G.I. Jane is a 1997 American action film directed by Ridley Scott, produced by Largo Entertainment, Scott Free Productions and Caravan Pictures, distributed by Hollywood Pictures and starring Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, and Anne Bancroft. The film tells the fictional story of the first woman to undergo training in U.S. Navy Special Warfare Group.
The SEAL/CRT (Combined Reconnaissance Team) course depicted in the film is offered at Coronado Naval Amphibious Base in California, but the film is set in Jacksonville, Florida. O'Neil is hand-picked by U.S. Senator Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft) to go through the rigorous training right along with the men. O'Neil faces sexism and physical challenges as well as the horse-trading by the Senator who selected her for the experimental program.
A Senate Armed Services Committee interviews a candidate for the position of Secretary of the Navy. Senator Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft) from Texas criticizes the Navy for not being gender-neutral. Behind the curtains, a deal is struck: If women compare favorably with men in a series of test cases, the military will integrate women fully into all branches of the Navy.
The first test is the training course of the (fictional) U.S. Navy Combined Reconnaissance Team (similar to U.S. Navy SEAL BUD/S). Senator DeHaven hand-picks Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil (Demi Moore), because she is physically more feminine than the other candidates.
To make the grade, O'Neil must survive a grueling selection program in which almost 60 percent of all candidates wash out, most in the first week ("hell week"). The enigmatic Command Master Chief John James Urgayle (Viggo Mortensen) runs the brutal training program that involves 20-hour days of tasks designed to wear down recruits' physical and mental strength, including pushing giant ship fenders up beach dunes, working through obstacle courses, and hauling landing rafts.
Given a 30-second time allowance in an obstacle course, O'Neil demands to be held to the same standards as the male trainees. Eight weeks into the program, she suffers a vicious beating, with her arms tied behind her back, from the Master Chief during SERE training, during which he tries to convince the other trainees that the presence of a woman will make them more vulnerable in combat. O'Neil fights back, and is successful in causing him some injury despite her immobilized arms. In so doing, she acquires respect from him, as well as from the other trainees.
Navy leaders, confident that a woman would quickly drop out, become concerned. Civilian media learn of O'Neil's involvement, and she becomes a sensation known as "G.I. Jane." Soon she must contend with trumped-up charges that she is a lesbian, and is fraternizing with women. O'Neil is told that she will be given a desk job during the investigation and, if cleared, will need to repeat her training. She decides to "ring out" (ringing a bell three times, signaling her voluntary withdrawal from the program) rather than accept a desk job.
It is later revealed that the photo evidence of O'Neil's alleged fraternization came from Senator DeHaven's office. DeHaven never intended for O'Neil to succeed; she used O'Neil as a bargaining chip in trade to prevent military base closings in her home state (Texas). O'Neil threatens to expose DeHaven, who then has the charges voided and O'Neil restored to the program.
The final phase of training (an operational readiness exercise) is interrupted by an emergency situation that requires the SEAL trainees' support. The situation involves a reconnaissance satellite powered by weapons-grade plutonium that fell into the Libyan desert. A team of U.S. Army Rangers is dispatched to retrieve the plutonium, but their evacuation plan fails, and the SEAL trainees are sent to assist the Rangers. The Master Chief's shooting of a Libyan soldier to protect O'Neil leads to a confrontation with a Libyan patrol. During the mission, O'Neil displays a definitive ability in leadership and strategy while rescuing the injured Master Chief, whom she and McCool pull out of an explosives-laden "kill zone." With helicopter gunships delivering the final assault to the defenders, the rescue mission on the Libyan coast is a success.
Upon their return, all those who participated in the mission are accepted to the CRT. Urgayle gives O'Neil his Navy Cross and a book of poetry containing a short poem, "Self-Pity", by D. H. Lawrence, as acknowledgment of her accomplishment and in gratitude for rescuing him.
- Demi Moore as Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil
- Viggo Mortensen as Command Master Chief John James Urgayle
- Anne Bancroft as Sen. Lillian DeHaven
- Jason Beghe as Lieutenant Commander Royce
- Daniel von Bargen as Theodore Hayes
- Scott Wilson as Captain Salem
- John Michael Higgins as Chief of Staff
- Kevin Gage as Instructor Max Pyro
- David Warshofsky as Instructor Johns
- David Vadim as Sergeant First Class Cortez
- Morris Chestnut as Lieutenant McCool
- Josh Hopkins as Ensign F. Lee 'Flea' Montgomery
- Jim Caviezel as 'Slov' Slovnik
- Boyd Kestner as Lieutenant 'Wick' Wickwire
- Dimitri Diatchenko as Trainee
- Angel David as Newberry
- Stephen Ramsey as Stamm
G.I. Jane received mixed reviews from critics, where it currently holds a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 31 reviews.
G.I. Jane opened at #1 grossing $11,094,241 its opening weekend, playing at a total of 1,945 theaters. In its second weekend the film stayed at #1, grossing $8,183,861 and playing in 1,973 theaters. In the end the film played in a widest release of 2,043 theaters and grossed $48,169,156 domestically, falling slightly short of its $50,000,000 budget. Worldwide, the movie eventually grossed $97,169,156 total with the U.S. and international receipts combined, thus turning a significant profit.
Even with the profit, the movie grossed poorly in many international markets. In the United Kingdom, where the movie was released through First Independent Films, the bombing of the movie in the country led to First Independent's parent company - United News and Media selling the company off to Columbia TriStar Home Video's UK operations in 1998.
G.I. Jane was released on DVD on April 22, 1998. The only extra feature was a theatrical trailer. It was released on Blu-ray on April 3, 2007 with no extra features aside from trailers for other movies. The film was also released on LaserDisc; this release featured an audio commentary by director Ridley Scott. The film grossed $22,122,300 in rentals.
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