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The Secret of My Succe$s


A talented young man can't get an executive position without rising through the ranks, so he comes up with a shortcut, which also benefits his love life.

Release Year: 1987

Rating: 6.2/10 (12,517 voted)

Herbert Ross

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Helen Slater, Richard Jordan

Brantley Foster, a well-educated kid from Kansas, has always dreamed of making it big in New York. On his first work day in New York, he is fired in a hostile take-over and learns that jobs – and girls – are hard to get. When Brantley visits his distant uncle, Howard Prescott, who runs a multi-million-dollar company, he is given a job in the company's mail room. Then Brantley meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives. Brantley sees how poorly the company is being run and decides to create a position under the name Carlton Whitfield, to influence and improve the company's operations. Soon things get unexpectedly out of hand, not in the least because of his aunt, his girl and leading a double life.

Writers: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.


Michael J. Fox

Brantley Foster
Carlton Whitfield

Helen Slater

Christy Wills

Richard Jordan

Howard Prescott

Margaret Whitton

Vera Prescott

John Pankow

Fred Melrose

Christopher Murney

Barney Rattigan

Gerry Bamman

Art Thomas

Fred Gwynne

Donald Davenport

Carol Ann Susi


(as Carol-Ann Susi)

Elizabeth Franz

Grace Foster

Drew Snyder

Burt Foster

Susan Kellermann


Barton Heyman

Arnold Forbush

Mercedes Ruehl


Ira Wheeler


(as Ira B. Wheeler)

There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks.

Release Date: 10 April 1987

Filming Locations: 101 Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Gross: $66,995,879

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Michael J. Fox was, at the time this movie was filmed, a heavy cigarette smoker. Evidence of this is noticeable when his character Brantley (a non-smoker) puts his feet up on the desk and reveals dozens of burn marks from extinguishing cigarettes with his shoe.


When the executives are jogging on the the roof, Mr. Prescott stops running to emphasize his concern of an impending hostile takeover. In the closeup, they are on the Northeast corner of the roof, ascertainable by the East River and Roosevelt Island behind them. In the immediate cut to the wide shot, they are standing on the Southwest corner.


Vera Prescott:
I'm going to introduce you to the most powerful money men in New York, and if you can do to them what you've done to me…

Brantley Foster:
I can't do that!

Vera Prescott:
I mean bowl them over, darling! You're irresistible when you turn on that boyish charm.

User Review

Typically eighties, but worth watching thanks to Michael J. Fox

Rating: 7/10

The eighties, the decade of ugly clothes and hairstyles, bad music and
easily forgettable movies. But there is one positive aspect about that
decade and that is Michael J. Fox. He's probably one of the few actors
who started his movie career at those days who I still admire. He's
still nice to watch, especially in light weighted comedies like this

In fact, the title "The Secret of My Succe$s" already says enough about
what you can expect from this movie (also notice the little dollar sign
in the title), but I'll give a short resume anyway. It shows how
Brantley Foster, a talented and well-educated young man coming from
rural Kansas, goes to New York to find a suiting job and a nice
girlfriend. But he isn't very successful, no company wants to hire him,
because he doesn't have any experience. Before leaving Kansas for the
Big Apple, his father had bought him a return ticket home and his
mother gave him the address of his in New York living uncle, Howard
Prescott, just in case when he should need some help. But what Foster
didn't know is that his uncle runs a multi-million-dollar company. When
he pays him a visit, he gets a job … in the mail room. But then he
meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives.
Believing that the best way to win her over is by posing as an
executive, Brantley decides to take a position under the name Carlton
Whitfield and of course things soon start to get completely out of

I admit that this movie is as 'eighties' as you can get them. I'm
pretty sure that no-one of todays directors would be able to make it
exactly the way it looks, because they don't write scripts like that
anymore and there are no more actors like Fox. The man that comes
closest for this kind of role is probably Jim Carrey, but even then you
would get a completely different kind of movie. It's probably thanks to
Michael J. Fox, who is really very nice in this movie, that I forgot
about most of its flaws. Once again he's the boyish, sweet guy and
that's probably the best thing this movie has to offer. If it hadn't
been for him, almost no-one would ever have seen the movie or would
still remember it because the story isn't special and it's too typical
for that time period.

All in all this is a fast-paced comedy full of typical eighties
clichés, but it works thanks to Michael J. Fox's performance and that's
why I still give it a 7/10.