybe I had something to do with what happened. I knew what Lynette was doing. I could have done something and I didn't...I never lied to you. I never did what Lynette's doing. I'm not Lynette....I love you. I've loved you since I met you. Don't you understand?")
  • Zack engaged in a bruising, ball-busting unofficial martial-arts bout with Sgt. Foley ("Let's see what ya got") that changed his mind about requesting a DOR
  • the rousing, overly-sentimental, slightly-cheesy tearjerking finale (a wish-fulfillment Cinderella conclusion), in which graduate-trainee Ensign Zack Mayo (in his neatly-pressed naval dress whites) came up to a surprised Paula at her workplace; she turned around - startled; then he planted a second kiss on her by grabbing her face and giving her a more intimate kiss
  • as the scene continued, she placed her arms around his neck during the kiss, as he hoisted her up and spun her around; they kissed repeatedly; he grabbed her and carried her away to the exit while she was in his arms, as co-workers applauded and Paula's work friend Lynette Pomeroy called out: "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!"
  • the film concluded in a freeze-frame after she placed his cap on her head, with the credits displayed to the tune of "Up Where We Belong", performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

Flashback: Young Zack with His Father

Sid (David Keith) in Line-Up: "Steers and Queers. Which one are you, boy?"

Zack's Eyeballing of Foley in The Line-Up

Paula (Debra Winger) and Lynette (Lisa Blount)

Mayo to Fellow Recruit Seeger on Obstacle Course: "Walk That Wall!"

After His DOR, Sid's Rejected Marriage Proposal to Lynette

Zack's Confrontation with Lynette Who Had Rejected Sid: "I don't want no Okie from Muskogee"

The Tragic Suicide of Zack's Buddy Sid

Zack's Misgivings About Everything and His Relationship with Loving Girlfriend Paula

Zack's Defeat by Foley in Martial-Arts Bout

The Crowd-Pleasing 'Cinderella Story' Ending


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