71 user 26 critic

Night Shift (1982)

R | | Comedy | 30 July 1982 (USA)
A morgue attendant is talked into running a brothel at his workplace after a deceased pimp is sent there. However, the pimp's killers don't look too kindly on this new 'business', nor does the morgue's owner.


Ron Howard
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Winkler ... Chuck Lumley
Michael Keaton ... Bill Blazejowski
Shelley Long ... Belinda Keaton
Gina Hecht ... Charlotte Koogle
Pat Corley ... Edward Koogle
Bobby Di Cicco ... Leonard (as Bobby DiCicco)
Nita Talbot ... Vivian
Basil Hoffman ... Drollhauser
Tim Rossovich ... Luke
Clint Howard ... Jefferey
Joe Spinell ... Manetti
Cheryl Carter Cheryl Carter ... Tanya
Becky Gonzalez Becky Gonzalez ... Lupe
Corki Grazer Corki Grazer ... Sylvia (as Corki Corman)
Jaid Barrymore ... Joyce (as Ildiko Jaid)


A nebbish of a morgue attendant gets shunted back to the night shift where he is shackled with an obnoxious neophyte partner who dreams of the "one great idea" for success. His life takes a bizarre turn when a prostitute neighbour complains about the loss of her pimp. His partner, upon hearing the situation, suggests that they fill that opening themselves using the morgue at night as their brothel. Against his better judgement, he gets talked into the idea, only to find that it's more than his boss that has objections to this bit of entrepreneurship. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Together they are going to make the day pay off... all night long! See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

30 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Shift See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,539,633, 1 August 1982

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shelley Long played a character called "Belinda Keaton" who had the same last name as Michael Keaton. See more »


When Chuck enters a room next to his office at the morgue, grip equipment is reflected in the glass door See more »


Charlotte Koogle: [in bed] Are you excited?
Chuck: Like the French when Lindbergh landed.
Charlotte Koogle: Am I fat?
Chuck: Huh?
Charlotte Koogle: Am I fat?
Chuck: You're a willow. You're a reed. You're Audrey Hepburn!
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.85 (2010) See more »


The Love Too Good To Last
Written by Burt Bacharach (uncredited), Carole Bayer Sager (uncredited) and Peter Allen (uncredited)
Performed by The Pointer Sisters
Courtesy of Planet Records
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User Reviews

A star is born...
24 December 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... well actually several of them are. The film is based on a true story of a couple of morgue employees caught running a brothel out of the morgue at night.

You have Michael Keaton in his breakout role acting like...well..Michael Keaton, at least pre "Clean and Sober" Michael Keaton, with his smart remarks and cheery yet loser persona. You've got Henry Winkler as a guy who just lets people walk on him to the point that he's engaged to a woman he really doesn't love because she is there, and just takes it when he's moved from his day post at the morgue to the night shift with Keaton's Bill "Blaze" Blazejowski. Winker's character, Chuck, got to this sad state of affairs when he had a nervous breakdown working on Wall Street, even though he is a talented investor. Since then he's decided the best way to get through life is keep his head down and keep a low profile.

But then his night shift brings a little sunshine his way in the person of prostitute Belinda (Shelley Long), who is getting home about the time that Chuck does, and they begin to have breakfast together and get to know each other. When Belinda is injured by a client because she doesn't have a pimp, Bill talks Chuck into letting Belinda and her friends work for them, and Chuck agrees to invest the girls' money so they'll have a nest egg.

Eventually Chuck and Belinda fall in love, with Chuck assuming Belinda will quit prostitution. Belinda asks the pertinent question - "And do what?". She asks it tearfully, because of course she doesn't like this life, we really never get any background as to how she got here, but future employers would want to know what she was doing with this big blank space on her resume and she knows she has no acceptable answer.

The whole situation comes to a head when other pimps don't care for Bill and Chuck cutting in on their territory. And then there is the little matter of undercover cops. I'll let you watch and see how this all works out.

This would probably just be a six if it weren't for the important place it holds in film history. It is the first feature film directed by Ron Howard at only age 28, and he did a very able job his first time out. It boosted the careers of both Michael Keaton and Shelley Long, who was less than a month away from beginning her star making role on Cheers. And then there is the film's theme song "That's What Friends are For" that was rerecorded in 1985, became a hit, and whose proceeds went to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS.

And what of Henry Winkler who was top billed here? Well, even though he was nominated for awards for this performance, it was pretty much downhill from here professionally. Since 1973 Winkler had built the reputation as the ultimate Eisenhower era alpha male - Fonzie - on the long running TV show "Happy Days". He was a cross between Brando and Elvis. People stepped out of his way when he walked down the street, and he would snap his fingers and several beautiful girls would come running just to be on his arm. A great performance as a man who is a walking doormat through most of the film does not mean that it enlarged his fan base.

I'd say watch it for its place in film history for all the reasons I gave. Even if you weren't alive at the time, the film is at least mildly amusing. Also watch out for cameos by Richard Belzer (Munch on Homicide and then Special Victims Unit), Kevin Costner, and of course Clint Howard who I don't think ever got an acting job without big brother's help, with the exception of maybe his part on TV show Gentle Ben.

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