AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Summary View of Movie
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Nine to Five
Director: Colin Higgins (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Dec 1980
Duration (in mins):  110
Print this page
Display Movie Detail

Cast: Jane Fonda  (Judy Bernly)
  Lily Tomlin  (Violet Newstead)
  Dolly Parton  (Doralee Rhodes)

Summary: Newly divorced housewife Judy Bernly reports for her first day of work, and senior supervisor Violet Newstead shows her around the office. Suddenly, Roz Keith, administrative assistant to the boss, Franklin M. Hart, Jr., reprimands Violet for the sloppiness of the workers she supervises. In Hart's office, Hart gives Judy a pep talk on teamwork, then asks Violet to buy a scarf for his wife, then accuses her of not being a team player when she refuses. Once Judy is assigned a desk, she nervously types, clumsily works the phone, and fumbles with the Rolodex. While shopping for a scarf for Hart’s wife, Violet explains there is a rumor circulating that secretary Doralee Rhodes is Hart’s mistress. The news resonates with Judy, whose husband has left her for his secretary, while Violet asserts that Hart will never leave his adoring wife. However, Hart confesses to Doralee that he is madly in love with her, gropes her against her will, and they fall to the floor right when his wife, Missy Hart, enters to chat about cruises for their next vacation. Suddenly, Violet sees Doralee wearing the scarf intended for Hart’s wife, and assumes the rumors are true that Doralee and Hart are indeed lovers. The next day, Violet reluctantly fixes a cup of coffee for Hart, who ignores her report on improving office efficiency. Later, when the company president, Mr. Hinkle, announces that he is going to implement all of Hart’s efficiency suggestions, Violet realizes Hart has taken credit for her work. At home, Violet complains to her son, Josh, who encourages her to confront Hart, but she explains that she prefers to avoid controversy while she is in line for a promotion. Soon, Violet learns that the promotion has been given to Bob Enright, a colleague whom she trained and who has five years less experience than her. Hart insists customers prefer to work with a man when it comes to finances. Enraged, Violet demands that Hart stop referring to her as a “girl,” confronts him about his affair with Doralee, then heads to a nearby bar. When Doralee hears the false accusation, she tells Hart she is tired of his sexual advances and threatens to shoot him with the gun in her purse. Violet, Doralee, and Judy commiserate over drinks about the unjust firing of another secretary. When Violet finds her son’s marijuana cigarette in her purse, they take the party to Doralee’s house, where the women fantasize about giving Hart a taste of his own sexism. Judy dreams of hunting Hart like an animal and mounting his head on the wall. Doralee would hog tie Hart after she rejects her sexual advances and Violet, as Snow White, would spike Hart’s coffee with poison and eject him out the window. Later, Violet fixes coffee for Hart, and confesses to another secretary, Betty, that she is close to the breaking point. Hart never has a chance to drink the coffee because the broken mechanism on his chair causes him to hit his head and become unconscious. While Doralee rides with Hart in an ambulance to the hospital, Violet believes that she accidentally put rat poison in Hart’s coffee, mistaking the poison box for sugar substitute. She and Judy race to the hospital, where they overhear the doctor say a patient has died from poison. The women assume it is Hart, causing Violet to panic. She kidnaps the dead body, stuffs it in the trunk of her car, and speeds off while Judy and Doralee try to calm her. When Violet crashes the car, Doralee searches for a tire iron in the trunk, and realizes that the dead man is not Hart. The women return the corpse to the hospital, still unaware of what has happened to their boss. The next day, Hart returns to work as if nothing has happened. The three women think they have avoided trouble, but Roz overhears their bathroom conversation and reports back to Hart, who threatens to go to the police unless Doralee sleeps with him. When she refuses, the three women kidnap Hart and keep him tied up at his mansion while his wife is on vacation. Violet then discovers evidence that Hart has embezzled from the company, so they keep him hostage, covering up his absence at the office. When the invoices that will prove Hart’s guilt are delayed for several weeks, they send Roz away to take an immersive course in foreign language study when she becomes suspicious. As Violet, Judy and Doralee count the days, they make welcomed policy changes at the office. Meanwhile, Hart’s wife, Missy, returns early from her cruise to find her husband held captive, but he convinces her that he is trying out a new fitness program and sends her to a hotel. When Doralee finds out Missy is back, the women scramble to save their plan, but Hart grabs Doralee’s gun and orders Judy and Doralee back to the office. In an effort to save himself, Hart restocks a warehouse and alters the invoices Violet planned to use as evidence. However, Hart panics when he receives an unexpected visit from Russell Tinsworthy, the chairman of the board. Tinsworthy hands Hart a bottle of champagne and congratulates him on achieving a twenty percent increase in productivity in six weeks. As Violet points out program changes like flexible hours and in-house day care, Tinswothy gives Hart a bonus as an incentive to head up company operations in Brazil. Judy, Violet, and Doralee drink the champagne and toast their good fortune.  

Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Production Company: IPC Films
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Director: Colin Higgins (Dir)
  Richard Hashimoto (Unit prod mgr)
  Gary Daigler (Asst dir)
  Chris Soldo (2d asst dir)
Producer: Bruce Gilbert (Prod)
Writer: Colin Higgins (Scr)
  Patricia Resnick (Scr)
  Patricia Resnick (Story)

Subject Major: Business ethics
  Sexual equality
Subject Minor: Ambulances

Display Movie Detail
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.