Up 32,094 this week

Salt of the Earth (1954)

 -  Drama | History  -  14 March 1954 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,806 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 19 critic

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo ... See full summary »


0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 21 Dec 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 30 Jan 2013
a list of 41 titles
created 03 Jul 2013
list image
a list of 42 titles
created 08 Jul 2013
a list of 24 titles
created 3 days ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Salt of the Earth (1954)

Salt of the Earth (1954) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Salt of the Earth.

User Polls

3 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

When allied troops liberate a small battle-scarred Belgium town in 1944 the American and British commanders do all they can to help the war-weary people back on their feet. There are mental... See full summary »

Director: Herbert J. Biberman
Stars: George Coulouris, Stanley Ridges, Osa Massen
Slaves (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A Kentucky slave fights for his freedom from cruel overseer whose mistress eventually joins Davis and the other slaves in their revolt.

Director: Herbert J. Biberman
Stars: Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis, Stephen Boyd
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee
Silver Lode (1954)
Film-Noir | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Ned McCarthy, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard ... See full summary »

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Payne, Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea
New Orleans (1947)
Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

New Orleans - with Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Woody Herman

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Arturo de Córdova, Dorothy Patrick, Marjorie Lord
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Billy has lost something Andre wants back badly! He is then given the ultimatum,find it or meet his maker. Luckily ,Billy's taste in women will not only put him in, but also drag him out, of this big mess.

Directors: Bobby Gwin, Henry Stephens
Stars: Hayam Dk, Bobby Gwin, Andre L. Maingot
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of ... See full summary »

Director: Lizzie Borden
Stars: Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A proud black man and his school-teacher wife face discriminatory challenges in 1960s America.

Director: Michael Roemer
Stars: Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln, Julius Harris
Senso (1954)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A troubled and neurotic Italian Countess betrays her entire country for a self-destructive love affair with an Austrian Lieutenant.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Farley Granger, Alida Valli, Heinz Moog
Documentary | Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: John Berry
Stars: J. Parnell Thomas, Albert Maltz, Lester Cole
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Children are saving lives in the slums of Kolkata. Amlan Ganguly doesn't rescue slum children; he empowers them to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their ... See full summary »

Directors: Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham
Stars: Amlan Ganguly, Kajal Kahar, Priyanka Mandal


Cast overview, first billed only:
David Wolfe ...
Mervin Williams ...
David Sarvis ...
Rosaura Revueltas ...
Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell ...
William Rockwell ...
Juan Chacón ...
Ramon Quintero (as Juan Chacon)
Henrietta Williams ...
Teresa Vidal
Ángela Sánchez ...
Consuelo Ruiz (as Angela Sanchez)
Clorinda Alderette ...
Luz Morales
Virginia Jencks ...
Ruth Barnes
Clinton Jencks ...
Frank Barnes
Joe T. Morales ...
Sal Ruiz
Ernesto Velázquez ...
Charley Vidal (as Ernest Velasquez)


Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. The film is an early treatment of feminism, because the wives of the miners play a pivotal role in the strike, against their husbands wishes. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. This film was written, directed and produced by members of the original "Hollywood Ten," who were blacklisted for refusing to answer Congressional inquiries on First Amendment grounds. Written by Bob Shields <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Banned! The film the US government didn't want you to see! See more »


Drama | History


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1992. See more »


When Ramon is in the bar, his hands change position several times between shots. See more »


Esperanza Quintero: Whose neck shall I stand on to make me feel superior, and what will I have out of it? I don't want anything lower than I am. I am low enough already. I want to rise and to push everything up with me as I go.
See more »


Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »


We Shall Not be Moved
Sung by the women on the picket line
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

17 May 2000 | by (little hintock, england) – See all my reviews

There are times when it's important to throw away your formalist baggage and celebrate a film for what it is. SALT OF THE EARTH is so inspirational, so brave, so winning, yet so forthright and angry, that you forgive it any faults. The period from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s is the darkest in American history, the closest the country has ever come to fascism. In the name of 'America', panic was spread throughout the country not unlike the early years of Nazi Germany, where communists, liberals and general non-cowards were smeared and demonised. Of course, there were no concentration camps, but many lives and careers wre ruined, people forced abroad for succour and their livelihood, lies became truths, all with the collusion of Hollywood and the media. Anything not fitting a narrow, conformist, terrified social desire was deemed 'UnAmerican', a gross, Orwellian perversion of the term.

Most filmmakers went along with this state of affairs, some prosecuting, others dobbing in their former friends and colleagues. Any director wanting to be critical - eg Sirk, Ray - had to do so covertly, sublimating their protest through genre, form or allegory. What is so heartening and jolting about this film is that it dares to say out loud what it means. This is not surprising, as all the key crew members had been blacklisted and director Biberman had served six months for not cooperating with the HUAC. It is not negative, but celebratory. It is, as the dedication implies, a most American film, a light of liberty in a very unAmerican darkness. Of course it was banned, the production undermined by the government, the FBI and local vigilantes, while Rosaura Revueltas, the Mexican actress in the lead, was repatriated, never to work again.

SALT OF THE EARTH tells the story of Esperanza (hope), a poor New-Mexican housewife living in impoverished, insanitary conditons, whose husband Ramon works in salt mines once owned by her grandfather, now exploited by vicious American capitalists. Conditions in the mines are appalling, and after a fatality due to deliberately lousy safety measures, the men go on a strike which stretches out for months, intimidating incoming scabs. When the corrupt sheriff slaps a court order on them, their wives take up striking duty.

Of course, the film is a riposte not only to latterday 'America' but also the Hollywood that served it. Demonised as red propaganda, it is anything but - propaganda is an attempt by the ruling class to brainwash its subjects through lies and false promises; this beautiful film is a statement from an embattled peoples with no voice in the mainstream media. This film breaks all the rules (for once one can say this and actually believe it!). Its subject matter is work, the working classes, the right to work. It features no Hollywood stars (indeed, many of the actors, as in an Italian neo-realism film, are locals), no racist melting pot aspirations, but genuine ethnic people with their own culture and customs. In a reversal of current Hollywood practice, it is the white man who is marginalised and demonised.

What is remarkable about the film, which is essentially a plea for help, is how politically sophisticated it is. It would have been perfectly understandable for the filmmakers to simplify their message in the current political climate, but they hearteningly refuse to do so. Although the fascist mine-owners and lawmen are clearly villains, the film explores the tensions within the very patriarchal New-Mexican community itself. The union links workers' rights with racial equality, but the men do not extend this to women. But this is the story of a woman, a meek housewife who is transformed into an active worker, a full woman, someone with a voice and a very powerful role in society. Like a Hollywood film, SALT does dramatise its social subject matter around one main couple, but this crystallises, rather than dilutes, the issues. The men see the increasing power of the women as further humiliation of their power, but divided by gender the New-Mexicans have no power, they are despondent, starving, at the mercy of sadistic capitalists. Together they have extraordinary power, culminating in the remarkable evicition scene, a rare celebration of group power in the American cinema - one of that cinema's most powerful scenes.

Esperanza moves from a position of having no voice in society, no public arena like the men in which to speak, indeed barely a space in her own home, where her dreams and desires are transferred to a radio playing other people's songs; to a political activist, someone who does not limit her life to housework and children, indeed demands her husband does his share, and this is represented by her narration, her power to tell and control a story, to speak authoratively for a people, to translate for us their language.

The 'emasculation' of the men provides the film with some of its funniest scenes, but there is a darker side to New-Mexican masculinity - the implied wife-beating, for example. In one of the most heartbreaking sequences, despondantly humiliated, they see a magazine picture of their enemy about to go out hunting, 'a man of distinction', and they decide to imitate him, erasing themselves, their pride and responsibilities. It is their lowest ebb.

Like I say, the film has its flaws. There is a naivete to the neo-realist model that allows for a proto-hippy idealism that is not always convincing. The strongly political form of the film sometimes slips into the drama, making certain scenes seem didactic and unreal. Sometimes you wonder what a Bunuel might have done with the material. But this is an honorable treasure in the American cinema, which should always be shown to remind us that we do not always have to cow to tyranny.

29 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I was there when this movie was filmed baboquivri
An essay on the making of the film, by one of the actors: hezmodo
DVD of movie available for free download akb-4
Movie on how S of the E was made eddiehan
My father and great-uncle were the miner's attorneys ghann76
the professional cast jstever
Discuss Salt of the Earth (1954) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: