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Working Girls (1986)

 -  Drama  -  March 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 508 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 10 critic

A day in the life of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house. The film is a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Watch ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Louise Smith ...
Deborah Banks ...
Liz Caldwell ...
Marusia Zach ...
Eli Hasson ...
Voice of Hasid (voice)
Tony Whiting ...
Voice of Gina's Client (voice)
Richard Davidson ...
Ronald Willoughby ...
Paul Slimak ...
Fred Neumann ...
Patience Pierce ...
Ellen McElduff ...
Grant Wheaton ...


A day in the life of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house. The film is a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Watch as the madam manipulates her "girls". Watch as she answers the phone by saying "Hello John, what's new and different?" Watch as the "johns" try to manipulate the "girls". Part nudie exploitation, part sociological thesis. Written by Mark Logan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sex. Money. Kinky Customers. Lunch. For These Girls, It's All In A Day's Work.




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

March 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Profissionais do Sonho  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,777,378 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The MPAA objected strongly to the scene where Molly is trying to insert her diaphragm but the scene was kept in. See more »


Lucy: The two things I love most in life are sex and money. It's just that I didn't know until much later that they were connected.
See more »


Followed by Working Girls 2 (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Bongo wants to take a show.

Working Girls (not to be confused with the singular and singularly awful Mike Nichols movie that features Melanie Griffith vacuuming a carpet, nakedly) is an easily underestimated accomplishment, and despite the rampant nudity and unblinking depictions of adult sexuality, a guaranteed sex-deterrent.

It's hilarious, embarrassing, grim, deeply disturbing, cynical, touching, clinical and creepily locker-room-intimate, all at the same time.

There will be those people who can't make it past the low budget vibe that (admittedly) permeates the whole movie, but anyone who criticizes its occasionally stilted acting (and it's an easy target) misses the point: it's PROSTITUTION. Which is to say that paid sex is possibly the root source of all bad acting. Even having said that, the performances are deceptively understated in their squirmy, quasi-nude ease.

The characters of Lucy and Dawn especially, are horrifically too-true. I walked around mimicking Lucy's idiotic "What's new and different?" for weeks. Dawn's gum-snapping hostility, and her impromptu James Brown imitation ("Good God, Mollie- you're a whoooore!") are as grating as they are winning. Singling these two actresses out is unfair though; their characters are especially dynamic, given that they're essentially opposing ends of the same spectrum of self absorption.

Even the least likely supporting roles are realized with unexpected complexity. Witness Lucy, the house's madam, reprimanding Mary, a mousy new 'girl' for her unappealing wardrobe choice on her first night on the job. When Lucy reminds her condescendingly that she is to dress as though she "just came from lunch with her mother, and is on her way to meet her boyfriend for drinks", Mary replies in a small voice, with a discomfiting mixture of stubborness and shame, "This is what I wore."

Possibly the most remarkable aspect of this movie is the realization that prostitution, at least at this elevated level (the 'girls' work in a clean, modern apartment, and schedule 'appointments' through phone ads listed mostly in upscale skin magazines) is just another daily grind, a job, plain and simple. Ellen McElduff's Lucy is every thoughtless, self-absorbed boss you've ever wanted to throttle; the difference is that she's seen you naked, and can talk about your sex life with no legal repercussions.

That's glib, of course; each of the 'girls' is seen to struggle with the work, and what it means in a larger sense, politically and personally. Finally though, just as it seems uncompromisingly grim, the film sneaks in a remarkable twist. It's essential to watch to the very end of the closing credits though, or you might miss a moment that offers a lovely moment of reassurance, and tender domesticity.

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