What Does 'DOR' Mean in the Movie 'Officer and a Gentleman'?

What Does ‘DOR’ Mean in the Movie ‘Officer and a Gentleman’?

What Does ‘DOR’ Mean in the Movie ‘Officer and a Gentleman’?


The movie “Officer and a Gentleman” is a classic romantic drama that was released in 1982. It stars Richard Gere as Zack Mayo, a young man who aspires to become a naval aviator. Throughout the film, viewers are introduced to various aspects of military life, including the term “DOR.” In this article, we will explore the meaning of “DOR” in the context of the movie and its significance to the plot.

The Significance of DOR

In the movie “Officer and a Gentleman,” DOR stands for “Drop on Request.” It is a term used in the military to refer to a recruit who requests to leave the training program voluntarily. DOR is typically used when a recruit decides that the military life is not for them and they wish to discontinue their training. This term plays a crucial role in the development of Zack Mayo’s character and the overall plot of the film.

Zack Mayo’s DOR

At the beginning of the movie, we learn that Zack Mayo has enlisted in the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS). Throughout his training, Mayo faces numerous challenges and struggles to adapt to the strict discipline and demanding physical requirements. As the pressure mounts, Mayo contemplates submitting a DOR, especially after facing personal setbacks and questioning his commitment to the military.

The Internal Conflict

Mayo’s internal conflict drives much of the film’s narrative. He grapples with his upbringing and troubled relationship with his father, which adds to his doubts about his suitability for military life. The concept of DOR becomes a significant turning point for Mayo as he must decide whether to give up and disappoint himself, or persevere and prove his worth to others.

Love and Redemption

In the midst of Mayo’s struggles, he falls in love with a local factory worker named Paula Pokrifki, played by Debra Winger. Their relationship serves as a source of emotional support for Mayo, giving him the strength to confront his fears and push through his challenges. Ultimately, it is through his dedication to Paula and his determination to prove himself that Mayo finds redemption and chooses not to submit a DOR.

The Impact of DOR on the Story

The concept of DOR is instrumental in shaping Mayo’s character arc and the overall plot of “Officer and a Gentleman.” It symbolizes the internal struggle between giving up and persevering, and ultimately highlights the importance of resilience and determination, both in the military context and in life in general.


In the movie “Officer and a Gentleman,” the term DOR takes on a significant meaning, representing the option to quit the rigorous training program voluntarily. It serves as a pivotal plot device, showcasing the internal conflict faced by the main character Zack Mayo and his journey towards personal growth and self-discovery. The exploration of DOR adds depth and complexity to the film, resonating with audiences and providing valuable insights into the human spirit and the choices we make in challenging situations.


1. What is the movie “Officer and a Gentleman” about?

The movie “Officer and a Gentleman” is a romantic drama film that follows the journey of a young man named Zack Mayo as he trains to become a naval aviator officer.

2. What does ‘DOR’ stand for in the movie?

In the movie “Officer and a Gentleman,” ‘DOR’ stands for “Drop on Request.” It is a term used in the military to describe an individual’s decision to voluntarily quit training.

3. How is the term ‘DOR’ used in the movie?

In the movie, ‘DOR’ is frequently referenced as a measure of resilience and determination. It becomes a pivotal and recurring theme as several characters face the choice of continuing their training or giving up by submitting a ‘DOR’ request.

4. What is the significance of ‘DOR’ in the movie?

‘DOR’ symbolizes the internal struggle and personal growth of the characters in the film. It represents the temptation to take the easy way out, but also the importance of persevering and pushing through difficult times to achieve personal and professional goals.

5. How does Zack Mayo deal with the concept of ‘DOR’?

Zack Mayo, the protagonist, is initially resistant to the idea of ‘DOR,’ viewing it as a sign of weakness. However, as he faces numerous challenges during his military training, he is forced to confront his own vulnerabilities and grow as a person.

6. Does Zack Mayo submit a ‘DOR’ request?

Yes, Zack Mayo does submit a ‘DOR’ request at one point in the movie. However, his decision to do so becomes a turning point in the story, leading to a crucial moment of self-reflection and realization.

7. Do any other characters in the movie submit ‘DOR’ requests?

Yes, several other characters in the movie also submit ‘DOR’ requests. The film explores how different individuals handle the challenges they face during training and the various reasons behind their decisions.

8. What message does the movie convey through the concept of ‘DOR’?

The movie “Officer and a Gentleman” conveys the message that true strength lies not in avoiding difficulties or taking the easy way out but in facing challenges head-on and pushing through to achieve personal growth and achieve one’s goals.

9. Is ‘DOR’ a realistic concept in military training?

Yes, ‘DOR’ is a realistic concept in military training. While it may have different names or procedures in different branches of the military, the idea of individuals choosing to drop out or request to leave training is a common occurrence in real-life military scenarios.

10. How does the movie portray the consequences of submitting a ‘DOR’ request?

The movie portrays the consequences of submitting a ‘DOR’ request as a moment of reflection and growth for the characters. It showcases both the potential disappointment and regret that can follow such a decision, as well as the possibility of redemption and personal transformation.