Nine to Five (9 to 5)

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Nine to Five (9 to 5) Movie Poster Image
Classic '80s comedy takes on sexual harassment.
  • PG
  • 1980
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though comic throughout, still message-driven. Encourages standing up for one's rights, refusing to be intimidated by sexual harassment, and fighting back against unfairness. Values teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship. Shows how a pleasant, safe, compassionate working environment increases productivity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Movie humorously fights stereotypes, emphasizes equality in workplace, and celebrates resourceful, smart women. Three women gain confidence and strength and exhibit their ability to make a difference. Chief villain is an unredeemable "unapologetic sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot." He sexually harasses workers, blackmails them, and treats them shabbily. Some ethnic diversity.


Three heroines create comic chaos for the villain. In either fantasy visions or in actual scenes, he is chased, shot at, lassoed and hog-tied, roasted on a spit over a fire, kidnapped, poisoned, held at gun point, catapulted out of a window, knocked unconscious. A funny sequence includes a mix-up of bodies, a careening gurney, and a car crashing into a dumpster. A shadowy figure briefly stalks a woman through a window at night. 


A sleazy, amoral boss sexually intimidates and harasses his secretary in many sequences: ogles her breasts, gropes and grabs her, blackmails her into coming to his house alone. The secretary turns the tables on him, using sexual threats to humiliate him. References to sexual affairs and infidelity.


Swearing, mild obscenities, insults, and slurs: "bulls--t," "crap," "goddammit," "bitch," "butt," "Christ," "ass," "fart," "s--t," "screwing," "pee," "piss off," "nice package," "banging the boss." Demeaning boss continually calls employees "his girls" and comments on their looks.


Rice Krispies, TWA, Hills Bros. coffee, Xerox.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking. One female employee sips from a flask and is portrayed as a drunk in several scenes. With comic intent, the three heroines obtain a marijuana cigarette from a teen and spend an evening laughing hilariously, eating ravenously, and bonding. Occasional cigarette and cigar smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NINE TO FIVE (aka 9 TO 5) is a funny revenge story about three female office workers who take on their arrogant, sexist boss. Slapstick cartoon action (car chases, a corpse mix-up, a kidnapping, hog-tying, gunfire) moves the plot from one outrageous situation to another, all obviously make-believe with no injuries or deaths. Fighting sexual harassment in the workplace is the core story line, and with it comes sleazy seduction attempts and threats, breast ogling, references to infidelity, and a man who has no respect for the women who work for him. Language is salty throughout, including "s--t," "bastard," "ass," "screwing," "butt," "pee," "goddamn," "banging the boss," and "bitch." The blowhard male constantly demeans the women, leering and calling them "girls," "pretty face," and "nice package." There is some social drinking, and one female employee is portrayed as habitually drunk. A lengthy scene finds the three leading ladies sharing a marijuana cigarette; they eat, laugh hysterically, and bond. Given the subject matter and the situations, this movie is best for teens.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 and 12-year-old Written bySpace Kitty February 19, 2019

Slapstick-Humored Movie Tackles Important Issues

I showed my mature 12-year-old twins and 14-year-old this movie. There are quit a few liberal uses of s**t, a**, bastard, goda*n. Young kids might not understa... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 9, 2019

In the moment comedy

I recently watched this, and I admit I was a bit stressed in the hospital scene. They do a lot of illegal stuff that you should never copy, and make sure your k... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysususidra July 16, 2016

Hilarious and Inspiring

This movie is hilarious! And it is great to watch if you want something on women empowerment. Three girls team up against their sleazy, misogynist boss to bette... Continue reading

What's the story?

Consolidated Industries is a terrible place to work in NINE TO FIVE. Franklin M. Hart, Jr. (Dabney Coleman) is a nightmare masquerading as a boss. Sexually harassing Doralee (Dolly Parton), his voluptuous, upright secretary; stealing ideas and credit from Violet (Lily Tomlin), the smartest woman in the office; and setting down rigid rules and ridiculous regulations for an entire staff filled with women who desperately need their jobs, the no-nothing Mr. Hart has all the power in the world ... plus a stoolie (Elizabeth Wilson) to spy on everyone. That's what Judy Bernly (Jane Fonda), a sweet, innocent divorcée, finds on her first day on the job. It must be serendipity that Judy's presence and a night of hilarious, marijuana-fueled fantasizing about what all three might do to get even with their shameless employer sets a devilish plot in motion. In classical farce mode, which involves poisoning, kidnapping, an errant corpse, and making extravagant changes to the office status quo, Doralee, Violet, and Judy want nothing less than payback on a monumental scale.

Is it any good?

The movie is outrageous and silly -- but oh, how satisfyingly to-the-point. When it was released in 1980, this farcical tale struck a chord with audiences in early stage awareness of office misbehavior of the sexual kind. Making fun of longstanding indignities and sexual blackmail heightened both consciousness and consciences. The actors, including the vanity-free Dabney Coleman, go all out, doubling down on the quirky characters and wacky situations. Decades later, it's still funny, miraculously off the wall, and relevant. Well-paced and directed with gusto, for the most part, it can be forgiven for a little sluggishness as the story winds down to a satisfying ending.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ongoing issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Since this film was released in 1980, how much has changed in both awareness and action? What resources do employees now have to help them?

  • Movies often inspire cultural and social change. Can comic movies such as this one be a part of this process? How does laughing at questionable behavior help alter our perceptions?

  • What is a "character arc"? Which of the three heroines has the most vivid and life-changing character arc? How do the filmmakers show this progression?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classic tales

Themes & Topics

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