When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.


Mike Nichols


Kevin Wade
2,213 ( 1,031)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Harrison Ford ... Jack Trainer
Sigourney Weaver ... Katharine Parker
Melanie Griffith ... Tess McGill
Alec Baldwin ... Mick Dugan
Joan Cusack ... Cyn
Philip Bosco ... Oren Trask
Nora Dunn ... Ginny
Oliver Platt ... Lutz
James Lally James Lally ... Turkel
Kevin Spacey ... Bob Speck
Robert Easton ... Armbrister
Olympia Dukakis ... Personnel Director
Amy Aquino ... Alice Baxter
Jeffrey Nordling ... Tim Rourke
Elizabeth Whitcraft Elizabeth Whitcraft ... Doreen DiMucci


Tess McGill is a frustrated secretary, struggling to forge ahead in the world of big business in New York. She gets her chance when her boss breaks her leg on a skiing holiday. McGill takes advantage of her absence to push ahead with her career. She teams up with investment broker Jack Trainer to work on a big deal. The situation is complicated after the return of her boss. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


For anyone who's ever won. For anyone who's ever lost. And for everyone who's still in there trying. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jack Trainer's home address --which he gives a cab driver as Morton Street-- is a real street in New York City, but there is no apartment house at 166 Morton Street, the exact address Trainer uses. See more »


Although it is clear from the conversation Jack has with Tess the morning after their first meeting, Tess, having personally set up the meeting the day before and speaking directly with Jack, failed to recognize his voice and his person at the party that night. See more »


Tess McGill: I read a lot of things. You never know where the big ideas could come from.
See more »


Referenced in Little Black Book (2004) See more »


The Lady in Red
Written and Performed by Chris De Burgh (as Chris DeBurgh)
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

User Reviews

A nice little accurate ride
1 July 2013 | by n-moSee all my reviews

I was pretty shocked to learn, after watching this film, that Mike Nichols was the director: a lighthearted, linearly-plotted chick comedy from the man behind the absurdist Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the character-driven The Graduate, both very heavy drama indeed, is not at all what one might expect.

However, the same quality craftsmanship from the aforementioned two permeates the entirety of this deceivingly simple movie. Though Tess McGill's achievements may seem a bit far-fetched, the story works because its depiction of the New York business and finance world in which she navigates is extremely accurate. The highly sensitive maneuvering in the cutting details is played to a T. We are also treated to the insecure porcine antics of nerdy male big-name school alumni desperate to cover up for their lack of real virility or machismo, as well-as the self-conscious vacuousness of many of their female counterparts, so beautifully incarnated in Tess's boss, Katherine Parker.

Tess's plight, as well, as a frustrated woman but especially as an aging (she's 30) Bright Young Thing frustrated in her attempts to get that seal of validation for her competence and style, ring very true. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman: anyone who has had to work with/for Ivy League alumni without having an Ivy League degree himself, or report to someone younger or barely older than himself, as I have, will begin rooting for Tess quite swiftly.

Harrison Ford's acting doesn't particularly stand out, but it wasn't bad. It helped that Ford was given a role with some degree of substance, though Melanie Griffith clearly outshines him. The omnipresence of Katherine's energy threatening to darken Tess's work, even when Katherine is absent, is quite remarkable, and it's almost frightening how well Sigourney Weaver, herself a Yale alumna, seemed to understand the territory in which she had to play Katherine.

All-in-all, brilliant work. Two thumbs up!

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Release Date:

21 December 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Working Girl See more »


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,718,485, 26 December 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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