6 Films That Feature The Office As Supporting Actor

Jan 21, 2015

Credit Michael Lokner via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7kYSTb

The workplace/office has long been the source of gripes at the dinner table, but it is also a mainstay in Hollywood as an obstacle for movie characters to overcome or endure. The movie Office Space is an obvious example of an office playing an essential supporting role--or even the lead role--in a movie, so we didn't include it in the list. There are plenty more that didn't make the cut. Have a favorite? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Joe Versus the Volcano | 1990

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan establish their now famous on-screen chemistry in an office that no one would ever want to work in. This is a bizarre, and in my opinion, underrated 90s classic.

Favorite/Most Hated Quote: "I am not arguing that with you."

Brazil | 1985

Terri Gilliam's sci-fi classic imagines a dystopian retro-future where the office is a mind numbing nightmare of bureaucracy.

Favorite Quote: "You can't borrow anymore chairs! There's only one left and I need that one to sit on!"

Playtime | 1967

Monsieur Hulot is looking for an American in Paris and gets lost in a dizzying maze of beautiful modern architecture. The office is less a villain here, and more of an obstacle. I've never seen this film, but I so appreciate the mid-century modern aesthetic.

Wanted | 2008

Wesley (James McAvoy) has a long anticipated meltdown in the office and then joins Angelina Jolie as a mercenary assassin. Clip is NSFW for language. Note the nice homage to the red Swingline stapler from Office Space.

Being John Malkovich | 1999

An aspiring puppeteer, Craig (John Cusack), lands a soul crushing filing job with J.M. Inc. which is located on the  floor 7 1/2 of an office building. Once there, he discovers a portal to a very strange place and starts a side job charging people for the experience. I saw John Malkovich in a restaurant in Cambridge about 10 years ago and I couldn't help but wonder if there was another person staring back at me behind those eyes.

Defending Your Life | 1991

When Daniel (Albert Brooks) is killed by a bus, he is transported not to heaven or hell but to a kind of purgatory while he waits to defend the actions of his life. It seems only fitting that he meets with Bob Diamond (Rip Torn) to discuss his 'case' in a nondescript office building. Purgatory indeed. I highly recommend this movie for several reasons: Albert Brooks is hilarious, Rip Torn is a delight, Meryl Streep, and the "Past Lives Pavillion."