47 user 31 critic

Norma Rae (1979)

PG | | Drama | 2 March 1979 (USA)
A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved.



(screenplay), (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the Deep South in the 1930s, a widow and her family try to run their cotton farm with the help of a disparate group of friends.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Emma is a divorced woman with a teen-aged son who moves into a small town and tries to make a go of a horse ranch. Murphy is the widowed town druggist who steers business her way. Things ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Sally Field, James Garner, Brian Kerwin
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban
Sybil (1976)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young woman whose childhood was so harrowing to her that she developed 16 different personalities.

Stars: Joanne Woodward, Sally Field, Brad Davis
Coming Home (1978)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman whose husband is fighting in Vietnam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern
Silkwood (1983)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship and welcome her into the fold.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field
Breaking Away (1979)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern
Sweet Dreams (1985)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jessica Lange stunningly portrays Patsy Cline, the velvet-voiced country music singer who died in a tragic plane crash at the height of her fame.

Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Jessica Lange, Ed Harris, Ann Wedgeworth
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Not until three years after the death of her husband Jolly, Kay dares to move back into their former home, persuaded by her new fiancé Rupert. But soon her worst expectations come true, ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Sally Field, James Caan, Jeff Bridges


Cast overview, first billed only:
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


Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes no shortage of contempt from her employers. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a woman with the courage to risk everything for what she believes is right. 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:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was the first of three pictures that Field made with director Martin Ritt. The others were Back Roads (1981) and Murphy's Romance (1985). 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 »


Reuben Warshowsky: Under the circumstances, best wishes hardly seem enough. Thanks are in order. Thank you for your companionship, for your stamina, your horse sense, and a hundred and one laughs. I also enjoyed looking at your shining hair and your shining face.
Norma Rae Webster: Reuben, I think you like me.
Reuben Warshowsky: I do.
Norma Rae Webster: I was gonna get you a tie clip or some shaving lotion, but I didn't know what you'd like.
Reuben Warshowsky: Norma, what I've had from you has been sumptuous.
See more »


Referenced in October Road: Best Friend Windows (2007) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An American classic
15 February 2006 | by (NH) – See all my reviews

The first time I saw this film was at an advance screening when I was a film student, and director Martin Ritt was there to speak and answer questions. I remember that he seemed like a very down-to-earth, nice guy. He patiently answered the students' questions and explained why the story attracted him. Maybe some of the affection I have for the film is because of that original positive experience, but I've probably seen it at least a dozen times and it hasn't worn thin.

Some people may find some of the characters and situations lacking in depth, but for me the movie is chiefly about Norma Rae's transformation as she becomes passionately devoted to unionizing the mill workers and, secondly, her interesting friendship with Reuben. It succeeds brilliantly on both counts, largely because of Sally Field's amazing performance. The scene where she stands on the table with the "union" sign is a classic, and it's Field's raw emotion that draws you in. Her fear and anger, and the power she feels when her coworkers show their support, are so apparent and so real that I'm always deeply moved.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sally Field's beauty was underrated runawaytrain-79
300+ voted against it. Why?? happy_accidents
My attempt at objectivity concerning unions Just_Opinions
UNION!!! thinkofthealternativ-1
Ending- Sonny vs. Reuben jwllover4080
Fantasy Remake HippieKid31
Discuss Norma Rae (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: