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 Jordan. It was marketed with the tagline "The story of a woman with the courage to risk everything for what she believes is right."
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 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, 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.