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21 of the Best Movies About Capitalism and American Labor

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“I’ve killed the boss, you think they won’t fire me for that?” — Lily Tomlin in 9 to 5

About: Women in the white-collar workforce.

There are themes here that resonate with anyone who’s ever worked in a corporate office, but this movie is specifically about women in the working world. Back in 1980, Women were just beginning to make progress in gaining leadership positions. Forty years later, there’s been less progress than you might expect.

Despite being a majority of the workforce and being generally overeducated compared to their male counterparts, women continue to lag behind. There are a few different ways to crunch the numbers, but the number of Fortune 500 companies without male CEOs is somewhere around 8%, which is an all-time high.

Here, the struggle of competent women in the workforce is illustrated in a wild, fantasy farce: Three workers (Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin) at Consolidated Companies are all struggling to earn the respect that’s easily attained by their male co-workers, when one believes that she’s accidentally poisoned the boss, a sexist, egotistical, hypocritical bigot played by Dabney Coleman. Hiding him away to cover up the crime, the three wind up taking over the company and running things as though they’re just relaying orders. The movie also deals with the ways women are often set against each other by male bosses. Parton’s related theme album, 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, includes several protest songs related to the history of the labor movement.

Where to stream: HBO Max

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