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Norma Rae is a 1979 film which tells the story of a woman from a small town in the Southern United States who becomes involved in the labor union activities at the textile factory where she works. It stars Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley, Gail Strickland and Noble Willingham.

The movie was written by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch, and was directed by Martin Ritt. It is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton.

It 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 for her performance.

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 her Dickensian working conditions. After hearing a speech by New York union organizer Reuben Warshowsky, Norma Rae decides to join the effort to unionize her shop. This causes dissension at home when Norma Rae's husband Sonny assumes that her activism is a result of a romance between herself and Reuben. Despite the pressure brought to bear by Management, Norma Rae successfully orchestrates an election to unionize the factory, resulting in victory for the union and presumably capitulation for the demands. When Reuben first comes to the factory he tries to get all the workers to start a union, but is soon chased out of the small town. Days later Norma Rae shuts down her machine and stands on top of it striking. Soon the whole factory is with her and a union starts.

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review by . September 16, 2009
This is a great, encouraging, energizing movie, that is worth renting this weekend.  The occasion is the death of the real Norma Rae, Cyrstal Rae Sutton, who died a few days ago at the age of 68 from brain cancer.      A grass-roots union organizer, she did not receive timely treatment for the disease because of a dispute with her insurance company over coverage.  This fact was not mentioned in obits in The New York Times and elsewhere yesterday, but has begun to appear …
Norma Rae
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