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A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.

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Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Matthew Aubrey ...
Brian (as Matt Aubrey)
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George (as Roger Lloyd-Pack)
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Storyline

In 1968, the Ford auto factory in Dagenham was one of the largest single private employers in the United Kingdom. In addition to the thousands of male employees, there are also 187 underpaid women machinists who primarily assemble the car seat upholstery in poor working conditions. Dissatisfied, the women, represented by the shop steward and Rita O'Grady, work with union rep Albert Passingham for a better deal. However, Rita learns that there is a larger issue in this dispute considering that women are paid an appalling fraction of the men's wages for the same work across the board on the sole basis of their sex. Refusing to tolerate this inequality any longer, O'Grady leads a strike by her fellow machinists for equal pay for equal work. What follows would test the patience of all involved in a grinding labour and political struggle that ultimately would advance the cause of women's rights around the world. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Dagenham, England, 1968. An ordinary woman fights for equal pay and achieves something extraordinary. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 September 2010 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

We Want Sex  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£674,059 (UK) (1 October 2010)

Gross:

$1,094,798 (USA) (8 April 2011)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sandie Shaw who sang the film's title song used to work as a punched-card operator in the Ford plant at Dagenham several years before the events depicted in the film. See more »

Goofs

Barbara Castle in the film berates her two male assistants, calling them 'chauvinistic', but feminists did not routinely call men 'male chauvinist pigs' until after the publication of Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch in 1970. See more »

Quotes

Lisa Hopkins: I'm Lisa Burnett, I'm 31 years old and I have a first class honours degree from one of the finest universities in the world, and my husband treats me like I'm a fool.
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Crazy Credits

Captions in the closing credits: "Two years later in May 1970 the Equal Pay Act became law. Similar legislation quickly followed in most industrial countries across the world. Ford Motor Company Limited went on to effect changes in its employment practices and is now used as an example of a good practice employer." See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 20 September 2010 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

BBC Radio 1 Jingle
Written and Performed by PAMS
Courtesy of Jonathan Wolfert
Under license from JAM Creative Productions, Inc
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User Reviews

 
Girl Power – union style
22 September 2010 | by (London) – See all my reviews

From the director NIGEL COLE (Calendar Girls, Saving Grace), MADE IN DAGENHAM tells the tale of the 187 women that worked at the Ford Motor companies Dagenham factory - and their struggle to earn equal rights and pay with the 55,000 male workers at the factory.

Set in 1968, the economy was used to frequent union uprisings and strikes – but this was the first time that it was the women upholsterers who sewed car seat covers that took the initiative … after being "down-graded" to a non-skilled status – the women rose as one to walk out, in an action that brought them into direct conflict with the management, their own unions and their own husbands … eventually brought the Ford motor company to it's knees

Many laughed at the women's actions … until their strength of feeling … and reality set in … forcing the unions and the management to take increasingly desperate measures to get the women back to work … as factory production ground to a halt.

Rita O'Grady (played admirably by SALLY HAWKINS), a shy, pleasant worker working in sweat shop conditions, found her voice when asked to stand up for the women's views, and gradually became more and more empowered as the rest of the women stood behind her in a crusade that became synonymous with equal rights

The story climax's nicely in an emotional showdown, as the situation finally comes to a head and the chief participants (Ford, the Government, the Women, the unions and the men workers) all realise that things have gone too far … and none of them can back down.

As well as Sally Hawkins, there are some strong performances by other members of the cast – specifically, Bob Hoskins as Albert, Miranda Richardson as an exuberant Barbra Castle, the lovely Rosamund Pike as Lisa, Geraldine James as Connie, Kenneth Cranham as Monty (Unions) and Richard Schiff as Robert Tooley (Ford).

The music, costumes and the locations set up the tone of the times nicely, and the direction is solid throughout. The camera work is able, and is interspersed with footage from the actual era giving it more gravitas.

In a phrase, it's … "Girl Power – union style"


43 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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