Nine to Five (aka 9 to 5) (1980): Colin Higgins’ Comedy Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton

In Nine to Five, a lightly feminist, rather silly and too broad comedy, three female office workers take revenge on their crooked and sexist boss.

9 to 5 moviep.jpg

Theatrical release poster

The comedy was crudely directed and perhaps intentionally constructed as a broad farce by Colin Higgins, who co-wrote with Patricia Resnick, based on her story.

Jane Fonda plays Judy Bernly, a housewife whose husband has left her for his secretary, which motivates her 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–gorls just want to have some fun.  They also concoct hilarious revenge fantasies of how to kill their boss: a rodeo hog-tie, a Wild West shootout, a gothic Snow White scenario.

A mix-up leads the women to think they have accidentally poisoned Hart’s coffee, so 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.

Oscar Nominations: 1

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

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was the title song from Fame, by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford.



Directed by Colin Higgins
Screenplay by Higgins and Patricia Resnick, based on a story by Resnick
Produced by Bruce Gilbert
Cinematography Reynaldo Villalobos
Edited by Pembroke J. Herring
Music by Charles Fox

Production company: IPC Films

Distributed by 20th Century Fox

Release date: December 19, 1980

Running time: 110 minutes
Budget $10 million
Box office $103.3 million

DVD: April 17, 2001

20th Century Fox