Private Benjamin

Private Benjamin is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Howard Zieff, written by Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer, and Harvey Miller, and starring Goldie Hawn, Eileen Brennan, and Armand Assante.


Judy Benjamin, a 28-year-old Jewish woman from a sheltered wealthy upbringing whose lifelong dream is to "marry a professional man," is devastated after Yale Goodman, her new husband, dies on their wedding night during sex. Emotionally adrift, Judy tells her story on a radio call-in show and meets another caller, Army recruiter SFC James Ballard, who leads her to believe military life will provide the "family" she seeks. He also pitches the service as a getaway, comparing it to a spa vacation, but Judy has a rude awakening upon arriving at basic training, realizing the recruiter conned her. She wants to quit almost immediately, but is astonished to find out, contrary to the assertions of her recruiting sergeant, that she cannot leave.