Friday's Top Five: Office movies
September 2nd, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Friday's Top Five: Office movies

Work sucks, but until you win the lottery, you’ll just have to savor holidays like Labor Day.

To get a jump on the Monday dedicated to not working, consider this list of movies about coffee breaks, corporations and cubicle culture.

Forget about what you're supposed to be doing right now.  That email can wait, and conference calls never start on time.  Waste some time, look busy in the process, and share your favorite work-related movies. Here are mine:

1.  "Office Space" (1999): “I don’t like my job and I don’t think I’m going to go anymore.” – Peter Gibbons

2.  "Fight Club" (1999): “This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.” – Narrator (Chuck Palahniuk supposedly wrote the first chapter while killing time at work).

3.  "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992): “Coffee is for closers.” – Blake

4.  "The Secret of My Success" (1987): “He's not a person, he's a suit! You're mailroom. No consorting.” – Fred Melrose

5. "Nine to Five" (1980):  “They're showing the Boss who's the BOSS!” – movie tagline

Honorable Mentions:

"Swimming with Sharks" (1994): “You're happy. I hate that!” – Buddy

"Head Office" (1985): I didn't get this job because I'm a moron... I got this job because IIIIIIIII'm NOT a moron!” – Howard Gross

"Wanted" (2008): “My job title is account manager. I used to be called an account service representative, but a consultant told us we have to manage our clients, and to not service them.” – Wesley

"Horrible Bosses" (2011):  The title speaks for itself.

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Filed under: Friday Top Five • movies

soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Terry

    "I've got a head for business and a bod for sin." WORKING GIRL was the first thing that came to my mind.

    September 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jack

    What about the only office movie to win an Oscar as Best Picture - "The Apartment" way back in 1960? Was Jack Lemmon and director Billy Wilder at their best!

    September 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Smack-it-Up-Flip-it-Rub-it-down

    The GREATEST office films....

    1. Jungle Fever (1991)
    2. Fatal Attraction (1987)
    3. Strictly Business (1991)
    4. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
    5. Big (1988)

    Honorary mentions: Dilbert (TV series)

    September 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Felix onyegbule

    Loved 'fight club' but it is more suitable as action film.Hitch and wat a woman wants are great too.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. kms

    Trading Places. Eddie Murphy. To funny. Talk about horrible bosses.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Me

    Another vote for Desk Set. A very smart and funny movie.

    September 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buck

    1. Hudsucker Proxy- a great film from the Cohen brothers starring Tim Robbins and Paul Newman
    2 Being John Malkovich
    3 Working Girl
    4 Secretary
    5 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

    That is my list. I think it is better than what the CNN entertainment intern came up with. I like 2 of the movies on their list, Office Space and 9 to 5.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Oyster

    Todd Solondz's "Happiness" from 1998 has got to be in the top 5.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dwil

    oh and if they are counting the office scenes in fight club than you had to include coming to america. there were a few scenes that took place in the mcdowell's.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. dwil

    Boomerang was a great office movie back when eddie murphy was in his prime. look it up and watch it if you haven't seen it people.

    September 4, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. caseyphillups

    Boiler room missed you p girl 1st time.

    September 4, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. caseyphillups

    Boiler room ?

    September 4, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. myob

    What about "9 to 5" with Dolly Parton? Hee hee just kidding! Dolly rocks regardless of that movie!

    Enjoy the weekend and thanks for the movie tips!

    "I said no salt .."

    Who said that line .. for $64 million answer.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. myob

    "Uh, we hear you've been missing a lot of work lately."

    "Well, I wouldn't exactly say I was missing it."


    September 4, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Elwood

    Technically, "Falling Down" did not take place in an office but it is a good example of what can happen when things at the office go really bad.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  16. zozo sal

    Womp womp womp

    September 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Old School

    Absolutely HTSIBWRT...I third that! Awesome awesome movie. Robert Morse was hilarious. The best office movie ever.

    No one mentioned "She's Having A Baby" with Kevin Bacon...there are office doldrums in there, too.

    Disclosure is fantastic so is GGGR with Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  18. MovieGuru

    Hello out there, Working Girl, well duh.

    September 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  19. tbusa

    Tin men was agreat movie and nastagic too. Dreyfusnd Devito are both comedy genius!

    September 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Rupert Sheldrake

    The Secretary. Next topic.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  21. kev oh

    In the Company of Men

    September 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. george

    Let us not forget: Man in a White Suit and Double Indemnity.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  23. george

    A delightful office film by Preston Sturgess during the depression: Christmas in July.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  24. nugun

    If they're counting Fight Club. Why not count Mr. Anderson and The Matrix

    September 3, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  25. Bee-Itchy

    How about Jerry Maguire? The office scene when he gets let go and 'wigs out'- that was hilarious!

    September 3, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  26. Sokman

    Suprised to not see Jerry Maguire on the list

    September 3, 2011 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  27. coledaddy

    Paper planes? The clash wrote that hook in 1982 for the album combat rock u idiot

    September 3, 2011 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      The person is an idiot because they didn't know some obscure song by The Clash from back in 1982?!

      It's amazing how people get so tough on the web. I'm sure that you may think you're a rebel since you listen to The Clash, and I wouldn't know who you were if I tripped over you, but I'd be willing to bet that you wouldn't call that person an idiot to their face for something as mundane as this. If you are that socially inept then you should seek counseling.

      Don't be an Internet tough guy, and have compassion for other human beings. Who knows, that could've been a relative of yours that made that original post, or it could've been ANYONE. Relax, and enjoy the labor day weekend...get out of the house and take a walk, or go hit the gym.

      Time for me to go hit the pool.

      September 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  28. jackbrown

    American phycso..[Looking at Paul Allen's business card]
    Patrick Bateman: "Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!"

    September 3, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  29. mabra144

    If "Fight Club" is considered an office movie, then "American Beauty" has to be on that list too! Lester was the ultimate office rebel!

    September 3, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  30. azkm

    Clerks. How can we forget Clerks?

    September 2, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Superhiro

    Wanted? Really?

    September 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Synapse

    Best sales WORK movies...
    USED CARS (esp for commissioned salespeople) &
    TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES (esp for sales folks who travel)

    September 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      Loved Trains, Planes and Automobiles, but that was absolutely not an office movie. It was a buddy/road movie. No office scenes that I can recall at all.

      September 5, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  33. Reg

    How about the beginning scenes in "Joe Vs the Volcano"? Office doldrums to the max!

    September 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      Excellent pick! Hanks voiced what many of us have felt in bad office jobs.

      "You look terrible, Mr. Waturi. You look like a bag of s**t stuffed in a cheap suit. Not that anyone could look good under these zombie lights. I, I, I, I can feel them sucking the juice out of my eyeball. Suck, suck, suck, SUCK... "

      September 5, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  34. Butters

    Not yet mentioned:

    Baby Boom (Diane Keaton)
    What Women Want (Mel Gibson)
    Being John Malkovich (John Cusack)
    Disclosure (Demi Moore)

    September 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  35. jdurand1970

    "In Good Company" with Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace.

    "Nine to Five " with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton

    "Tin Men" with Richard Dreyfuss and Dani DeVito

    September 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. george

    To this list I would add: Citizen Kane, The Apartment, and His Girl Friday.

    September 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  37. dd pooomp

    “They're showing the Boss who's the BOSS!” – movie tagline TONY DANZA IS DA BOSS! he declared it in the midst of pinching Mona's t!t

    September 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Zebidiah Klausbogan

    Ahhhh.... you young whippersnappers may have never heard of the musical 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'. It was a Broadway musical that was made into a movie musical in 1967 and stars Robert Morse. It's a scream. It's one of my favorite satires on the corporate world alongside of 'Head Office' and 'Office Space'

    September 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Anomic Office Drone

    Wow. I wasn't actually expecting CNN to pick all good movies. Well done.

    September 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  40. KWS

    I was surprised that "Head Office" made a mention on the list! The first half of that move is the funniest big business send-up I've ever seen. Eddie Albert as the CEO ("DIS-con-nect!")? Rick Moranis' panic on the phone about how he only APPROVED the decision, he didn't MAKE the decision? Danny DeVito's desperately funny and ill-fated run through the building when his deal goes bad? Don King's vapourous board room diatribe?

    Amazingly sharp writing until the love story turns it into a silly chase film.

    September 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkB

      3 cheers KWS. As nice as it was to see Head Office on the list (absolutely No One gives it the time of day) it was just as nice to see your acknowledgement of it. A true classic, and amazingly gorgeous Jane Seymour to boot.

      September 5, 2011 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
  41. mral

    Big Business with Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin! They play twins switched at birth... the mean twin Bette plays walks into the office and one of the first things she says to her employee is "Is this how we dress for the office? You look like a blood clot".

    September 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      I'd forgotten that one. I'd list it in the guilty pleasures column. It was fun.

      September 5, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  42. sam again

    'The Apartment',

    September 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Phillygirl

    "Glenngarry Glen Ross" should be in first place. It had all star cast.

    September 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired

      September 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  44. comeon

    Fight Club is not an "office movie". There are scenes that take place in an office, but that is only for about 5 minutes.
    Wallstreet, Boiler Room, American Psycho, The Hudsucker Proxy... all notables.

    September 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  45. B-Jud

    Not sure that that "Office Space" trailer is real. Unless MIA's "Paper Planes" was written by that time, but it wasn't.

    September 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  46. T

    Top Office Movies ? In that order....
    1. Horrible Bosses
    2. Office Space
    3. Secret of my Success
    4. Working Girl
    Well, that's it, that's all I can come up with....Dang, it's hard to come up with Office type movies....

    September 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  47. SeanNJ

    Quest For Fire

    September 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Lisa

    Ok, so when I was young and less discerning, Secret of My Success was mildly entertaining and MJF is a cutie pie, but in the top 5? NO WAY. What about Working Girl???? That's a way better "office" movie and you didn't even mention it!

    I wholeheartedly agree with Office Space and Nine to Five!

    Horrible Bosses is freaking HILARIOUS!!

    September 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      I was wondering why Working Girl wouldn't be there and Success would, as well. I liked the MJF film enough to rewatch it several times over the years. I think it was Fox's best. But Working Girl is several notches better, on all levels. Great office politics film, and you get to see Melanie Griffith vacuuming nekked.

      Another excellent office flick is The Devil Wears Prada.

      September 5, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  49. SeanNJ

    "Quest For Fire"

    September 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  50. rainyday32

    any time we have a piece of malfunctioning equipment (usually the printer), we always say we're going to "pull an Office Space on it". LOVE love love that movie.

    September 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Katie read my mind. I LOVE Clockwatchers!

    September 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Jay Dubs

    Haiku Tunnel is another good office movie

    September 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Anita

    Don't forget "Clockwatchers" with Toni Collette, Parker Posey, and Lisa Kudrow. It's depressingly good!

    September 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valley Girl

      ITA re: "Clockwatchers" – excellent cast!

      Re: "Office Space," I remember wanting a red stapler...

      September 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Anita: Was scrolling down and wondering if anyone was going to mention this one. Probably one of theeeee most realistic movies about the office environment. ESPECIALLY if you've ever been a temp which many of us have. You are nobody, you are thought of as a temp and not a are the most expendable...seriously...when I was a temp I had to ask for work from the bosses all the time...I did it mostly as a summer job thing. But these ladies had no future plans or real ambitions...they really were "temps" Just a great, great movie that I clicked with immediately.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  54. jon

    Office Space rocks! I can watch that movie 20 times in a row and still laugh. It's funny because it's true.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzzi

      I totally agree. Everyone that I recommended it to also loved it.

      September 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  55. The man in the rubber suit

    What about C.H.U.D.? I can't believe they left that one off the list...

    September 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Gr8estg8r

    umm, what about WALL STREET!!!

    September 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Sam

    Another great "office" movie is DESK SET with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Blondell and Gig Young. The writing is smart, the acting sharp and the movie keeps you smiling.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      That's a great add too! I love that movie. Getting ready to be taking over by machines even back then, lol. Classic.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  58. Ricky Bobby's Dad

    "If you ain't first, you're last."

    September 2, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  59. sam9999

    'Big' – Not an office themed movie, but so many of the scenes occurred in the office and showed office humor and politics.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  60. Kisa Kisa

    all good movies...

    September 2, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  61. Loren

    How could they leave off the best office black comedy of all time "A Shock To The System"? Michael Caine is killer in this movie.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Great choice Loren, one of tye best business lines ever..." is he your superior?" " No, he's my boss."

      September 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat Bateman

      GREAT pick! One of my all time favorites. GREAT addition!

      September 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Prime


    September 2, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |

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