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Norma Rae is a southern textile worker employed in a factory with intolerable working conditions. This concern about the situation gives her the gumption to be the key associate to a visiting labor union organizer. Together, they undertake the difficult, and possibly dangerous, struggle to unionize her factory. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie is based on a true life union organizing campaign at J.P. Stevens Mill in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. The real life Norma Rae is named Crystal Lee Sutton. The union organizer, Reuben Warshowsky, is based on Eli Zivkovich. (In real life, Zivkovich was a 55-year-old former West Virginia coal miner, not a New Yorker, as depicted in the film.) In 1974, thanks to the efforts of Crystal Lee Sutton and Eli Zivkovich, workers at J.P. Stevens Mill voted to join the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. However, it still took 10 years to get a union contract at J.P. Stevens after the workers won the election. Some real-life events from Crystal Lee Sutton's story are re-created verbatim in the movie, including the famous scene where Norma Rae holds up the "UNION" sign and the plant workers shut down their machines, and the following scene where Norma Rae wakes her children to tell them about her relationships with their fathers. Crystal Lee Sutton did both in real life. See more »
In the scene in Reuben's hotel room after Norma Rae has been hit, you see her take the ice pack away from her nose. The shot changes and she takes it away a second time. See more »
Typical under-dog story that is so well-made that its success makes for a very memorable cinematic experience. The titled character (Sally Field in a super Oscar-winning part) tries to get her fellow textile workers to unionize in her small town, but there are consequences abound. A good supporting cast which includes Ron Leibman, Pat Hingle and Beau Bridges all add to Field's show-stopping performance. Field proved that she could handle delicate material and carry a film to cinematic history. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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