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Working Girls (1986)

Unrated | | Drama | 20 March 1987 (USA)
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 »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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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 M. Davidson ...
Jerry (as 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 <marklo@west.sun.com>

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:

20 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: What's new and different?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Funded in part by grants from: New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation." See more »


Followed by Working Girls 2 (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting and non exploitative look at the modern sex worker.
1 September 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Molly is a thirty something college educated sex worker looking for a change of career. However the sex industry seems to have a tight hold over her and her life.

Lizzie Borden is a committed feminist so the choice of making a film about a subject such a prostitution and sex is not an obvious one. While this is low budget, and some of the sideline acting amateurish, this a film that makes you think and maybe even change your views. While a lot is crammed in to the one day that it covers you get the feeling that is written by someone that has been there and seen it for real.

The central question is who is exploiting who here? The affluent clients that buys sex is sneered at and joked about ("here comes Fantasy Fred"): but only by women that are either too lazy to do something else or maybe too inefficient to find other work. Or maybe they couldn't stand the pay cut?

Here we have all types of "working girl" from the college girl to the ageing black girl that is never chosen despite her best efforts. It is not a job everyone can do and the film demonstrates this clearly and without sentiment.

Molly doesn't even like men in real life - being in a lesbian relationship, but fakes it well. Even doing a lesbian scene with a new girl and then denying her sexuality to her when questioned. Her life is one of a hands-on actress. She is cleverer than most and has "regulars" that chose her for her chat as much as her sex. They even give her their cards hoping that they will become friends in the real world - something that can never be. There is always that old white line.

I came to this film believing that it would have an agenda, but it doesn't. It asks questions, but it doesn't answer them. Should sex be bought and sold in modern day society? The female brothel owner believes that sex and money are the best things in society so "why not bring them together."

Molly seems trapped, despite her education and alternative career options. Yes she can do better, but can she make the break? The other girls are, in the main, different in that they know their place - they don't want to rise above it. Her lesbianism probably helps in that she isn't confused as to why a man is having sex with her - but at the same time she is dismissive of them and even claims that the job has helped her to get over her innate "fear of men." She is also not above cheating so she can keep more of the money she makes.

(In the sex industry stealing is different from stealing in the outside world?)

This is quite a unique film in that it takes on the subject in cold blood, but it doesn't seek to give any indication as to why men chose this type of sex over - say - masturbation. Nevertheless the boredom and loneliness of the inner city (New York) has to be a factor. Like there isn't one type of client, there isn't really one form of answer.

I started the film not knowing if Molly was a victim or not and ended up still not knowing. You can make your own mind up, but if she is a prisoner she is a prisoner of the love of the quick-buck that must be hard to break away from in today's high price world. I am glad I am not in her (high heeled) shoes now, then or anytime...

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