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Monday, September 3, 2012

Observing The Workplace — On The Big Screen

Colin Farrell, left, and Jason Sudeikis are shown in a scene from “Horrible Bosses.” (AP/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Over the years, the workplace has been a rich source of material for filmmakers.

As Steven Zeitchik, who covers the art and business of film for the Los Angeles Times, tells Here & Now‘s Sacha Pfeiffer, “Everything from sexual harassment, to workplace mores, to insufficient pay to all sorts of issues that we deal with in the workplace have all been reflected and refracted in the movies that we see about it.”

Moreover, Zietchik says that watching films like “Office Space” can be a cathartic because it depicts a common experience that many have been through.

“There’s something so…recognizable and I think even therapeutic about it,” Zeitchik said.

Workplace-Themed Films

  • Modern Times” (1936) – The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (YouTube: Trailer)
  • Working Girl” (1988) – When a secretary’s idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss’s job.
  • 9 to 5” (1980) – Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross,” (1992)
  • Wall Street,” (1987)
  • Clerks” (1994) – A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof
  • Reality Bites,” (1994)
  • Office Space,” (1999) – Comedic tale of company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss (YouTube: Trailer
  • “Horrible Bosses”
  • “Up in the Air”
  • “Norma Rae”
  • “North Country”
  • “The Full Monty”
  • “Horrible Bosses” Here & Now Interview with Director Seth Gordon
  • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Up in the Air


  • Steven Zeitchik, staff writer, Los Angeles Times

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