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The Secret of My Succe$s (1987)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  10 April 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 21,670 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 25 critic

A talented young man can't get an executive position without rising through the ranks, so he comes up with a shortcut, which also benefits his love life.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barney Rattigan
Art Thomas
Donald Davenport
Jean (as Carol-Ann Susi)
Grace Foster
Burt Foster
Barton Heyman ...
Arnold Forbush
Ira Wheeler ...
Owens (as Ira B. Wheeler)


Brantley Foster, a well-educated kid from Kansas, has always dreamed of making it big in New York. On his first work day in New York, he is fired in a hostile take-over and learns that jobs - and girls - are hard to get. When Brantley visits his distant uncle, Howard Prescott, who runs a multi-million-dollar company, he is given a job in the company's mail room. Then Brantley meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives. Brantley sees how poorly the company is being run and decides to create a position under the name Carlton Whitfield, to influence and improve the company's operations. Soon things get unexpectedly out of hand, not in the least because of his aunt, his girl and leading a double life. Written by watzdabigdeal

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks.




PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 April 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Secret of My Success  »

Box Office


$66,995,879 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie was filmed during June, July and August 1986. See more »


The office that Brantley takes over as Carlton is a corner office, with windows on 2 adjacent walls. When Carlton (Brantley) is working late and trying to convince Christy about his ideas, the exterior shot of the building shows several offices with lights on, then fades to a shot with only 1 office light on, in the middle of the building, which could not be Carlton's office. See more »


[after sex]
Brantley Foster: Can I make a personal observation?
Vera Prescott: Um, anything but the thighs.
Brantley Foster: You know, somebody sold you a bill of goods and convinced you you had to be 21 forever. That's bullshit. I think you're terrific; I think the only thing wrong with you is your husband is a jerk. You're beautiful, you're intelligent, you're sensuous...
Vera Prescott: Say that again!
Brantley Foster: Which part?
Vera Prescott: All of it!
[sounds of car]
Vera Prescott: Oh, no.
Brantley Foster: What, what is it?
See more »


Referenced in Final Cut (1989) See more »


The Secret of My Success
Written by David Foster, Jack Blades, Tom Keane and Michael Landau
Performed by Night Ranger
Produced by David Foster
Night Ranger appears courtesy of Camel/MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Corporate America under the Microscope
11 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Whenever I see groups of people in suits slaving away at their laptops and wonder what they are doing, I am reminded of this film. The suits who don't talk to the mailroom staff, whose ties cut off the flow of blood to their brains, and who cut down the effectiveness of their company are looked at with a jaundiced eye.

Is it possible for a someone from the mailroom to open up an office, get himself a secretary, and start operating within the organisation as a suit? It's ridiculous, of course. Utter fantasy. Or is it? I would find it unbelievable, had I not witnessed for myself the kind of conditions that would allow this sort of thing to happen in a large organisation. I dare say anyone who had the nerve could do it.

Michael J Fox turns in a good performance as the protagonist. Fred Gwynne is very photogenic, and Margaret Whitton is excellent as the protagonist's leggy, amorous aunt-in-law.

This film is well worth watching.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
He had Sex with his Aunt!!!! nydude6009
Brilliant movie! i cannot believe that my mom let me watch it though. The_Humiliated_Grapes
Brantley's job search in the beginning - question gfnoyes
Name of the song which runs when he sit in the car with his aunt michaeleibich
one glaring goof... glxyjones
Red hair? dr_hendrix
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