Zack Mayo (Gere) has never had it easy in life, signing up at Navy Flight school doesn’t get any easy when he must deal with tough drill sergeant Foley (Gossett Jr.) and falling in love with Paula (Winger).
Zack did not have the best starts in life when he had to go and live with his father. His father laughed when he told him he had joined the Navy and wanted to fly jets. But that meant an extra reason for Zack to prove his father wrong. His relationship with Foley did not start off well at all on the first day! He was an outsider and didn’t work in a team with the other people in his class but he did quickly become friends with Sid.
This friendship is the beginning of a turning point in Zack’s life and really helps him out in the long run. We see that he has intimacy problems and does not trust anyone. To begin with that is, everything changes about him from the moment he joins the Navy. They meet two girls, Paula and Lynette who they see on the weekends they get time off.
Foley is very tough on his class as he wants to get the best out of them at any cost. Pushing them to the limits and often to breaking point. As the weeks go on in the programme we see it becoming more difficult for the officer candidates. Such an incredible performance was put in from Louis Gossett Jr. that he won an Oscar for his troubles! Rightly so in my opinion he really is just fantastic in this film.
I think this film can very easily be liked by both men and women. Obviously women (myself included) totally love Richard Gere, as he is just one of those actors that you cannot help but have a little thing for. The romance created between Zack and Paula is very much for the female viewer. The tough boot camp Zack must go through is more aimed towards the men, he is training hard and fighting for the right to do what he wants.
“More push ups” has to be the best selection of scenes when Foley is trying to get Zack to DOR (drop on request) and free him from the Navy. But Zack is not a quitter and withstands a lot of physical punishment, including hundreds and hundreds of push ups. The turning point has to be when Foley tells Zack to forget it and he has a very emotional outburst, this is when we see that Foley really does actually like Zack.
While the ending with Zack is very good, we also have the horrible ending with Sid. So heartbreaking as he was just trying to do the right thing, or what he thought was right. Just showing how horrible certain women can be. They were warned about young women who wanted to marry an aviator.
The ending in the factory with ‘Love Lifts Us Up, Where We Belong’ is one of my favorite romantic endings to a film, as it so spontaneous and shows how far Zack has come since the beginning. A perfect Richard Gere moment! I have seen this film so many times now, it really is one of those that you can watch over and over.