Parents' Guide to

Private Benjamin

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Funny fish-out-of-water comedy with lots of sexual content.

Movie R 1980 110 minutes
Private Benjamin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Great messages, funny but several sexual references

I was considering showing this film to my 10 year old daughter who has a strong feminist streak. I'm glad watched it in advance. ***SPOILERS FOLLOW*** While it's funny, uplifting and has great positive feminist messages, there are several sexual references that would've made me very uncomfortable if I'd watched it with her. Near the start Benjamin's husband coaxed her into giving him a bj in the back of a car. Soon after they have (not particularly fulfilling) sex on the bathroom floor, during which he grunts "I'm coming!" before dying of a heart attack. Later she's sat around a camp fire with her unit, smoking grass and talking about their first orgasms. There's an almost bizarrely light-hearted attempted sexual assault by a senior officer later on, which I would have found particularly uncomfortable. If it concerns you, pretty much everyone in this film smokes. I just see that as historically accurate. There may be other bits I've forgotten but the ones above stuck in my memory. It's a great film but I'll give it a couple more years.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

It's amazing how funny this movie is after so many years and so many cultural shifts. But funny it is. Spending time with Goldie Hawn and company is a delight despite the men in the story, almost all of whom are despicable and/or condescending brutes; despite a 1980s moral climate that found humor in a recruit's near-rape by a superior officer; despite some very stereotypical Jewish comedy; and, most significantly, despite an old-news story about a women finding herself. Even when it was released, Private Benjamin had a problematic last third, when it felt as though the first movie ended abruptly and a new story began. All is forgiven, however, when Judy begins a systematic odyssey of one-upsmanship and that fragile, weepy girl becomes nothing less than an iron butterfly. Language and sexual situations make it iffy for most kids, but mature tweens and teens will enjoy this classic film.

Movie Details

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