Girls usually swoon over a guy in uniform, but when that guy is a cocky, emotionally distant (but reachable!) Richard Gere, it's not even a fair fight. Gere melted hearts as hopeful Navy pilot Zack Mayo, an aloof cadet who needs a stern hand (Louis Gossett, Jr.), a best bud (David Keith) and a good woman (Debra Winger) to help him reach his true potential. At least one hanky required.
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Not mutually exclusive: the titular phrase comes from the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice, in which offenders can be charged with "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman."
- Trading palm trees for pine trees: although the Aviation Officer Candidate School is traditionally in Pensacola, Florida, due to Naval filming restrictions the movie was shot on location in Washington state.
- Travel tip: next time you're in Port Townsend, Washington, swing by The Tides Inn - a real motel used in the film.
- You may not find Pee-wee Herman's bicycle in the basement of the Alamo, but you will find the custom-built decompression chamber set from this film still intact in the basement of building 225 in Fort Worden State Park.
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: the movie's iconic final scene has been referenced in a number of television shows, including Friends, The Office, South Park and The Simpsons.
- Alternate universe casting: Richard Gere's role was originally intended for singer John Denver.
- Alternate universe casting, part 2: Debra Winger's role was originally offered to Sigourney Weaver.
- Alternate universe casting, part 3: Jack Nicholson turned down the part of Sergeant Foley, made famous by Louis Gossett, Jr.
- Method accommodations: director Taylor Hackford put Louis Gossett, Jr. in separate living quarters during production, so the other actors would be more intimidated by him during their scenes.
- Hindsight is 20/20: movie producer Don Simpson tried to have "Up Where We Belong" cut from the film, insisting it would never be a hit. The ballad went on to top the charts and win the Academy Award for Best Song.