Movies with a Conscience


Films suggested by Friends about working people: films showing struggles and working conditions of those who toil in industrial society.

Last updated: November 21, 1997


Working People



* A Nous la Liberte
France, 1931, B & W, Comedy, D: Rene Clair, 104 m
Two ex-convicts get jobs at a factory, where one works his way up to the job of owner, where he reduces workers to human machines. Faced with blackmail, he hits the road again with his old pal.

* Aadalen 31
Sweden, 1969, Drama, D: Bo Widerberg, 100? m
A May Day parade of striking Swedish workers turns into a massacre of innocent people by the Swedish police. Based on a true story.

* Daens
Belgium, 1972, Drama, D: Stijn Coninx, Stars: Jan Decleir, Antje De Boeck, Gerard Desarthe, 138 m
A good-hearted priest, Father Daens, is sent to an industrial town where children slave at mechanized looms. The conflict between Daens and the local socialists turns upside down when they realize his sympathy for the workers and unite to elect him to Parliament.

* Matewan
USA, 1987, Drama, D: John Sayles, 132 m
West Virginia miners, hard up against the bosses in the 1920s, are united by a former Wobbly who brings together the white, African-American, and Italian workers.

* Margaret's Museum
Canada, 1995, Drama, D: Mort Ransen; Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan, Clive Russell, 118 m
A young girl, who lost her father and brother to the Cape Breton mines, meets a man she adores, partly because he refuses to work in the mines. When hard times make weaken his promise, Margaret takes her revenge in a unique and chilling manner.

* Nine to Five (9 to 5)
USA, 1980, Comedy, D: Colin Higgins, Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, 110 m
A dictatorial boss is locked out by his three women employees, who bring amazing efficiency to the plant - as long as their ex-chief is tied up.

* Norma Rae
USA, 1979, Drama, D: Martin Ritt, Stars: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman, 110 m
Norma Rae, a textile worker in the South, summons all the courage in the world to contact a labour union organizer. Their struggle has just begun.

* Salt of the Earth
USA, 1954, Drama, D: Herbert Biberman, Screenplay: Herber Biberman, Michael Wilson (I); Stars: Will Geer, David Wolfe, David Sarvis, 94 m
Striking workers in the Empire Zinc mine in New Mexico are faced with the extra oppression of Mexican-Americans and women. Written, directed, and produced by members of the Hollywood Ten.


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Co-ordinator: Carl Stieren, Peace and Social Concerns Committee, peaceweb@web.net
Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Ottawa Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends, 91A Fourth Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2L1 CANADA
Revised November 21, 1997