In an Oscar-winning performance, Sally Field is unforgettable as Norma Rae, the Southern millworker who revolutionizes a small town and discovers a power in herself she never had. Under the guidance of a New York unionizer... more » (Ron Leibman) and with increasing courage and determination, Norma Rae organizes her fellow factory workers to fight for better conditions and wages. Based on a true story, Norma Rae is the mesmerizing tale of a modern day heroine. Beau Bridges co-stars.« less
Excellent movie! A movie should tell a story and this one does. Sally Fields does an magnificent job of making the viewer feel the emotions of the character. Sally Field became Christine, the real life Norma Rae. Pat Hingle who plays Sally's father in the movie is a fine actor. This movie is worth the watch just to see how much things have changed since 1979. The people in the movie are the real towns people and it was a wonderful step back on time to see all the old things people used to do and wear. You will not be disappointed in this movie.
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Sally Field Sheds Her Habit ..Delivers Superb Performance!
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 12/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sally Field gives the performance of a lifetime in this fact-based story of a factory worker who puts her life on hold to make life better for those around her. "Norma Rae"(1979) was a powerful eye-opener to the life led by ordinary people working under extremely poor working conditions.
Best known at the time for her light roles as "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun", and although she did capture an emmy for her outstanding performance as "Sybil", she was not thought of as a serious dramatic actress.Director Martin Ritt knew a good thing when he saw it though, insisted on casting her and his instincts were right. Sally went home from the Oscars that year with a well deserved Best Actress Award!
Norma Rae doesn't have much going for her in her life. She has two children that she's raising on her own,has lots of problems with men, and works in a textile mill in the south. The conditions of the mill are deplorable.The wages are pitiful, people on their feet all day, with barely a break, most going deaf from the noise of the machines, some even getting cancer. But it is the only job in town for most of the locals. A New York Union Organizer comes to town(Ron Leibman) and tries to convince the workers they should go Union and fight for their rights. Most are leary and afraid of loosing their jobs, but one decides it's the right thing to do.
Norma Rae goes against the grain to try and convince the 800 workers that this is the best thing for them and their children(Who will also probably work there some day). She becomes somewhat of an outcast but doesn't give up. She becomes more determined and defiant as ever as the film progresses. Eventually she realizes the power she holds.There's the wonderful famous scene where she stands on the table with the UNION sign, but the most telling scene of her determination is when it takes four very large men to remove this 90lb. woman from the premisis.It is a film that will stay with you and still holds value socially and politically today.
Martin Ritt is always excellent at bringing these social issues to the viewing audiences in an entertaining way. Director of Photography John Alonzo also adds greatly to the film with his great camera angles. Ron Leibman is wonderful as the "fish out of water" organizer who becomes mentor to Norma. Rounding out the cast and all excellent in their roles is Pat Hingle as Norma's father and Beau Bridges as her new husband.
The DVD is beautiful. The film is over 20 years old but you won't notice that. It's in Anamorphic Widescreen(2.35:1) and presents a great picture. Nice color and sharp images. The sound is Stero Surround, and is very pleasing. There is a "Back Story" featurette on the making and casting of the film, which is very informative. It may be viewed in French and there are subtitiles in English and Spanish.This is an important film and 20th Century Fox has given it some nice attention.
A great addition to any DVD collection...enjoy...Laurie
also from martin ritt and now on DVD:The Outrage"
One of the 10 Best Performances by an Actress Ever!!!
Sponiatowski | Des Plaines, Il | 03/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Norma Rae" contains the thrilling performance by Sally Field as a woman on the wrong side of the tracks of life who decides it's time to stand up for the rights of her co-workers at a small textile plant. She is offered and accepts a promotion when the plant's management tries to divert her, but a supervisory role doesn't appeal to her when her mother loses her hearing and she has to chastise her father for poor performance. Logically, inevitably she becomes more committed to fighting for a better life for herself and her loved ones and joins forces with a union organizer who came down from NYC. She ends up sacrificing all, including her self esteem, to give the workers more control over their working conditions. Chills ran down my spine during the scene where she held up the "union" sign and another where she rebuked her husband for being non-supportive of her union efforts. I am not a union supporter, but I know good drama, strong performances, and a logical and interesting plot when I see it, so I recommend this fine film to all. Hopefully they will give as much time and attention to dubbing and subtitling this movie into languages of third world countries because that's where this textile plant probably relocated a year after the events this film portrayed. A sad, sad outcome to an ideal.No matter what the outcome, Sally Field delivers one of the finest performances in film history so "Norma Rae" gets only my highest recommendations!"
A Film That Doesn't Go Like It Goes
Kenneth | Dallas, TX | 06/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You go to the video store one night and you rent some film that you watch and think, "Yeah. That was OK. . .I shoulda gotten [that other film]." You return the tape. You get that other film and you watch it. The film is over, and you think, "That was OK, too, but I need to get [that other film]." You go to the video store to get that other film, and right next to it you see this film, Norma Rae, and it just happens on accident, but somehow you are attracted at first sight. So, you take that film home and you watch it and you think. . . "WOW! HOLY ----! THAT WAS THE BEST FILM YET!" This film is an attention-grabbing and overall outstanding film that leaves you with something every time you watch it. It stars Sally Field in one of her best performances, and you'll have no doubt in your mind that she is Norma Rae Webster. You return to the video store and find yourself asking, "How much to buy Norma Rae?""
Union! Union! Union!
Ruth Z. Deming | Willow Grove, PA | 12/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love great acting, memorable dialogue, unforgettable scenes that stay with you since the 1979 movie debut, and if you adore socially conscious films where the underdog outwits the oppressor, then Norma Rae is the film to return to.
Based on a true story about a Southern textile mill and attempts by a northern union organizer to form the first union, Norma Rae is fiction, not fact. Sally Field (b. 1946) as Norma Rae won a well-deserved Oscar in her embittered battle against hardnosed union management who turned a blind eye to the legitimate complaints of their long-suffering workers: excruciatingly high noise levels which deafened some employees, cotton fibers at the mill which caused lung disease, and scant wages barely higher than a sweat shop's for backbreaking work that literally killed some of the mill's loyal employees.
Management didn't care. After all, they were the only company in town. But Sally Field, egged on and smitten by a union representative from New York, brilliantly and subtly played by Ron Leibman (b. 1937), was a pawn in his hand. Had she not met Leibman it is doubtful that she would have risen to power in the never-named southern factory, which is really the famous J.P.Stevens out of North Carolina. The movie was filmed in Alabama.
The delightful culture and sense of place of the South is evoked, including choirsinging in churches, fire & brimstone preachers, and baking of delicious pies. Since I'd seen the film when it first came out, I was awaiting my favorite moment, one of the great moments in all of moviedom: the suspensful climax where Field climbs up on the table holding out a sign reading Union and turns round and round until each employee shuts off the deafening machine he or she is working at.
A viewer can't ask for anything as tearjerkingly emotional as that!
Field's character, with poor self-respect and children by different men, evolves into a character with dignity, thanks to her platonic relationship with Leibman. When her husband asks, "Are you sleeping with him?" she utters the classic lines, "No, but he's in my mind." That happily clinches the relationship for Field and her husband, endearingly played by Beau Bridges (b. 1941 and son of Sea-Hunt Lloyd) and he vows to love Sally all the more.
Feisty, fervent, and flamboyant describe our riveting heroine, a true joy to behold, with her skinny sexy body that, to me, anyway, seems to long for her Jewish mentor and teacher, Leibman, the man who has opened her eyes to the larger world of culture, books and catching your dreams. For him, she begins reading one of his favorite poets, Dylan Thomas. He's had the power to change this plain woman with poor morals into a strong outspoken survivor.
Is Leibman just using her to get the union started? No,they part with genuine respect for one another, sealed by a handshake. An earlier scene shows them taking a delightful skinnydip together. Leibman is always a calm force to Field's tempestuous behavior.
However, it may be that socially conscious director Martin Ritt (1914-1990) blacklisted during the McCarthy era, just may have been using the real Norma Rae - Crystal Lee Sutton - since she didn't receive a cent from the film. However, Crystal states in later interviews she enjoyed the film and the attention.
In a memorable line, Leibman asks, "Why is it all you southerners have three names?"
Watch the movie to experience the thrill of defiance and winning. Watch it to root for Sally Field to take on the establishment and, glory be, to win!"
A stunning achievement!
C. MacNeil | Fort Wayne, IN USA | 12/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director Martin Ritt reportedly commented that his film of a mother working in a southern textile mill was flawed but that he hoped it was a realtistic portrayal of life and its flaws. It's tough to find the flaws in this superb film that earned Sally Field the first of her two Oscars ("Places in the Heart" won her the second five years later). As mill worker Norma Rae, Field's character lands the reluctant role of union organizer but in the process uncovers the essence of her own character and courage. The latter is no better conveyed than in what turned out to be one of cinematic history's most memorable images when the near-beaten Norma Rae stands on a table in front of 800 co-workers and, in so doing, becomes her own person. The film expertly conveys life in a southern town, but its devastating impact is Norma Rae's gradual emergence as a truly courageous person who is willing to risk it all to literally stand up for what she knows is right. Field's riveting performance reeled in every major acting award the year the film was released, and justly so. It may well remain her best work ever."