Norma Rae

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"The story of a woman with the courage to risk everything for what she believes is right."
  • PG
  • 1979
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.3  (12,555)
  • 61

Norma Rae is a 1979 drama film starring Sally Field, Beau Bridges, and Ron Leibman. The movie is directed by Martin Ritt and is based on the real-life story of Crystal Lee Sutton, a labor activist in North Carolina, who fought for better working conditions in a textile factory. The story begins with Norma Rae (Sally Field), a single mother working in a cotton mill in a small town in North Carolina, where she and her family have worked for generations. Norma's father had died of a lung disease caused by the long hours and dust in the mill, and she is determined to prevent the same fate from befalling herself and her children.

Norma, like her mother and grandmother before her, is a factory worker. She spends her days on the factory floor and her nights raising her two children, while dealing with the pressures of an unsupportive father and an absent husband. When a union organizer, Reuben Warshowsky (Ron Liebman), comes to town to talk to the workers about organizing, Norma is initially skeptical.

As Norma starts to learn more about the benefits of unionization, she becomes increasingly involved in the movement despite the risks posed to her job and personal life. She becomes a passionate leader and a driving force behind the union's efforts to organize her fellow workers.

As the union grows in strength and popularity, tensions escalate between management and the workers. In one of the movie's most iconic scenes, Norma stands on a tabletop in the middle of the factory, holding up a sign that reads "UNION," and refusing to back down until her voice is heard.

Norma's personal life is complicated by her relationship with a married man, Sonny Webster (Beau Bridges), who also happens to be a union organizer. As Norma becomes more involved in the union movement and her feelings for Sonny deepen, she is torn between her loyalty to her family and her commitment to the cause.

The film is an emotionally charged and poignant depiction of a woman's struggle to stand up for what she believes in, even when it means risking everything she has. Sally Field delivers a powerful performance as Norma Rae, portraying her as a complex and multidimensional character with a fierce determination and a vulnerability that make her all the more relatable.

The supporting cast is equally impressive, with Ron Liebman delivering a memorable performance as the union organizer who inspires Norma to fight for her rights, and Beau Bridges adding depth and nuance to his portrayal of Sonny Webster.

Throughout the movie, the camera captures the gritty reality of life in a factory town, with shots of the oppressive machinery and the endless rows of workers bent over their machines, their faces obscured by dust and debris. The film's setting is a character in itself, with the harsh conditions and bleak surroundings serving as a constant reminder of the stakes involved in the battle for workers' rights.

Overall, Norma Rae is a timeless classic that continues to resonate today, nearly 40 years after its release. It is a stirring tribute to the power of the human spirit and a testament to the courage of those who fight for a better world.

Norma Rae is a 1979 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 61.

Norma Rae
Where to Watch Norma Rae
Norma Rae is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime and The Roku Channel. Some platforms allow you to rent Norma Rae for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (12,555)
  • Metascore