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Norma Rae

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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(Apr 17, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

A union organizer from up North recruits a divorced cotton-mill worker down South. Directed by Martin Ritt. Best actress Oscar for Field.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Robert Broyles, John Calvin, Booth Colman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2001
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059HAN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,427 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Norma Rae" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
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?"
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Format: DVD
Sally Field gives a career turning performance in 1979's Norma Rae. Up to that point, Ms. Field was better known as a TV actress who starred in fluffy comedies like Gidget, The Flying Nun & The Girl With Something Extra. In 1976, she showed a more serious side, taking home an Emmy for her work as a young girl with multiple personalities in Sybil. After Sybil, she proceeded to star in more fluff pieces like Smokey & The Bandit, Hooper & The End with her then boyfriend Burt Reynolds. Norma Rae was a film with much more substance. In fact after reading the script, Mr. Reynolds advised her that she would win an Oscar for the film. He turned out to be quite prophetic. Ms. Field is superb in the title role. Norma is an unassuming factory worker from a small town in the South, who is widowed and has two kids with two separate fathers. That is until she meets Reuben Warshawky (Ron Liebman). Reuben is an Union organizer from New York City and he is trying to get the mill workers to set up a union. Most people ignore as they are fearful for their jobs, but Norma is intrigued and she starts meeting with Reuben to try and start a union. She is met with resistance and is bullied by her bosses, but Norma is not persuaded to quit. She feels that she has stood by her whole life without making a difference and this is her chance to actually matter. There is of course the famous scene where Norma is about to be removed from the mill and she defiantly stands on a table with the Union sign. Her co-workers one by one realize the chances she's taken for them and they shut off their machines in support. The film has some excellent supporting work from Mr. Liebman, Beau Bridges and Pat Hingle, but this is Ms. Field's film all the way. She proved Mr. Reynolds right and took home the 1979 Best Actress Oscar and set forth on a path that would add another Oscar to her collection and feature some of the best films of 1980's & 1990's.
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Format: DVD
This is a great movie. For several reasons. Let me tell you one of them. The undercurrent is not homeric or heroic, it's about leadership.

I teach a course in Leadership at a local college. One of the Chapters is about Women as Leaders. Well, we're kind of off in a fantasy world here if we try to use props. And the chasm beteen what we see on the screen and the real world, fantasy and application, is wide, enormous and scary.

So this is not about Vin Diesel saving the world with his enormous biceps, nor Arnold with giant pecs protecting women and children. Nor is it a braless Signourney Weaver in a tee shirt and two machine guns on her hips blowing up aliens.

This is about one of us in the body of a short, cute, 90 pound woman, uneducated, riddled with human flaw, inspired by her antithesis, a highly educated jewish labor organizer, to stand up and like Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics, raise her fist in defiance of the machine.

And, Sally Field does give the performanvce of a lifetime with all the nuances of an uneducated person sensing the right thing but lacking the tools with which to do it.

There's a scene where she has to sign her name and she stares at the paper and purses her tongue and bites her lip in concentration. Small affectation. Brilliant. She got the Oscar and I think we laughed at her. She's Gidget for God's sake. The Flying Nun. It's even funnier than if Goldie Hawn won it. But here's the final answer: She deserved it.

You know what the plot's about. This Alabama about 20 years after Brown v. Board of Education, 10 years after The Heart of Atlanta decison, and 6 or 7 years after the Civil Rights killings. So it's not a safe venue for change.
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