Academy Awards 1979 -
Best Original Song: David Shire & Norman Gimbel
Cannes 1979 -
Best Actress: Sally Field
Variety - 02/28/1979
"...NORMA RAE is a superb film. Paced by Sally Field's best performance to date....An intelligent film with heart..."
New York Times - 03/02/1979
"...NORMA RAE is a seriously concerned contemporary drama, illuminated by some very good performances and one, [Field's], that is spectacular."
Set in the industrial South and based on a true story, Martin Ritt's NORMA RAE is a moving portrait of a woman's fight to improve both her own life and the deplorable conditions that exist in the mill where she works. Norma Rae (Sally Field) has worked at the textile mill for years, but when a union organizer from New York comes to town, Norma takes on the hostility of the mill's management and the apathy of her coworkers to try to unionize the mill. Field plays Norma Rae as a passionate woman who realizes her own potential and her need to rebel against the status quo. She is also infuriated by the conditions at the mill. When Norma, uneducated and poor, finally expresses her disgust with life at the mill, it is an electrifying moment, and Field radiates this energy for the rest of the film, providing an emotional core and drive that gives the picture its power.
NORMA RAE is a thrilling drama about factory workers in the South who are fed up with their dangerous, unhealthy working conditions. When a Jewish union leader from New York arrives to help them organize, he meets the impoverished and uneducated Norma Rae. Together they become a team, ready to wage a tough war against management.
Essential Cinema |
Social Issues |
Theatrical release: March 2, 1979.
Filmed on location in Opelika, Alabama.
The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Jordan, who had been blacklisted by every textile union in the South for her fight against the conditions at those mills. However, with the success of NORMA RAE, Jordan began a new career as a spokeswoman for a textile workers union.
The theme song, "It Goes Like it Goes," was sung by Jennifer Warnes.
The film was originally rated R by the MPAA but won a PG on appeal.