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 and helped to reveal his inner "gentleman":

  • the main character was aloof, cynical, arrogant, cocky Navy cadet trainee Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) during his 13-week training at Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Port Rainier, located on the Puget Sound in Washington state
  • in a flashback, during his childhood, Zack had been brought up unwanted by his boozing, hedonistic, military seaman father Byron Mayo (Robert Loggia) in the Philippines after his abandoned mother committed suicide
  • no-nonsense and tough drill Marine Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley (Oscar-winning Louis Gossett, Jr.) confronted the new recruits in a line-up in front of him before their 13 week training program - he delivered a series of insults to them: "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"
  • the raw, tattooed, long-haired recruit Zack, with a chip on his shoulder, 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..." - he adopted a nickname for Zack: "Mayo-nnaise!"
  • a romance developed between Zack and headstrong, husky-voiced, Polish, local paper factory working girl Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger), one of the local 'Puget Debs' or "townies" who dreamt of marrying a naval officer; when they first met at a sponsored officer's dance, they learned a little about each other's 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 punished Zack and reprimanded him for not being a team player - after discovering that he was running a contraband side business of selling shined shoes and belt buckles; over an entire weekend, trainee Zack was brutally hazed but was powerfully determined to not quit his recruit training and self-issue a DOR (Drop Out on Request) to be removed: (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!"
  • Paula and Zack experienced an up-and-down relationship - she challenged him for not showing a 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, Paula 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 Pollack," 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?"
  • they experienced an 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")
Erotic Love-Making Between Zack and Paula
  • during the feel-good 'obstacle course' scene, Zack had a chance to set a record-winning pace, but decided to fall back to encourage, coach and assist struggling fellow recruit Casey Seeger (Lisa Eilbacher) to "walk that wall" - to succeed climbing up a steep 12 foot high wall during the challenge
  • Zack's All-American boyish buddy from Oklahoma, Sid Worley (David Keith) had also established a romantic relationship with Paula's manipulative work friend Lynette Pomeroy (Lisa Blount), who was dropping hints that she was pregnant; impulsively, Sid decided to DOR from the naval aviation program after 11 weeks; he proceeded to Lynette's house to propose to her with an engagement ring, and suggested that they move back to Oklahoma (where he would take back his old job at JC Penney's)
  • to his surprise, Lynette cruelly rejected his romantic invitation - she also told Sid that she wasn't pregnant and that their relationship was over because she really wanted to marry a naval aviator: "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!"
  • Zack confronted Lynette after she had coldly rejected Sid, and accused her of faking being pregnant, when she 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"
  • tragically, Zack discovered the dead body of Sid (in the nude in the Tides Inn Motel bathroom), where he had committed suicide by hanging after his 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 was utterly frustrated with the death of Sid, and was tempted to also DOR from the base; 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
  • in the rousing, overly-sentimental, slightly-cheesy tearjerking finale (a wish-fulfillment Cinderella conclusion), graduate-trainee Ensign Zack Mayo (in his neatly-pressed naval dress whites after being commissioned) came up to a surprised Paula at her factory workplace; she turned around - startled, as he planted a very intimate kiss on her by grabbing her face
  • as the scene continued, she placed her arms around his neck during the kiss, as he swooped her up into his arms; 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 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 the Oscar-winning "Up Where We Belong," performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

Flashback: Young Zack with His Father

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

Zack's Eyeballing of Foley in The Line-Up

Townies: Brunette Paula (Debra Winger) and Blonde Lynette (Lisa Blount)

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

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

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

The Tragic Hanging Suicide of Zack's Buddy Sid

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

Zack's Defeat by Foley in a Martial-Arts Bout

The Crowd-Pleasing 'Cinderella Story' Ending


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