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.
WORKING GIRL: A young secretary (Melanie Griffith in an Oscar-nominated performance) with dreams of moving up the corporate ladder thinks that her brains will help her achieve her goals. And when she finds a job with a seemingly helpful and sympathetic boss--who's also a woman (played by Sigourney Weaver)--it looks as if she's on her way. But it turns out the executive is slimy and duplicitous, stealing the secretary's clever ideas to further her own career. Now the furious secretary's determined to get revenge--and her plan may not only propel her to the top of the heap but get her a husband too (Harrison Ford). Mike Nichols directed this workplace comedy with a light, smart touch, getting terrific performances from his excellent cast.