The Secret of My Success (1987 film)

1987 film by Herbert Ross

The Secret of My Success is a 1987 American comedy film about a talented young man can't get an executive position without rising through the ranks, so he comes up with a shortcut, which also benefits his love life.

Directed by Herbert Ross. Written by Jim Cash.
There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks.

Brantley Foster

  • [on entering his newly rented apartment] All right, listen up. If there are any bugs in here, or rats, or anything that has more legs than I do, you just stay on your side of the room, okay? I'll stay on mine. I should warn you, I'm packing an iron.
  • Please God, help me get out of this. I swear I'll go all over the world telling people not to screw the boss's wife.


Employer: I'm sorry, Mister...
Brantley Foster: Foster.
Employer: I'm sorry, Mr. Foster. We need someone with experience.
Brantley Foster: But how can I get any experience until I get a job that GIVES me experience?
Employer: If we gave you a job just to give you experience, you'd take that experience and get a better job. Then that experience would benefit someone else.
Brantley Foster: Yeah, but I was trained in college to handle a job like this, so in a sense I already have experience.
Employer: What you've got is college experience, not the practical, hard-nosed business experience we're looking for. If you'd joined our training program out of high-school, you'd be qualified for this job now.
Brantley Foster: Then why did I go to college?
Employer: [laughs] Had fun, didn't you?

Grace Foster: Take this. It's Uncle Howard's phone number in New York.
Brantley Foster: I've got an uncle in New York?
Grace Foster: My cousin Ellen married his half-sister's nephew, before she got bit by that dog and died.

[Brantley said "good morning" to an executive]
Fred Melrose: Not the suits, man! You never consort with the suits unless they consort with you first.
Brantley Foster: Wait a minute, that's ridiculous! He's a person, I'm a person. I can't say hello to him?
Fred Melrose: He's not a person, he's a suit! You're mailroom. No consorting.

Brantley Foster: [after sex] Can I make a personal observation?
Vera: Um, anything but the thighs.
Brantley Foster: You know, somebody sold you a bill of goods and convinced you you had to be 21 forever. I think you're terrific; I think the only thing wrong with you is your husband is a jerk. You're beautiful, you're intelligent, you're sensuous...
Vera Prescott: Say that again!
Brantley Foster: Which part?
Vera: All of it!
[sounds of car]
Vera Prescott: Oh, no.
Brantley Foster: What, what is it?
Vera Prescott: It's the jerk.
[Brantley rushes to the window]
Vera Prescott: My husband.
Brantley Foster: My uncle!
Vera Prescott: Your what?
Brantley Foster: Oh God, that makes you...
Vera Prescott: Auntie Vera?
Brantley Foster: Oh! God!
[Vera laughs]
Brantley Foster: Oh God, Oh God, Oh God! What's my mother going to say? I've disgraced my whole family!
Vera: Oh, the hell you did!

Fred Melrose: Hey, you look like death on a cracker, man. What happened to you?
Brantley Foster: Well, I was chased by a 200 pound dog with a mouth as big as my head. And that was the best thing that happened last night.
Fred Melrose: What was the worst thing?
Brantley Foster: Got laid.
Fred Melrose: Not sure you got your priorities straight, Brantley.

Brantley Foster: We have a problem.
Vera Prescott: What?
Brantley Foster: It's your husband: he's my boss.
Vera Prescott: O-oh, him. We won't tell him. Besides, Howard's working late tonight - on whom, I have no idea.

Brantley Foster: [reading mail while sorting] Some of this stuff doesn't make any sense. They send requisitions through two departments to get procurements for a third. What kind of thinking is that?
Fred Melrose: That's suit thinking. Something happens to a man when he puts on a necktie. Cuts off all the oxygen to his brain.

Brantley Foster: Aunt Vera, listen, since the last time we met there's been a change.
Vera Prescott: Yes... nice suit, Brantley!
[she starts undressing him; he tries to escape]
Brantley Foster: Agh! Ow! Look, what I mean to say is... Oh, Christ! I'm not free any more!
Vera Prescott: What, you're going to charge me? Oh ho, you're getting awfully cynical - does your mother know about this?
Brantley Foster: Ohh, no, I am not available.
Vera Prescott: Oh, good, you're not going to charge me.
Brantley Foster: Look, I like you, I really like you, but I gotta tell you, I have become seriously and emotionally involved with someone who isn't my aunt.
Vera Prescott: I forgive you, Brantley.

Vera Prescott: I'm going to introduce you to the most powerful money men in New York, and if you can do to them what you've done to me...
Brantley Foster: I can't do that!
Vera Prescott: I mean bowl them over, darling! You're irresistible when you turn on that boyish charm.

Howard Prescott: Let me get this straight - Brantley is Whitfield?
Brantley Foster: That's right. Brantley is Whitfield; Whitfield is Brantley.
Vera Prescott: And Christy is the bimbo! Well, now that we've all had Mouseketeer roll call, I'm just going to go call my lawyer.
Howard Prescott: No, wait a minute. Christy is not the bimbo I was screwing around with at the office.
Christy Wills: People better stop calling me bimbo!
Howard Prescott: It was an entirely different bimbo altogether.
Vera Prescott: That's fine; how many bimbos would you say there were?
Howard Prescott: I misspoke myself. There weren't any bimbos at all.
Brantley Foster: Except Christy.
Howard Prescott: Right. No!

Brantley Foster: At least I didn't sleep with the boss.
Christy Wills: No, you slept with the boss's wife!
Brantley Foster: She seduced me!
Christy Wills: He seduced ME! What's the difference?
Brantley Foster: I couldn't help it. You went willingly.
Christy Wills: I suppose you were tied up in chains.
Brantley Foster: No, the question is how many people did you sleep with in order to get to the top?
[Christy throws a vase at Brantley, smashing it]
Vera Prescott: That was a very expensive vase, you BITCH!
Christy Wills: SHUT UP! What I did was my business, not yours!
Brantley Foster: No, you mean it was company business!
Christy Wills: [snarkily] That's right! And that's all it was. Business!
Brantley Foster: I'll tell you something, sweetheart. You're very good at your job.
[Brantley leaves, Christy starts crying]

Brantley Foster: [to Fred and Jean] Whoa, whoa, listen, I'm going to need your help, both of you.
Fred Melrose: Is it something I could get fired for?
Brantley Foster: Absolutely.
Fred Melrose: I like it!