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 »
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Popularity
3,701 ( 1,962)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kristy McNichol was Herbert Ross' original choice for lead actress. She was fired two weeks before filming because of fears she might be difficult to work with, due to her bipolar disorder. See more »

Goofs

When Vera rips off Brantley's bathing suit, you can see his "body strap" around his private parts. See more »

Quotes

[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?
[...]
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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 »


Soundtracks

The Price of Love
Written by David Foster and Jack Blades
Performed by Roger Daltrey
Produced by David Foster
Roger Daltrey appears courtesy of Virgin Records and Atlantic Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Typically eighties, but worth watching thanks to Michael J. Fox
23 June 2005 | by philip_vandervekenSee all my reviews

The eighties, the decade of ugly clothes and hairstyles, bad music and easily forgettable movies. But there is one positive aspect about that decade and that is Michael J. Fox. He's probably one of the few actors who started his movie career at those days who I still admire. He's still nice to watch, especially in light weighted comedies like this one.

In fact, the title "The Secret of My Succe$s" already says enough about what you can expect from this movie (also notice the little dollar sign in the title), but I'll give a short resume anyway. It shows how Brantley Foster, a talented and well-educated young man coming from rural Kansas, goes to New York to find a suiting job and a nice girlfriend. But he isn't very successful, no company wants to hire him, because he doesn't have any experience. Before leaving Kansas for the Big Apple, his father had bought him a return ticket home and his mother gave him the address of his in New York living uncle, Howard Prescott, just in case when he should need some help. But what Foster didn't know is that his uncle runs a multi-million-dollar company. When he pays him a visit, he gets a job ... in the mail room. But then he meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives. Believing that the best way to win her over is by posing as an executive, Brantley decides to take a position under the name Carlton Whitfield and of course things soon start to get completely out of hand...

I admit that this movie is as 'eighties' as you can get them. I'm pretty sure that no-one of todays directors would be able to make it exactly the way it looks, because they don't write scripts like that anymore and there are no more actors like Fox. The man that comes closest for this kind of role is probably Jim Carrey, but even then you would get a completely different kind of movie. It's probably thanks to Michael J. Fox, who is really very nice in this movie, that I forgot about most of its flaws. Once again he's the boyish, sweet guy and that's probably the best thing this movie has to offer. If it hadn't been for him, almost no-one would ever have seen the movie or would still remember it because the story isn't special and it's too typical for that time period.

All in all this is a fast-paced comedy full of typical eighties clichés, but it works thanks to Michael J. Fox's performance and that's why I still give it a 7/10.


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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

Gross USA:

$66,995,879

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$110,996,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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