Norma Rae (1979)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Social Problem Film  |   Release Date - Mar 2, 1979 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Michael Betzold

Before her Oscar-winning, breakthrough role as a union organizer in Norma Rae, Sally Field was famous for being television's The Flying Nun and for her subsequent lightweight comic work, particularly with Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. Casting Field in the lead role of a poor, uneducated worker who organizes a Southern mill proved to be a stroke of genius. She wasn't known for portraying assertive, powerful characters, and so her transformation in the film from mousy and helpless to an icon of resistance symbolized for many audiences similar psychic and social journeys. Norma Rae became an authentic portrait of empowerment because its heroine (and the actress portraying her) seemed so ordinary to begin with.