The story is based on Crystal Lee Sutton’s life as a textile worker in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, where the battle for the workers union took place against a J.P Stevens Textiles mill. Her actual protest, in the mill, is the scene in the film where she writes the sign “UNION” and stands on her worktable until all machines are silent. Although Sutton was fired from her job, the mill became unionized, and she later went to work as an organizer for the textile union
In 2011, Norma Rae was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The Registry said that the film “is less a polemical pro-union statement than a treatise about maturation, personal willpower, fairness and the empowerment of women.
Norma Rae Webster is a minimum-wage worker in a cotton mill that has taken too much of a toll on the health of her family for her to ignore their Dickensian working conditions. After hearing a speech by a New York union organizer, Reuben Warshowsky, Norma Rae decides to join the effort to unionize her shop. This causes conflict at home when Norma Rae’s husband, Sonny, says she’s not spending enough time in the home.
Despite being pressured by management, when confronted, Norma Rae takes a piece of cardboard, writes the word “UNION” on it, stands on her work table, and slowly turns to show the sign around the room. One by one, the other workers stop their mill machines, and eventually, the entire room becomes silent. After all the machines have been switched off, Norma Rae is taken to jail but is freed by Reuben.
She then decides to talk to her children and tell them the story of her life. After discussing it with Reuben, Sonny tells Norma there’s no other woman in his mind and he will always remain with her. Norma Rae then successfully orchestrates an election to unionize the factory, resulting in a victory for the union. Finally, Reuben says goodbye to Norma; despite his being smitten with her throughout the movie, they only shake hands because he knows she is married and loves her husband, and Reuben heads back to New York.
The film Norma Rae won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sally Field) and Best Original Song (for David Shire and Norman Gimbel for “It Goes Like It Goes”). It was also nominated for Best Picture and for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. The film was also nominated to the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival and Field was awarded Best Actress, in Cannes, for her performance.
4.37GB | 1h 54mn | 1280×536 | mkv