7.5/10
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44 user 27 critic

Salt of the Earth (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 14 March 1954 (USA)
Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.

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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sheriff
... Barton
David Sarvis ... Alexander
Mervin Williams ... Hartwell
... Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell ... Vance
William Rockwell ... Kimbrough
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)
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Storyline

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. 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. Written by Bob Shields <rshields@igc.apc.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Only Blacklisted American Film See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Esperanza Quintero: Ramon, I don't like to bother you, but the store, they say, uh, we will not make another payment on the radio this month, they'll come and take it away... We're only one payment behind... I argued with her. It isn't right.
Ramon Quintero: It isn't right, she says. Was it right that we bought this... this instrument? But you *had* to have it, didn't you. It was *nice* to listen to.
Esperanza Quintero: I listen to it... every night... when you are out at the beer parlor.
Ramon Quintero: 'No money down'. 'Easy term payments'. I tell you something -...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: our scene is NEW MEXICO LAND OF THE FREE AMERICANS WHO INSPIRED THIS FILM

HOME OF THE BRAVE AMERICANS WHO PLAYED MOST OF ITS ROLES. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Trumbo (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Not be Moved
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the women on the picket line
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User Reviews

 
Wildly inspirational
8 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

Salt of the Earth is simply one of the greatest achievements in American cinema, not because it is exemplary in those aspects which usually make a film great, but because it excels in its ideals where so many others during the period were failing. The plot is deceptively simple. Mexican American men, along with a few whites ("Anglos" in the Mexicans' parlance), decide that their job in the mine is too dangerous and that they are treated unfairly compared to Anglo workers. They strike, putting their families through terrible hardships. While this film certainly has an agenda, it thankfully becomes more complex than just a Labor vs Management dispute. Perhaps an even more important theme is the relationship between the men and their women, wives, mothers, sisters. At one point, the Taft-Hartley Act is enacted (of course I mention the name because of recent events), and the miners can no longer picket legally. Their wives, who are asked, according to the local mores, to be silent, dare to pick up the duties of the strike. Not only is Salt of the Earth a brave champion of the worker and minorities, it has the audacity (in 1954!) to back women's rights. No wonder this was the only American film to be blacklisted.


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