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The Secret of My Success (1987)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 10 April 1987 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writers:

Jim Cash (screenplay), Jack Epps Jr. (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael J. Fox ... Brantley Foster / Carlton Whitfield
Helen Slater ... Christy Wills
Richard Jordan ... Howard Prescott
Margaret Whitton ... Vera Prescott
John Pankow ... Fred Melrose
Christopher Murney ... Barney Rattigan
Gerry Bamman ... Art Thomas
Fred Gwynne ... Donald Davenport
Carol Ann Susi ... Jean (as Carol-Ann Susi)
Elizabeth Franz ... Grace Foster
Drew Snyder ... Burt Foster
Susan Kellermann ... Maureen
Barton Heyman ... Arnold Forbush
Mercedes Ruehl ... Sheila
Ira Wheeler Ira Wheeler ... Owens (as Ira B. Wheeler)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret of My Success See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,766,452, 12 April 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$66,995,879

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$110,996,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unused music by John Williams. See more »

Goofs

When Brantley and Vera are in the pool, and she pulls Brantley under the water the second time, he splashes around, and a crew member can be seen between the splashes sitting in a chair in the background near the corner of the pool. See more »

Quotes

Christy Wills: Just tell me one more time what your solution is to this crisis.
Brantley Foster: We don't cut, we expand.
[the waitress, Sheila, arrives]
Sheila: I agree. Expansion is a positive reaction to the universe, while retraction, or cutting back, or pulling off, those are all negative forces. I used to be very negative, and then I took this personality workshop - my whole life turned around. Hiya, my name's Sheila. You make a good-looking couple - how long you been going together?
Brantley Foster: About 20 minutes.
Sheila: Ohhhhh, first date, huh? ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are two different ending sequences. In the first, after they leave the boardroom Fred and Vera meet and start to flirt. Christy and Brantley go into the elevator which stops between floors. In the second version, this scene is ommitted and we cut to several weeks later where the two couples climb into a limo and go the opera. The first shows up on the video releases, whereas the second shows up in broadcast versions. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dear John: The Secret of Success (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Get My Love
Written by Robert Marcial
Performed by TKA
Courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Fox's Most Hectic Roles Pays Off...
18 February 2010 | by cheersfan213See all my reviews

It'll make you dizzy in part as half the time in this film we see Fox's character juggling 2 different office identities in the same company (which is far-fetched but since this is a comedy, I digress), however it is also a crisp and sharp piece that examines big business and its effects on the common working man. Ross wasn't trying to wax philosophic on his viewers though--- this is meant to be a fun film, and it truly is. It is very funny in parts, and basically mildly funny at all other times. There's no real lull in this movie that seems boring but you'll only laugh out loud three of four times throughout the course of the film, even if you are a big Fox fan. To be honest, an episode of "Spin City" probably has twice as many laughs packed inside of a twenty-two minute episode than this whole movie had. Fox makes this film work though, and generally whenever there's a laugh to be had, it's a line or action Fox was responsible for. The supporting cast is quite good, though Fred Gwynne is sorely underused and when he is introduced in the final moments of the film, he is given absolutely no funny material to work with. That was probably the major disappointment of this movie for me, but other than that, it's pretty sharply-written, directed, the music is first-rate and you truly root for Fox throughout. 8 out of 10 stars.


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