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Swing Shift (1984)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  13 April 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 2,918 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 10 critic

A woman finds romance when she takes a job at an airport plant to help make ends meet after her husband goes off to war.



(as Rob Morton)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kay Walsh
Mike 'Lucky' Lockhart
Archibald 'Biscuits' Touie
Jack Walsh
Sudie Bond ...
Patty Maloney ...
Johnny Bonnaro
Morris 'Tex' Biggs ...
Reid Cruickshanks ...
Danny Darst ...
Deacon (as Daniel Dean Darst)
Rupert George


In 1941 America Kay and her husband are happy enough until he enlists after Pearl Harbor. Against his wishes, his wife takes a job at the local aircraft plant where she meets Hazel, the singer from across the way to whom she hadn't previously been all that nice. The two soon become firm friends and with the other girls become increasingly expert workers able to ride the jibes of the male workforce. As the war drags on Kay finally goes on a date with her trumpet playing foreman and life inevitably starts to get complicated. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When America marched off to war the women marched into the factory. From then on...nothing was the same.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 April 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tjejen som jobbade skift  »

Box Office


$6,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of Ethel the landlady is played by Goldie Hawn's mother Laura. See more »


The factory continues to produce SBDs with a red circle within the white star many months after it had been officially eliminated (May 1942) See more »


Kay Walsh: You, big...
Moon Willis: Big... yeah?
Kay Walsh: You big... fat...
Moon Willis: What?
See more »


Referenced in Life Itself (2014) See more »


Serenade in Blue
Composed by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Swing Shift is a nice period piece.
5 July 2001 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

I really did like this movie. There's a lot to like. It's the beginning of World War II, and all the men are being called to the Army. Goldie Hawn and Ed Harris are a typical American couple thus pulled apart. Goldie gets a Rosie the Riveter job, where she meets Kurt Russel, a 4F plant foreman, and the rest is history.

Swing Shift was directed by Jonathan Demme, of Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia fame, and if this one is a little lighter, it was also a lot earlier in his career. Holly Hunter appears in a very small supporting role, but gives it her star-quality best. Christine Lahti is magnificent as the single neighbor who befriends Goldie at the factory even though she and her husband were cruel to her before the war changed everyone's lives. Fred Ward was already becoming old hat, but he, like the rest of the film, ends up being likeable and thoroughly enjoyable.

Hawn and Russell met on the set and have been together ever since. Maybe the excitement of their real-life romance drained the spark from their on-screen version. This could have been a really moving story of a woman who falls in love while her husband is off to war, but ends up showing us a couple of bump-buddies killing time till their real lives resume. Perhaps that was the point.

Ed Harris is perfectly cast as the common man trying to keep his marriage together in the face of all that life throws in its way. There is a famous scene, in which Ed, wearing nothing but a bath towel, plops into a floppy chair with a cold beer. The resulting bounce proves that Harris is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and explains why this charming little tale will never be on DVD.

Swing Shift is a nice period piece, and provides an amusing, if not entirely accurate, view of the tumultous years in the middle of the last century when the entire world went to war.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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