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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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matthew Aubrey ...
Brian (as Matt Aubrey)
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George (as Roger Lloyd-Pack)
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Karen Seacombe ...
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Sian Scott ...
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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

Taglines:

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  »

Filming Locations:

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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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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

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

When they are returning home from the party, a modern CCTV camera can be seen atop a large pole. See more »

Quotes

Eddie O'Grady: Christ, I like a drink, but I ain't out on the beer every night or screwin' other women, or... 'Ere, I've never once raised me hand to you. Ever. Or the kids.
Rita O'Grady: Christ.
Eddie O'Grady: What? Why are you looking like that?
Rita O'Grady: Right. You're a saint now, is that what you're tellin' me, Eddie? You're a bleedin' saint? 'Cause you give us an even break?
Eddie O'Grady: What are you saying?
Rita O'Grady: That is as it should be. Jesus, Eddie! What do you think this strike's all been about, eh? Oh yeah. Actually you're right. You don't go on the drink,...
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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 Great Movie Mistakes III: Not in 3D (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tiger
Written by Brian Auger (as Auger, Brian Albert Gordon) / Sutton, Roger J
Performed by Brian Auger
Published by Universal / Dick James Music Ltd
Licensed courtesy of Fresh Fruit, a division of MiG Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What's Good for the Goose ...
1 January 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The first thing that strikes you about this movie is that it looks and feels like ancient history. In fact, it is based on the real life happenings in 1968 - only about 40 years ago. Sally Hawkins (so wonderful in Happy-Go-Lucky) portrays Rita O'Grady, the Ford sewing machinist who reluctantly takes on the leadership role in the battle for equal pay for women.

Director Nigel Cole tells this story minus the heavy-handedness of the times. In fact, it's a very entertaining tale of right vs wrong - because "that's how we have always done it". He uses actual archival footage of Ford plants, cars and workers, as well as general footage of England circa 1968. These cuts give the film a feel for the times and prevent any over-analysis of wardrobe and sets in the movie. Mr. Cole clearly has an understanding of women based on this film and his previous work in "Calendar Girls".

The cross-fire between the unions, Ford, the workers and the government really bang home the notion of just how ridiculous this entire argument was (and is). Rita O'Grady was so effective because she cut through the muck and made it what it really is ... a simple case of right vs. wrong. Rights vs. privilege. This was never more apparent than in her meeting with Secretary of State Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson). Madam Secretary is attempting to negotiate a settlement that will keep Ford happy, but quickly realizes ... with help from O'Grady ... that there is really only one correct course of action.

Supporting work is excellent from Bob Hoskins, Ms. Richardson, Daniel Mayes (as O'Grady's husband), Rupert Graves and Rosamund Pike (husband and wife on different teams) and the rest of the cast of women, as well as the Ford executives and Union leaders. The film mostly rests on the shoulders of Sally Hawkins, who breezes through with a natural energy that just makes you want to pull for her. She was terrific in Happy-Go-Lucky, and even better here.

The film stops short of detailing the massive battle that escalated the following year between Secretary Castle and the Labor Unions. Most attribute these fights to the downfall of the Labour Party in 1970. However, Ms. Castle's contributions are very clear in these all important topics and led directly to England's Equal Pay laws of 1970, which in turn paved the way for most other countries to follow.

This is a very uplifting film and shows the bravery and determination required of those who change the course of history. Whenever you hear talk regarding the lack of strong female movie roles, this film is exhibit number one that fact can be even stronger than fiction!


29 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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