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10 Must-See Movies About Working in America

Posted On04/24/2020

ContributorSheri Pepper

How we work, why we work, can we work … ? These questions have new meaning in light of coronavirus and shelter-in-place restrictions. Many people are working longer hours than before, while others find their work days turned upside down with less or even no work.

But no matter what our work situation, it seems that across the board, many, many Americans are watching their screen of choice.

So here’s a short list of great movies that focus on work life in America. There are of course countless other standout films on the same topic, but if you haven’t seen these memorable ones, they’re worth a look. Thanks to Google for the movie descriptions and thumbs-up ratings. Happy movie watching!

Cinderella Man

PG-13 ‧ 2005 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 25m ‧ Google users: 92% liked this movie
During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).

The Devil Wears Prada

PG-13  ‧ 2006 ‧ Comedy/Comedy-drama ‧ 1h ‧ Google users: 93% liked this movie
Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she finds herself the assistant to diabolical editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andy questions her ability to survive her grim tour as Miranda’s whipping girl without getting scorched.

Glengarry Glen Ross

R ‧ 1992 ‧ Drama/Adaptation ‧ 1h 40m ‧ Google users: 82% liked this movie
When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.

The Internship

PG-13 ‧ 2013 ‧ Comedy ‧ 1h 59m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
After old-school salesmen Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) find themselves downsized, Billy decides that, despite their complete lack of technological savvy, they should work for Google. The friends somehow manage to finagle internships at the Internet giant and promptly head out to Silicon Valley. Viewed with disdain by most of their fellow interns, Billy and Nick join forces with the rest of the misfit “nooglers” to make it through a series of competitive team challenges

Jerry Maguire

R 1996 Romance/Sport 2h 19m Google users: 90% liked this movie
When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that promptly gets him fired. Desperate to hang on to the athletes that he represents, Jerry starts his own management firm, with only single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) joining him in his new venture. Banking on their sole client, football player Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Jerry and Dorothy begin to fall in love as they struggle to make their business work.


PG-13 ‧ 2011 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 13m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A’s, one day has an epiphany: Baseball’s conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labeled as flawed, but have game-winning potential. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.

Pursuit of Happyness

PG-13 ‧ 2006 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 57m ‧ Google users: 95% liked this movie

Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

Tommy Boy

PG-13 1995 Comedy/Buddy  ‧ 1h 37m  Google users: 89% liked this movie

After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky, Ohio. His brand new stepmother, Beverly (Bo Derek), wants to cash out and close, but Tommy’s sentimental attachment to his father’s employees spurs him to make one last-ditch effort to find someone who will buy their products. With his father’s tightly wound assistant, Richard (David Spade), in tow, Tommy hits the road to scare up some new clients.

Up In the Air

R 2009 Drama/Comedy-drama 1h 49m Google users: 84% liked this movie

An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), so he takes her on a tour to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings with those they must fire. While mentoring his colleague, he arranges hookups with another frequent-flier (Vera Farmiga), and his developing feelings for the woman prompt him to see others in a new light.

Working Girl

R ‧ 1988 ‧ Romance/Drama ‧ 1h 56m ‧ 85% liked this movie

Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business tip, but Katharine simply steals the idea without giving due credit to her secretary. After Katharine winds up in the hospital with an injured leg, Tess decides to exact revenge. Pretending to be her boss, Tess initiates a major deal with an investment broker (Harrison Ford) — but things turn ugly after Katharine finds out what Tess has been up to.

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