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Norma Rae (1979)

 -  Drama  -  31 May 1979 (Spain)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6,130 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 28 critic

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

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Title: Norma Rae (1979)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sonny
...
...
Barbara Baxley ...
Leona
...
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
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Storyline

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 <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Academy Award Winner SALLY FIELD Best Actress 1979 See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 May 1979 (Spain)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,617,267 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Norma Rae's married name, Webster, means "weaver of cloth." See more »

Goofs

When Norma's father suffers a heart attack on the job, we see him as the first symptoms start until he collapses onto the textile mills floor. The problem here is that as he enters the first stages of his coronary, he grasps his RIGHT arm rather than his left. Anatomically, the nerve conduction with regards to a cardiac event, target the left arm - except in cases of extremely rare congenital abnormality (i.e. dextrocardia). See more »

Quotes

Reuben Warshowsky: Gentlemen, your average working man is not stupid. He just gets tired.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who's the Boss?: Housekeepers Unite (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

It's All Wrong, But It's All Right
(1978) (uncredited)
Written and Performed by Dolly Parton
Courtesy RCA/Victor Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Film that Stereotyped an Industry Broke the Stereotype of an Actress
19 May 2005 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

Although based on real events and a real person, "Norma Rae's" tale of corporate greed versus oppressed workers has been fictionalized for reasons of privacy. However, fictionalized or not, "Norma Rae's" power and influence continue since the U.S. textile industry has forever been branded in the minds of Americans as an outmoded industrial complex, whose windowless mills are filled with the deafening noise of hand-tended machines that are layered with cotton fibers and whose workers breathe in and permanently damage their lungs with stale air that is filled with cotton dust. Although those conditions certainly did exist, they no longer occur in that industry today. However, despite the modernization of textile manufacturing in the U.S. over the past couple decades, the image of the noisy, dusty mill that is depicted in the film remains as the general perception of a textile operation. Unfortunately, while modern textile mills are free of cotton dust and the noise levels have been reduced to the low hum of computers, textile workers like Norma Rae and the others portrayed in this film have also been replaced with robotics, lasers, and a few highly skilled technicians to monitor the computerized operations. While the unionization depicted in the film successfully raised wages and increased benefits, eventually those higher costs led to efforts to cut expenses through mechanization.

However, despite the demonizing of an industry, the film retains its power, and the story of Norma Rae's personal growth as a woman is probably even more memorable than the efforts to unionize one Southern textile mill. Sally Field inhabits the role of an unwed Southern mill worker with two children, and, as the film progresses, she slowly evolves from an aimless girl, who is used and abused by men, whether they be lovers or employers, into a mature woman who finds a depth and strength that helps her take control of her life and find the confidence to lead. Television viewers who only knew Field as the Flying Nun were surprised at her range and depth, although those who had taken the time to watch the television movie "Sybil" already suspected the breadth of her talent.

While Sally Field finally shed her Gidget and Flying Nun image with this film and certainly is the emotional core of the movie, she is well supported by a cast of pros, especially the two most important men in her life. Unfortunately, because Field is so outstanding, viewers will likely need a second viewing to appreciate just how good both Ron Leibman and Beau Bridges are in "Norma Rae." Ron Leibman as the assertive union organizer from New York is the man who awakens Norma's intellect and propels her into uncharted territory as a woman. Meanwhile, Beau Bridges as Norma Rae's gentle, understanding husband stands by his woman despite his not completely comprehending or appreciating the changes that are underway in his wife's character.

"Norma Rae" is an outstanding film, well directed by Martin Ritt, beautifully written by Frank and Ravetch, and performed with heart by Field, Leibman, and Bridges. Although the movie has probably stained the image of the U.S. textile industry for good, "Norma Rae" also established Sally Field as an actress of the first order and remains an engrossing human story of a woman's growth into maturity and her discovery of previously unrealized potential within herself.


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