Norma Rae (1979)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  2 March 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,204 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 31 critic

A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Baxley ...
Bonnie Mae
Wayne Billings
Robert Broyles ...
Sam Bolen
John Calvin ...
Ellis Harper
Booth Colman ...
Dr. Watson
Lujan (as Lee DeBroux)
James Luisi ...
George Benson
Vernon Weddle ...
Reverend Hubbard
Gilbert Green ...
Al Landon
Lucius White


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If you haven't seen Norma Rae then you're missing... See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Norma Rae - Eine Frau steht ihren Mann  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 1,617,267 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many extras in the film were students from Auburn University, eight miles from Opelika, Alabama. See more »


When Beau Bridges and Sally Fields characters are on their first date Beau's hair is parted in the middle. When they leave the bar with the union guy Beau's hair is parted on the far right. It never appears that way again. See more »


Norma Rae: Forget it! I'm stayin' right where I am. It's gonna take you and the police department and the fire department and the National Guard to get me outta here!
See more »


Referenced in Lost: S.O.S. (2006) See more »


It Goes Like It Goes
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Sung by Jennifer Warnes
Courtesy Arista Records
See more »

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User Reviews

More than one actress's tour-de-force, an indelible and moving human story
17 November 2001 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

In trying to get the textile mill she and her family work for unionized, Sally Field's Norma Rae Webster also tries to earn self-respect at any cost. She's been leading a dead-end existence: a single mother, still living with her family, sleeping with married men who abuse her. But after being inspired by a union-organizer (Ron Liebman, in an Oscar-worthy supporting performance), Norma Rae is awakened to the possibilities of life, and, what's more, everything that is wrong with the mill that seems to suck the energy and hope from those who stand there day after day trying to earn an honest dollar. There are problems with the picture: Beau Bridges' role as new husband Sonny is treated in a trivial manner (he's supposed to be a voice of reason, but he's too smooth, maybe condescending, and it's an unconvincing character); Oscar-winner Field's fiestiness occasionally feels overdrawn and/or one-note, but in many of the scenes outside the factory she does indeed excel, seeming vibrantly natural and exuberant. Martin Ritt's direction is focused and firmly rooted (he never sugarcoats Norma Rae's character, and sometimes she's not that likable) and the script manages to sidestep preachiness to get its points across entertainingly. The art direction is really the second star of the film: vivid, palpably hot and sweaty, with bits of cotton floating about in the air. The mill in question becomes very familiar to us, as do the people who work there. "Norma Rae" is involved and long, yet it is memorably bittersweet, and with a simple, haunting finish. *** from ****

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