Working Girl

1988 film by Mike Nichols

Working Girl is a 1988 film about a spunky Wall Street secretary whose business idea is stolen by her boss, but when her boss is injured, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.

Directed by Mike Nichols. Written by Kevin Wade.
For anyone who's ever won. For anyone who's ever lost. And for everyone who's still in there trying. Tagline

Tess McGill

  • [Mick has bought Tess some lingerie for her birthday] Y'know, Mick, just once I could go for like a sweater or some earrings... something that I could actually wear outside of this apartment?
  • [from her new, private office] Hey, Cyn. Guess where I am.
  • I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?


  • [looking at a dress] Six thousand dollars? It's not even leather!
  • Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will.
  • You got it! Oh, my God! I can't believe it! She's out! She made it out! She got out! She has her own office!

Katharine Parker

  • [Upon reading Tess' day planner] Why that little... slut! That goddamn little... bitch! Secretary!
  • [on computer] Dear Jack, There's a light bulb over my head. I know Trask and you know media. And that adds up to us finally doing a deal together. Let's run with it. Best, Katherine.


Tess McGill: No lunch. I got speech class.
Cynthia: What'dya need speech class for? You talk fine!

Cynthia: Can I get ya anything, Mr. Trainer? Coffee? Tea? Me?
Tess McGill: [to Jack] Isn't she a riot. That'll be all, Cynthia.

Personnel Director: Tess, Tess, Tess...
Tess McGill: I know.
Personnel Director: You won't get anywhere by calling your boss a pimp.
Tess McGill: Well, he is.

Katharine Parker: Ugh! What a slob.
Tess McGill: You were so smooth with him. I probably would have...
Katharine Parker: Never burn bridges. Today's junior prick, tomorrow's senior partner. So, how do you think the party's going?
Tess McGill: Pretty well, I think. Should I stop serving now?
Katherine Parker: Better make one more round.
Tess McGill: Right.
Katharine Parker: I'd love to help you but... we can't busy the quarterback with passing out the Gatorade.

Katharine Parker: I think he's it, and I think this could be the weekend we decide. He said that there was something very important that he wanted to discuss with me. I think he's going to pop the question.
Tess McGill: What if he doesn't?... pop the question?
Katharine Parker: I really don't think that's a variable. We're in the same city now, I've indicated that I'm receptive to an offer, I've cleared the month of June... and I am, after all, me.

Cynthia: [watching a chandelier that lowers from the ceiling] Why does it do that?
Tess McGill: For cleaning...
Cynthia: Are you kiddin' me?
Tess McGill: No, I'm not.

Jack Trainer: I've been looking for you.
Tess McGill: Why, do you know me?
Jack Trainer: No. No, but I promised myself that when I saw you, I would get to know you. You're the first woman I've seen in one of these damn things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman.
Tess McGill: Thank you I guess.

Tess McGill: [after taking several shots of tequila] Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
Jack Trainer: You okay?
Tess McGill: Mmm, I'm fine. I'm just fine. I took an antihistamine before, and it makes for a nice little buzz.
Jack Trainer: Oh, I didn't know that they let bad girls into these things.
Tess McGill: Do I look like I don't belong here?
Jack Trainer: No. No, I'm sure that you're a real ace in whatever it is that you do do.
Tess McGill: Damn straight.
Jack Trainer: But how you look...
Tess McGill: I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?
Jack Trainer: Uh, no. No.

Tess McGill: Shoot me, just shoot me.
Cynthia: Will you cut that out, they didn't throw you out, did they?
Tess McGill: Well, they don't exactly have bouncers at these things, they're a little more subtle than that, Cyn. Oh God, and last night!
Cynthia: Yeah, I should've checked the miligrams. Live and learn. Well, maybe, he'll feel sorry for you and make it up to your doing your deal or whatever it is.
Tess McGill: I'm not looking for sympathy. You know, I had a shot at it... you know!

Tess McGill: Why did you say you weren't you last night?
Jack Trainer: Because I knew it would happen. All Mergers and Acquisitions. No lust and tequila.
Tess McGill: That was... I mean that just happened, okay? I want to make it clear, um... What did happen, exactly?
Jack Trainer: The earth moved. The angels wept. The Polaroids are, are, uh... [gropes about in his coat pockets] are in my other coat. [grins] Nothing happened. Nothing happened!
Tess McGill: I woke up in my underwear.
Jack Trainer: I'll bet you look nice.

Mick Dugan: Tess, will you marry me?
Tess McGill: Maybe.
Mick Dugan: Ya call that an answer?
Tess McGill: You want another answer, ask another girl.

Mick Dugan: I want to get things solidified. Things in my life! You're not the only one with plans, you know!
Tess McGill: I said, maybe.
Mick Dugan: Maybe means dick! Fuck maybe! I want an answer now!
Tess McGill: Please, don't yell at me! You treat me like I'm dumb!
Mick Dugan: Why are we always talkin' about the way you get treated, huh? Who the fuck died and made you Grace Kelly?!
Tess McGill: I am not steak! You can't just order me!
Mick Dugan: Look, I don't need this! You get your priorities straight, maybe we'll talk. Right now, we're history.

Cynthia: Look, all I'm saying is, if you're so smart, why don't you act smart and save your ass while you still can. Else they're gonna find out, you're not gonna have your job, or any job. You're outta your man and your home already!
Tess McGill: I'm gonna come clean as soon as I get my end set up. I swear. I know what I'm doing.
Cynthia: Yeah, so do I... screwing up your life.
Tess McGill: No, I'm trying to make it better! I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up, okay?

Tess McGill: How did you get the scar?
Jack Trainer: Some guy pulled a knife in Detroit.
Tess McGill: Really?
Jack Trainer: No. No, I was nineteen and I thought it'd be cool to have a pierced ear. My girlfriend stuck the needle through and I heard this pop and fainted and hit my chin on the toilet.
Tess McGill: [laughs] Have you been telling that story ever since?
Jack Trainer: You're the only one who knows the true story.
Tess McGill: Except the girlfriend?
Jack Trainer: I had her, uh... disappear. It's too bad. Nice girl. Real shame.

Tess McGill: [to Jack] Look, we're in a business deal together now, and I just don't think that we should get involved that way. My life is real complicated as it is.
Jack Trainer: I don't want to complicate it either. I just thought dinner, maybe a movie.
Tess McGill: We both know what we're talking about.
Jack Trainer: I certainly hope so!
Tess McGill: You know, maybe I just don't like you.
Jack Trainer: Me? Naaah!

Tess McGill: [to Katharine] Look, you, maybe you've got everyone around here fooled with this saint act you have going, but do not ever speak to me again like we don't know what really happened! You got me?
Katherine Parker: Tess, this is business. Let's just bury the hatchet, okay?
Tess McGill: You know where you can bury your hatchet? Now get your bony ass outta my sight! [to Jack] And if you really think that I said I loved you as part of some scheme, then that is really pathetic, you know?
Katharine Parker: My God, she'll stop at nothing.

Tess McGill: You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you're trying to get there. And if you're someone like me, you can't get there without bending the rules
Oren Trask: You've got a real fire in your belly. Or was this just a one-time stunt that you pulled?
Tess McGill: I'm not quite sure what you mean, sir. I've got something in my belly, but I think it's nervous knots.

Katharine Parker: Oren, I beg your pardon, but if you are insinuating...
Oren Trask: Miss Parker, if I were you... I'd go to your office and take a long last look around. Because in about five minutes, I'm going to see to it that you get the boot... but good!
Katharine Parker: Oren, this is a simple misunderstanding and I... You cannot...
Oren Trask: I can and I will! Now get your... [to Tess] What was that you called it?
Tess McGill, Jack Trainer: Bony ass.
Oren Trask: Right... your bony ass out of my sight!
Katharine Parker: I'm sorry... but I simply won't stand for that kind of talk. Will you excuse me, please?

Alice Baxter: Uhm, Ms. McGill?
Tess McGill: Yes.
Alice Baxter: [pointing to private office] That's your desk... in there...
Tess McGill: I don't think so.
Alice Baxter: Oh, yes. I sit out here.
Tess McGill: Sorry, I thought the secretary would sit out here...
Alice Baxter: That's right, I'm the secretary. If you don't mind, I'd prefer assistant...Maybe now would be a good time to go over what you expect from me, Ms. McGill.
Tess McGill: I expect you to call me "Tess". I don't expect you to fetch me coffee, unless you're getting some for yourself...and we'll just make up the rest as we go along.


  • For anyone who's ever won. For anyone who's ever lost. And for everyone who's still in there trying.


Actor Role
Harrison Ford Jack Trainer
Sigourney Weaver Katharine Parker
Melanie Griffith Tess McGill
Alec Baldwin Mick Dugan
Joan Cusack Cynthia
Philip Bosco Oren Trask
Nora Dunn Ginny
Oliver Platt Lutz
James Lally Turkel
Kevin Spacey Bob Speck
Elizabeth Whitcraft Doreen DiMucci
Jeffrey Nordling Tim Rourke
Robert Easton Armbrister
Olympia Dukakis Personnel Director
Amy Aquino Alice Baxter
David Duchovny Tess' Birthday Party Friend
Timothy Carhart Tim Draper
Wikipedia has an article about: