The workplace isn’t always seen as somewhere that fosters creativity. In fact, most can be quite dull. But that doesn’t mean that the mundaneness of working hasn’t inspired some amazing movies that not only mock it but also embrace it (surprisingly). We’ve compiled a list of what we think are some of the best movies that are set in a workplace, and maybe some of them will give you the kick you need to keep it going during those eight-hour shifts.
Ah, the glorified days of the ‘80s, complete with big hair, big makeup and big egos. “Working Girl” combines all those into one movie, in which a secretary takes over after her boss ends up injuring her leg. The secretary then attempts to handle a major business deal and unknowingly falls for her boss’s boyfriend in the process. With big names such as Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, you won’t be disappointed. Plus, the music is by Carly Simon.
“9 to 5”
Another iconic ‘80s film, “9 to 5” follows three secretaries who finally decide to live out their fantasies of taking down their misogynistic boss and taking over his business as their own. It starts out as an accident, but everything spirals out of control, and the three ladies end up just rolling with it. The movie features legends such as Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, making it as comedic as it can get.
“The Devil Wears Prada”
This movie had us at Meryl Streep. And then again at Anne Hathaway. And again at Emily Blunt. But in all seriousness, this iconic movie is about an unfashionable but talented writer who interns for the ruthless editor of a fashion magazine. She is then whisked into the magical world of Hermes, Louboutin and, of course, Prada, while she struggles with pleasing her boss and keeping true to her ever-changing identity.
Anne Hathaway is back at it again but this time with Robert De Niro in this feel-good workplace movie. De Niro’s character is a retired man who is looking to get back into the workforce and finds his calling working as an intern for a hip, new online clothing retailer. Eventually, he moves beyond the workplace into his young boss’s life and helps her navigate the ups and downs in her marriage, career and life.
It’s nearly every college student’s dream to have an internship at Google, the promised land of nap pods and writing on glass walls with markers. “The Internship” is about two salesmen, played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, who find themselves out of jobs and manage to secure internships at none other than Google. They’re paired with young interns fresh out of college into a team that competes with others. These two out-of-place men end up befriending this group, despite many, many rough patches in the beginning.
This satirical film is one of the ultimate workplace comedies ever to grace our bleak workplace lives. It follows an IT worker who, after undergoing hypnotherapy, becomes the confident, promotion-seeking worker every other worker wishes they could be. He goes from hating his life to becoming part of the management but then gets involved in a downsizing scheme and later an accidental embezzlement scheme. Let’s just say it’s a wild ride and shouldn’t be missed.
“How to Get Ahead in Advertising”
This is British comedy at its finest. This movie is about an executive at an advertising company who just can’t seem to come up with a slogan for a brand of pimple cream. It’s just his luck that he happens to grow a talking boil on his neck one day that pulls him out of his rut. Unfortunately, this boil is also evil and tries to take over him, ruining his love life but boosting his career. You know what they say about business.
“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”
Though this may not be the type of movie that immediately comes to mind when thinking about a movie set in a workplace, we assure you that it is, and it’s great. It’s just a more fun version. Will Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, a charismatic and loud San Diego anchorman who tries to rise in the ranks with his fellow hosts. In this movie, a female anchorwoman, played by Christina Applegate, is on her own journey up, and she isn’t afraid to battle Burgundy to get where she wants. Unfortunately for him, he falls in love with her and happens to bungle his career in the process, though he gets a chance to redeem himself at the end.
“Be Kind Rewind”
Taking place in a video rental store, this movie begins with Jerry, played by Jack Black, who breaks into a power plant in an attempt to get back at the company but, instead, accidentally wipes out all the tapes in the video store instead. As a means to give back to the owner, he and the other employees, as well as whoever else will help, recreate their own short versions of the movies on the tapes. They end up being a big hit with the people of the town, but with the owner still facing closure, Jerry tries to help him stay in business beyond just the tapes.
With the stereotypical workplace being so prevalent in so many lives, it’s no wonder that there are countless great movies, ranging from comedies to dramas to horror, taking place there. This list is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully it’s a starting place to discover some of the best movies set in a workplace!
Contact Pooja Bale at