Movies for Women Who Like to Kick Ass in the Office

Cinematic classics starring kick-ass career gals who broke the rules and succeeded.

By Yael Kohen

May 28, 2008 10:01 PM
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his girl friday
A.L. 'WHITEY' SCHAFER/COLUMBIA/The Kobal Collection
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His Girl Friday (1940)

For anyone contemplating giving up the career to get hitched and have kids, catch this flick starring Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson and dreamy Cary Grant as her fast-talking, conniving, and charming editor (and ex-husband). Hildy yearns to marry her fianc Bruce (Ralph Bellamy), settle down in the 'burbs, and have some kids. But try as hard as she may, Hildy hates to miss a scoop.
norma rae
Kobal/20TH CENTURY FOX/The Kobal Collection
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Norma Rae (1979)

What do you do when you work a minimum-wage job at a cotton mill in the 1970s South? Well, if youre Norma Rae (Sally Field) in this Academy Award-winning film of the same name, you piss off management and unionize, of course.
nine to five, lily tomlin, dolly parton, jane fonda
Kobal/20TH CENTURY FOX/The Kobal Collection
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Nine to Five (1980)

So, your boss is a pigheaded sexist? Well, you may want to resist the urge to mimic the three disgruntled female employees the brilliant Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda of Consolidated, a generic corporation helmed by a painfully arrogant Dabney Coleman. In a comeuppance almost biblical in its savory justice, their kill-the-boss fantasies come true, resulting in requisite mayhem and hijinks. Of course, kidnapping the boss may land you in jail. But at least you can have the fantasy.
broadcast news, holly hunter
KERRY HAYES38/20TH CENTURY FOX/The Kobal Collection
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Broadcast News (1987)

Who doesnt love watching tightly wound up television news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) run a newsroom? Youll get a sneak peek at the shenanigans newsies pull for the big scoop and savor a smart, sassy woman aware of her powers. After a hard day, youll be gratified to share your tears with Hunter in private, of course.
JEAN PAGLIUSO/20TH CENTURY FOX/The Kobal Collection
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Working Girl (1988)

Staten Island native Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is a secretary at a posh Wall Street firm, working for the well-bred and conniving Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). She thinks Katharine is going to give her the big break just because shes a woman. And women understand women, right? How naive. We cheer when she declares, I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up, okay? Amen to that.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Will the real Erin Brockovich please stand up? A real-life story about an unemployed, single mother of three who, after getting into some trouble, winds up as a file clerk at a law firm, finds some old records that dont add up, and does some investigating into fishy activity at a power company. Court battle ensues. Julia Roberts nabbed an Oscar for the title role.
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