Thanks to the Loyal Reader who expressed enjoyment over a February post about the AFL-CIO ‘Working Class Heroes’ film recommendations. I’m including more today. Feel free to send reviews of these films or to add suggestions about your favorite Working Class Heroes films.
- Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980, Michael Apted)
Sissy Spacek won the 1982 Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in this film adaptation ofÂ the country singer-songwriterâ€™s autobiography.Â The film was nominated for six other Academy Awards.
- Cradle Will Rock (1999, Tim Robbins)
Tim Robbinâ€™s tour de force tells the story of Orson Wellesâ€™ attempt to use the WPAâ€™s Federal Theater Project for a Broadway musical about a steel strike.Â The film also depicts depression era politics with a broad brush:Â subplots include anti-communist Congressional hearings; corporate plotting to aid Mussoliniâ€™s war machine; and Mexican muralist Diego Riveraâ€™s famous confrontation with a young Nelson Rockefeller over the artistâ€™s Rockefeller Center fresco.
- Devil and Miss Jones (1941, Sam Wood)
Jean Arthur andÂ Robert Cummings star in this film about a department store owner who poses as a shoe salesman to spy on his employeesâ€™ attempt to organize a union.Â Naturally, romance ensues.
- Erin Brockovich (2000, Steven Soderbergh)
Julia Roberts won the 2001 Oscar for Best Actress for her depiction of single mother Erin Brockovich, who lands a job with a solo practice personal injury lawyer (Albert Finney).Â She unravels a plot by a major corporation to hide its massive contamination of her community with deadly hexavalent chromium.Â Finney and Soderbergh were also nominated for Academy Awards; the film was nominated for Best Picture.
- Fast Food Nation (2006, Richard Linklater)
The film is a tough look at working conditions and food safety in the slaughterhouses and meat packing plants that supply fast food chains.Â The multifaceted story line follows a corporate executive investigating reports of contaminated meat, immigrant workers contending with unsafe conditions and sexual abuse, and animal rights activists hatching schemes to save the cattle.
- The Full Monty (1997, Peter Cattaneo)
The film depicts the trials and tribulations of a group of laid off steelworkers, who, desperate to raise some cash, decide to form an all male striptease revue.Â The guys are not exactly models and they canâ€™t dance, but a supportive female audience cheers them on and insists on the â€˜full montyâ€ (frontal nudity)as a finale.Â Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, the movie won an Oscar for Best Original Score.
- The Grapes of Wrath (1940, John Ford)
Henry Fonda starred in this adaptation of John Steinbeckâ€™s novel about migrant workers fleeing drought and failed farms in Oklahoma only to be met with violence and exploitation in California.
- Gung Ho (1986, Ron Howard)
Management and work cultures collide when a Japanese firm takes over an U.S. automobile factory in this comedy starring Michael Keaton.