9 to 5 (1980): Higgins’ Light Feminist Comedy, Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton (Oscar Nominated Song)

In 9 to 5, a lightly feminist but ultimately conventional comedy, three female office workers take revenge on their crooked and sexist boss.

Jane Fonda plays Judy Bernly, a housewife whose husband has left her for his secretary, and decides to pursue a secretarial career at a huge corporation.

Lily Tomlin is Violet Newstead, feisty office manager, who instructs Judy on the perils and procedures of office life, specifically working for Franklin Hart Jr. (Dabney Coleman), their chauvinistic, sleazy boss, and his right-hand woman, the nosy Roz (Elizabeth Wilson)

Hart’s attempts to seduce his happily married secretary, Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton), lead the entire office to think she’s a trollop.

When Hart unfairly passes Violet over for a promotion, she commiserates at a local bar with Judy and Doralee, who regales the others with tales of Hart’s advances.  At Doralee’s house, the women smoke pot, eat barbecue, and concoct hilarious revenge fantasies of how to kill their boss: a rodeo hog-tie, a Wild West shootout, a gothic Snow White scenario

When a mix-up leads the women to think they have accidentally poisoned Hart’s coffee, they hatch a scheme to protect themselves by stealing Hart’s body from the morgue. When he turns up alive, they must kidnap him to prevent him from blackmailing them or calling the police.

The trio of women uses their boss’ absence to introduce some changes around the office.

I have seen the movie, which is episodic to a fault, shown in various bars, and no matter when you begin watching, you still get it.

The movie is best known today for its Oscar-nominated tune, “9 to 5,” music and lyrics by Dolly Parton.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Original Song: 9 to 5, music and lyrics by Dolly Parton

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of Best Song was the melodic title tune from Fame, by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford.



Running time: 100 minutes.

Directed and co-written by Colin Higgins (with Patricia Resnick)

DVD: April 17, 2001

20th Century Fox