Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Working Girl (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Working Girl (1988)

In director Mike Nichols' Best Picture-nominated modern farcical romantic comedy about the workplace and corporate culture in the 1980s:

  • the breathtaking, rotating opening shot of the Statue of Liberty as the Oscar-winning Carly Simon song "Let the River Run" played
  • the character of Tess McGill (Oscar-nominated Melanie Griffith) - a smart, free-thinking, slightly ditzy 30 year old ingenue, a "working girl" secretary-receptionist in a Wall Street brokerage firm with upwardly-mobile ambitions; she lived in working class Staten Island and each day took the ferry to work; she was the film's central Cinderella character striving to make it in the corporate world
  • Tess was unknowingly manipulated by her icy, sleek, intimidating, elitist super-boss Katherine Parker (Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver)
  • Katharine as a mentor instructed Tess to follow her example: "Tess, you know you don't get anywhere in this world by waiting for what you want to come to you. You make it happen. Watch me, Tess. Learn from me"
  • the flirtatious and provocative line of dialogue in a bar during a business function, typical of the yuppie-life style of the 1980s, delivered by Tess to handsome investment broker Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford in his first light comedy) with a deadpan personality: "I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?"
  • Tess found herself betrayed by her unfaithful, scumbag live-in boyfriend Mick Dugan (Alec Baldwin), and by her double-crossing, morally-corrupt, conniving, breezy and duplicitous boss Katharine who took Tess' business idea for a media merger and passed it off as her own. Tess took the situation under her control and brokered the deal herself, along with her love interest Jack Trainer (at one-time, Katharine's boyfriend)
  • the brilliant final pull-back shot of the triumphant Tess in her office, revealing her to be just one of thousands in a single building in the whole of New York City, as the subtly subversive lyrics of "Let the River Run" undercut the moment


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