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Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes no shortage of contempt from her employers.Written by
Ranked #16 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006). See more »
Reuben comes to inspect the plant to verify that his notices are not being stripped off of the bulletin boards in violation of the court order. Upon finding his notice and demanding it be brought down to "eye level", he insists on reading it because "No union organizer, not even a known union member has been inside the fences and walls of this factory for more than ten years." It is not explained how the notice got posted there in the first place. See more »
Sally Field's first Oscar came way via "Norma Rae."
The factory where she and her dad work does not know or want to know about unions. Workers are routinely abused and there is no way out for these hard-working laborers.
Along comes Jewish Ron Leibman, from the north, with the idea of forming a union. He meets up with much hostility. We see the southern hatred of unions in general and there is an underlining feeling of anti-Jewishness here as Jews have always been in the forefront of labor issues in America.
Pat Hingle's fatal coronary spurs daughter Norma to action. Her stopping work and turning around with the sign union is memorable.
This picture is timely due to the rash attacks on the labor movement from the federal government on down to management. Made at a time when President Reagan destroyed the Air Traffic Controller's Union, the film is most appropriate.
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