An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 American romantic drama film, written by Douglas Day Stewart and directed by Taylor Hackford. The films stars Richard Gere, Debra Winger and Louis Gossett Jr., who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film.
Zack Mayo (Richard Gere), a new member of the U.S. Navy, has a bad attitude. When he signs up for the Aviation Academy, he is met with the strict leadership of Sgt. Emil Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.), who gives Zack a rude awakening in terms of relating with other people. Through Foley's guidance and an unexpected romance with Paula (Debra Winger), an outsider who hangs around the naval base, Zack learns some tough lessons and discovers what he truly wants out of life.
Two versions of the film exist. The original, uncensored R-rated cut and an edited-for-broadcast television cut (which first aired on NBC in 1986) are nearly identical. The main difference is that the nudity and a majority of the foul language is edited out when the film airs on regular television. However, the group marching song near the beginning of the film and Mayo's solo marching song are not voiceover edits; they are reshoots of those scenes for television. Also, the sex scene between Mayo and Paula is cut in half, and the scene where Mayo finds Sid's naked body hanging in the shower is also edited.
An Officer and a Gentleman was well received by critics and is widely considered one of the best films of 1982. The film holds an 81% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 27 reviews, with the consensus: "Old-fashioned without sacrificing its characters to simplicity, An Officer and a Gentleman successfully walks the fine line between sweeping romance and melodrama". It received rave reviews from critics, most notably from Roger Ebert, who gave it four stars. Ebert described An Officer and a Gentleman as "a wonderful movie precisely because it's so willing to deal with matters of the heart...it takes chances, takes the time to know and develop its characters, and by the time this movie's wonderful last scene comes along, we know exactly what's happening, and why, and it makes us very happy.