Regardless of whether one supports organized labor, the struggle for fair wages and collective bargaining is fraught with drama. Little wonder, then, that Hollywood often dips into the union font in its search for dramatic stories. For that matter, it's hardly surprising that union movies have inspired such amazing performances. As the Wisconsin public sector workers' standoff drags on, here are a few of the best union movies to help the time pass a little more quickly.
Based on "Sister of the Road," the fictionalized autobiography of radical and transient Bertha Thompson as written by physician Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 'Boxcar' Bertha Thompson, a woman labor organizer in Arkansas during the violence-filled Depression of the early '30's meets up with rabble-rousing union man 'Big' Bill Shelly and they team up to fight the corrupt railroad establishment and she is eventually sucked into a life of crime with him.
IMDB Rating: 6.1
Naive Stanley Windrush returns from the war, his mind set on a successful career in business. Much to his own dismay, he soon finds he has to start from the bottom and work his way up, and also that the management as well as the trade union use him as a tool in their fight for power.
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family. Seen through the eyes of the family's youngest, Huw, we learn of the family's trials and tribulations. Family patriarch Gwilym and his older sons work in the mines, dangerous and unhealthy as it is. Gwilym has greater hopes for his youngest son, but Huw has his own ideas on how to honor his father. Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd, who isn't sure he can provide her the life she deserves. Times are hard and good men find themselves out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners.
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Hank Stamper and his father, Henry Stamper own and operate the family business by cutting and shipping logs in Oregon. The town is furious when they continue working despite the town going broke and the other loggers go on strike ordering the Stampers to stop, however Hank continues to push his family on cutting more trees. Hank's wife wishes he would stop and hopes that they can spend more time together. When Hank's half trouble making brother Leland comes to work for them, more trouble starts.
IMDB Rating: 7
Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes no shortage of contempt from her employers.
IMDB Rating: 7.4