Network: Mad as Hell
Call it the Citizen Kane of on-the-job rage explosion scenes: Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch, who won a posthumous Academy Award for his performance) is in danger of losing his news anchor job due to poor ratings. So he goes on a tirade, which ironically boosts the show’s ratings. Not a tactic we’d recommend, but entertaining as hell to watch.
American Beauty: Just An Ordinary Guy Blackmailing His Boss
Kevin Spacey spends his days in American Beauty hiding his contempt for his boss by retreating to the restroom to masturbate and fantasize about not being in workplace-hell. His options were quit his job or become a firebomber...or blackmail.
Erin Brockovich: Fighting the Good Fight
Julia Roberts snagged an Oscar for her portrayal of a feisty legal file clerk who uncovers an industrial poisoning coverup. This scene shows the best kind of on-the-job meltdown: one that gets a life-changing settlement for the victims of the evil corporation.
Bridget Jones: Leaving Him Speechless
Sure, it was a mistake for Bridget to shag her boss. But it was an even worse mistake for him to cross her. In this fantastic scene, Bridget quits with humor and dignity and even gets in a great one-liner about wiping Saddam Hussein’s bum.
Scarface: Tony Changes Careers
Tony Montana wasn't a dishwasher for long. This scene from the 1983 film isn't as famous as the ones involving mountains of cocaine or the spray of bullets—but it's a juicy one if you've ever worked in a kitchen.
Jerry Maguire: Swim Away With Me
Tom Cruise does a great job assuring his former co-workers that he's not going to flip out in this scene from Jerry Maguire. That is, until he starts lecturing them on their manners. Looks like the only thing ready to come with him in this "real" moment is a fish named Flipper.
Office Space: A Flair for Quitting
Probably the best movie to tackle the ennui of working life, Office Space also gave us one of the best quitting scenes. Watch as Jennifer Aniston’s Joanna finally manages to express herself, and not through the tacky “flair” buttons her boss makes her wear.
Half Baked: Would You Like Expletives With That?
Score one for those laboring in the food-service industry. In the ultimate quitting scene from Half Baked, Scarface tells it like it is to his shift mates in a fast-food joint. Be forewarned, the language is strong but undeniably clear.
Fight Club: A Guide to Extorting the Man
It’s one thing to tell your boss to go to hell. It’s quite another to blackmail him, throw yourself into a glass bookshelf, and leave with a year’s salary and a bloody nose. That’s what we call leaving in style.