7.4/10
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47 user 30 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.

Writer:

Michael Wilson (by)
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Geer ... Sheriff
David Wolfe ... Barton
David Sarvis David Sarvis ... Alexander
Mervin Williams Mervin Williams ... Hartwell
Rosaura Revueltas ... Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell E.A. Rockwell ... Vance
William Rockwell William Rockwell ... Kimbrough
Juan Chacón Juan Chacón ... Ramon Quintero (as Juan Chacon)
Henrietta Williams Henrietta Williams ... Teresa Vidal
Ángela Sánchez Ángela Sánchez ... Consuelo Ruiz (as Angela Sanchez)
Clorinda Alderette Clorinda Alderette ... Luz Morales
Virginia Jencks Virginia Jencks ... Ruth Barnes
Clinton Jencks Clinton Jencks ... Frank Barnes
Joe T. Morales Joe T. Morales ... Sal Ruiz
Ernest Velasquez ... 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:

Banned! The film the US government didn't want you to see! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra See more »

Filming Locations:

Bayard, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

CC on the TCM broadcast misidentifies a music snippet as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," but it is actually "John Brown's Body" [aka "Battle Hymn of the Republic"]. See more »

Quotes

Esperanza Quintero: Whose neck shall I stand on to make me feel superior, and what will I have out of it? I don't want anything lower than I am. I am low enough already. I want to rise and to push everything up with me as I go.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credits are divided into "the professional cast" and "the non-professional cast." 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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wildly inspirational
8 November 2002 | by zetesSee 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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