50 user 53 critic

Bread and Roses (2000)

Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize.




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5 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pilar Padilla ...
Sam Shapiro
Monica Rivas ...
Frankie Davila ...
Luis (as Frank Davila)
Mayron Payes ...
Maria Orellana ...
Melody Garrett ...
Gigi Jackman ...
Beverly Reynolds ...
Juan (as Eloy Mendez)
Elena Antonenko ...
Olga Gorelik ...


Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers' union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she's also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Balance Of Power Is About To Change.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | | |



Release Date:

25 October 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Bread & Roses  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£37,890 (UK) (4 May 2001)


$525,738 (USA) (6 July 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Adrien Brody signed on without a script, because he trusted the director Ken Loach. See more »


[last lines]
Maya: Take care. Take good care of yourself. I love you.
See more »


Referenced in S.P.U.N.G: Bara man vill så går det (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant, emotional film.
21 October 2002 | by (London) – See all my reviews

I have a deep sympathy & connection with this movie, because two of my dearest friends were Spanish-speaking cleaners in the UK (although completely legally). Now - through ridiculously hard work and frugal living

  • they are bilingual, educated, skilled, and making a decent life back in

their home country, where I hope to visit them one day.

As such, I can tell you that this film is so true-to-life it brought tears to my eyes. It also has moments of laughter and comedy, and an extremely important message to anyone working for low wages and low respect, and an equally important kick up the backside to people like me who never think we're paid enough, and forget about the 'invisible' people earning half our wages for doing twice the workload.

The actors (many of them cleaners in real life) are never less than excellent, and you have no trouble believing every scene. I encourage anyone to watch this movie, as it has an almost Shawshank-like feelgood factor, but is much more poignant and relevant than even that great film.

The additional programme on the DVD is not as informative as I expected (being more 'fly-on-the-wall' than documentary), but still packs a powerful emotional punch, and really adds to your appreciation of the reality behind the movie.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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