Voila! Finally, the Norma Rae
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of Sally Field movie. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Norma Rae. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
That's all you're eatin' for lunch - an apple?
I gotta keep my strength up.
I put these preserves up myself.
Sunday, Roscoe and I put up
over quarts of peaches.
What'd you do over the weekend, Norma?
I soaked my feet.
I saw you in town Sunday.
Your friend drives a mighty big car.
Well, if you'd looked on the motel register,
you'd have seen my name there too.
It's none of my business.
Mama, you haven't opened up your sack yet.
Mama, aren't you hungry?
Mama, you feelin' all right?
Mama, can you hear me?
Mama, come on, now.
She didn't hear one word I said.
She doesn't hear you right now!
Now, you know that happens, Norma Rae.
- It happens all the time.
- Well, it doesn't happen to my mama!
- It'll pass off. It's just temporary.
- That's OK. She's only deaf for one hour.
She's only deaf for two hours.
She's only deaf all day!
- She can get another job.
- What other job in this town?
This is the only job!
I'll give her a note. They send her home.
Come on, Mama.
They don't care anything about you.
- You all right out there?
- I'm fine.
You're gonna get all bitten up.
I'll be in in just a minute.
I'm gonna let this pot soak.
There's one soakin' from breakfast.
Now it's got company.
Hi, kids. Ten more minutes of this junk
and then I want you to do your homework.
I did it.
- You did it?
Unsatisfactory in your letterin' and readin',
and your numbers aren't too good.
- You haven't been doin' much homework.
- Shh! I don't wanna hear.
I'll "shush" you.
- What are you gettin' fixed up for?
- I'm goin' into town.
What do you need in town?
- OK. I'll drive you in.
- You got Bonanza on next.
Oh, no, I'm gonna miss that.
It's the same thing every week anyhow.
I'm goin' to JC Penney's,
buy myself some panties
and a white cotton brassiere, size B.
You wanna come and sit outside the dressin'
room and have the ladies look at you?
No, ma'am, I don't care to do that.
You comin' straight back?
No. After that I'm goin' to the drugstore,
buy myself some Kotex pads
and a Cosmopolitan magazine.
Mm-hm. Then you comin' home?
Yeah. After that, I'll be so tired out
from all the excitement I'll be comin' home.
That's right. Vernon Wichard. Who are you?
- My name is Reuben Warshawsky.
- Warshawsky? What kinda name is that?
The kind you have to spell for
telephone operators and head waiters.
- What do you want?
- I'd like to get me a room with a mill family.
What for? We got a hotel with rooms.
We got a motel with rooms.
I wanna get to know
some mill hands close up.
Uh-huh. Why is that?
I'll tell ya, Mr Wichard. I just got into town
about, uh, an hour ago. Hi. How are you?
I got out of my rented car and,
before I had a chance to adjust my crotch,
the chief of police was on me saying
"Who are you? What are you doin' here?"
So I told him I was a labour organiser, come
to put a unión in the OP Henley textile mill,
and he said "The hell you are." He gave me
a ticket and told me to get elsewhere.
He was dead right to.
Far as I'm concerned, all of you people
are communists, or agitators,
or crooks, or Jews,
or all four rolled together.
Every time you people come into a town,
the folks get throwed outta their jobs.
Do you mind if I ask you a question?
How much do you make an hour?
I make a dollar and cents a frame.
- When did you have a cost-of-living raise?
- I haven't had that.
With all due respect, Mr Wichard, with today's
inflation, that makes you a bit of a schlemiel.
You callin' me some kind of a name?
You're underpaid. You're overworked.
They're shaftin' you right up to
your tonsils. You need me, sir.
I think maybe if you run real fast you'll get
back to your car before my dog bites you.
Why are ya tellin' him that?
We ain't even got a dog.
You don't need one.
Hey, how ya doin'?
Do you have any vacancies?
- Thank you.
Very friendly little town you got here.
So far I've been told to shove off,
get off, and go away.
Oh, it's OK.
Make sure they spray your room for roaches.
You got roaches down here?
I'm very familiar with roaches.
Do you have a room with a view?
You got the back alley
or the parking lot. Which?
Back alley or parking lot?
Give him Alston.
Can't hear the drunks from in there.
I'll be back this way
next Wednesday after dinner.
I'm havin' dinner with my wife's folks.
Tonight was the last time, George.
You don't say, Norma Rae.
Well, now, isn't that a surprising turn?
Been comin' on for some time.
You know somethin' funny? I didn't notice it.
I mean, didn't you get your steak dinner?
Didn't you get your box of pralines?
Didn't you come three times in a row
in that bed over there?
I wasn't countin'.
Well, well. How about that?
Looks like I don't know what it takes
to satisfy you these days, doesn't it?
It just doesn't sit well
with me any more, George.
I mean, you've got your wife,
got your two kids in high school.
There's a lot of gossip. I got my two kids...
I don't know...
It just doesn't make me feel good.
You're here to make me feel good.
I'm not trottin' down here any more.
Why, you hick!
You got dirt under your fingernails.
You pick your teeth
with a matchbook - I seen ya!
Shit, what the hell are you good for, anyway?
You come outta that factory,
you wash under your armpits,
you come down here and spread your legs
for a poke and then you go on home.
And you're dumpin' me?
- I heard a hell of a thump.
- It was me gettin' throwed across the room.
- I have some ice for that. Come on in.
Sit down, please.
You look all shook up.
Here, put this on it.
Thought everybody down south
was Ashley Wilkes.
You lie down with dogs, you get fleas.
Well, hey, what?
Does this look broken to you?
Go like this.
No, I don't think so. You want aspirin?
- You're a whole drugstore.
I'm a mild hypochondriac. Keep that on it.
Me and men.
I oughta learn to say no right from the start.
But if it wasn't men,
I don't know what it would be.
- You got a lot of books.
- Oh, yeah.
Terrified I'm gonna wake up in a motel room
and have nothin' to read but the phone book.
She got big eyes.
Yeah. Got a big brain too.
What's her name?
She's a hotshot labour lawyer out of Harvard.
She must be your girlfriend
if you haul her picture around with you.
We sleep together on Sunday mornings,
then we read the New York Times...
and I guess that makes her my girlfriend.
- I'm Norma Rae Wilson.
- Reuben Warshawsky.
- Nice meetin' you.
- My pleasure. Keep that on your nose.
Hey, I'm real sorry about my daddy.
He got a short fuse.
Yeah. Well, my credentials
keep me out of a lot of places.
But I'll tell ya, every once in a while
someone opens up their door to me,
puts me in their best bedroom and treats me
just like I was a cousin. It's nice.
- That sure as heck wouldn't be my daddy.
You a Jew?
- Beg your pardon?
- Are you a Jew?
Born and bred.
- I never met a Jew before.
- How ya doin'?
I heard you all had horns.
Circumcised, yes. Horns, no.
Well... as far as I can see, you don't look
any different from the rest of us.
- Well, we are.
- You are?
Well, what makes you different?
Got it now?
- Yeah, it looks better.
- I think it stopped.
- Thanks a lot for the ice.
- Any time.
Christ, I hope not.
Good morning. Read this
when you have a chance.
I'm from the Textile Workers
Unión of America.
Good morning. Thank you.
Here you go. Read this when you have
a chance on your break. Thank you.
Hello. I'm from the
Textile Workers Unión of America.
You wanna read this when you
have a chance, please? Here you go.
You wanna read this when you have
a chance, please? Good morning.
Read this when you have a chance. I'm from
the Textile Workers Unión of America.
Thank you. You wanna read this when
you have a chance, when you get home?
Read this on your break, please.
Good morning. You wanna read this
when you have a chance, please?
I'm from the Textile Workers
Unión of America.
You wanna read this
when you have a chance on your break?
Wanna read this on your break? OK.
Morning. I'm from
the Textile Workers Unión of America.
You wanna read this when you get home?
Good morning. I'm with
the Textile Workers Unión of America.
Read this on your break...
when you have a chance. Thank you.
I'm with the Textile Workers Unión -
How's your nose? - Of America.
Read that on your break.
I'm with the Textile Workers...
There's too many big words. If I don't
understand it, they ain't gonna understand it.
- That fella a friend of yours, Norma?
- Looks like he's gettin' to be.
- You'll be late.
- I don't care if I don't get there till tomorrow.
Thank you. If you have any questions
I'm at the Golden Cherry Motel, room .
Read this on your break.
OK, don't be late for work, now, folks.
Good mornin' to ya.
Thank you. Good morning.
All right, the lady wants to go to work.
I'll catch you later.
One of you guys shows up
about every four years.
- About the same time we get the locusts.
- What's your name?
- My name?
- My name's Jimmy Jerome Davis.
Well, Jimmy Jerome, we already got
six of you bossmen in civil contempt.
Would you care to make it seven?
Why, hell, we plaster the toilets
with them things.
Wanna read this on your break?
I already told him I wouldn't go out
to dinner with him. What's he want now?
Maybe he wants to
make it breakfast, Norma Rae.
Whatever it is, I didn't do it.
Norma, you got
the biggest mouth in this mill.
"Give us a longer break.
Give us more smokin' time."
"Give us a Kotex pad machine."
- Do it and I'll shut up!
- Well, we'll do better than that.
We figure the only way to close that mouth
is to hand you a promotion.
You're goin' up in the worid, honey.
Yeah? How far and for how much?
Well, we're gonna put you on spot-checkin'.
It sure ain't gonna make me any friends.
It'll make you
another dollar and a half an hour.
- How am I doin', little girl?
- You're doin' good, Daddy.
I think you better
try to speed it up some if you can.
I'm goin' as fast as I can.
Yeah. Well, they're watchin' me.
They're watchin' you.
I guess you're sore at me?
I don't think you should
push your own daddy.
- It's more money. I need it for my kids.
- Well, I don't need it from my kid.
Millie, Craig, what are you doin' in Grandma's
marigolds? She's gonna kill you. Come on.
- Get up from th... Look at you.
- I don't wanna.
Well, you do it anyway! Look at your behind!
It's filthy dirty. It's all full of dirt.
I asked you to watch him!
Criminy, I cleaned you up once.
Get it! Get it, Steve! Come on, Steve!
Come on, Steve! Come on!
Oh, wow! He's got an arm on him!
- Hey, do you want somethin'?
- Yeah, this is awful.
Get me a hot dog, lots of relish.
Whoo! All right!
- Hi. Can I have a hot dog, please?
- Hi, Weona.
- Hi, Norma.
- Can I have two dogs?
- OK. Just a minute.
- How you doin'?
- Are you enjoyin' the game?
Yeah. I love the shortstop.
He goes right into the hole.
I know. That's JC McAIlister.
Scouts are here lookin' at him.
What's the matter? You don't like it?
This is not Nathan's. I don't even think this is
a hot dog. What do they put in these things?
Lotta red dye and other things
you don't wanna know about.
Excuse me a minute.
- Hey, Ellis.
- You're lookin' fine.
I'm always fine. I'm a horse.
- Changed your hair.
- It grew.
He lost a tooth.
You know, it wouldn't hurt if you
came by to see him every now and then.
I don't believe I can do that, Norma.
Well... suit yourself.
You always have.
- Gimme a Coke, please. You want a Coke?
Thank you. Here, this is for hers.
For mine. Keep the change.
Here you go.
I climbed into the back seat of his Cadillac
six years ago, stuck my feet out the window,
and got myself my little Craig
off that southern gentleman.
He ain't done nothin' worthwhile since.
Did you get married?
He didn't bother. I didn't bother.
My first affair, as I recollect it,
was with my Hungarian piano teacher.
I was playing Smetana,
she put her head in my lap.
I tell ya, I played the hell outta that.
Next thing I knew, we were in her bedroom,
underneath a Russian icon,
and her husband came home and found us.
And the poor guy burst into tears.
I felt so bad. I put my arms around him and
said "Hey, man, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
Then we all went into the kitchen
and had a glass of tea.
I guess it seems like every time
you see me, I'm hasslin' with some guy.
- That's what it seems like.
- What do you think of me, I wonder?
I think you're too smart
for what's happenin' to you.
Come on, lady, I'm over here now.
I got the jump on you.
Come on, lady.
Come on, come on, come on! Come on!
Clock me down! Clock me down!
I'm over here now, lady.
Come on! I'm over here!
Hey, lady! Come on, what you waitin' for,
girl? I'm over here now! Come on!
Come on, lady!
Come on! I'm over here!
Come on! Lady! Come on!
You damn fool! You're gonna be
gettin' us both to lose our jobs!
I'll get it.
I won't trouble you. I just came to apologise.
I know I could've lost you your job today.
Well, you sure went crazy on me.
I got handed divorce papers this mornin'.
I guess... I went off my head.
Things can get to you.
Would you come and have a drink with me?
Uh, just to make up for the ruckus
and all the bother I put you to.
I'm Sonny Webster.
You used to come in my mama's bakery.
- Sonny Webster?
Sonny Webster! I remember you!
You used to stand behind the cash register
and give everybody the wrong change!
- Well, I never was too good at math.
- You're tellin' me. Sonny Webster! Golly!
How about that drink?
OK. Just wait one minute, will you?
Who was that? I heard a man's voice.
Yep, you did. I'm goin' out with him.
- Where'd you meet him?
- Just now on the front porch.
Some Tom, Dick or Harry comes to the door
and you've got your hat on? No, sir.
Daddy, I'm over . Way over.
Let me say some names to you, Norma.
Buddy Wilson, Ellis Harper, George Benson.
A US sailor, Trailways bus driver.
None of which is lookin' after you as far as I
can see. I got that spot. It's my roof. My food.
There's something wrong with
you trying to keep men off me.
There is nothin' wrong with a daddy's love
for his little girl. You oughta be grateful.
You're lovin' me to death.
God darn, that lady can sing!
- And her words are so true.
- I like Elvis myself.
Oh, I wish I could just make a whole lotta
money by openin' up my mouth and wailin'.
- That don't necessarily make 'em happy.
- What does? What does, what does?
I think a man and a woman's
your best chance.
You are a fine one to talk. Didn't you tell me
you got a gun and went under the bushes,
and you was aimin' to
blow your wife's head off?
I was gonna burn 'em both down.
Her and her boyfriend.
But I couldn't.
She was a real good person
when we went to school together an' all.
Real nice person, but then, uh...
The change that come over her...
still really amazes me.
I'm a lot different from what I was.
I mean, you go through things...
Hey! Whoo! New York!
Hey, man! New York! Hey, buddy!
Hi! Hey, come on over here!
- Hey, do we need anybody else?
- The more the merrier. Reuben!
Golly! Here you are with
your papers and everything.
- Come on over!
- Come on, Reuben! Jeez!
How are you? Reuben, I want you to meet
Sonny. This is Reuben Warwashawsky.
- How about it?
- Sonny, how are you?
- All right. Why don't you sit down?
- Come on. Sit down. Take a load off.
- What are you doin' here?
- I'm workin'.
- You're workin'?
- This is a bar.
- Drunk or sober, I want 'em.
- Well, can I pour you out one?
- No, no, no. I'll just have some plain Seltzer.
- You're just drinkin' club soda, is that it?
- That's it.
Well, you're gonna feel a whole lot better
than I will tomorrow morning.
- Reuben is a unión man.
He's gonna put a unión in the mill.
- But there ain't never been one.
- Then maybe its time has come.
Well, there better be more than one of you!
Cos there's more than one of them!
- There will be.
- Big companies get everything they want.
- Everything goes to the rich man.
- You gettin' tired of it?
Oh, when I do, I just
wash it down with beer, see?
You know what?
You know this song on the... jukebox?
This was the song... It was
on the radio the night they called me
and they told me my husband
had been killed in a fight in a beer joint.
Yeah, I knew Buddy Wilson. In high school.
- You did?
- Yeah. We had wood shop together.
He was drunk, and he got in a fight
and he broke a beer bottle.
And then this other guy,
he had a broken beer bottle too.
I remember I went down
to the funeral parlour.
Cos I wanted to see him, you know?
And this old guy, he comes out and says...
that he didn't think it'd be a good idea if
I'd see Buddy cos he wasn't prepared yet.
I don't know, I just...
I really just wanted to see him.
And my daddy wouldn't let me.
Well... that were the end of Buddy.
Far as that goes.
- I'm gonna drive.
- I'll drive.
- What do you mean? You're drunk.
- So are you.
I think I'll drive. No, no, no, gang. Here we go.
I went out with one man
and I'm comin' home with two!
Now, that sure as heck is gonna
surprise the hell outta my daddy.
- He keeps a close watch on you, doesn't he?
- Yeah. We're close.
I remember he used to drive miles
to take me down to Crescent Beach.
He used to buy me a chicken dinner
and take me swimmin' and tell me jokes.
And we used to sleep in the car. We'd wake
up and walk out on the sand. It was all wet.
He bought me this ring. I wear it all the time.
Reuben, would you pull the car over?
I think I'm going to be sick.
All right, hang on.
- Come on.
- I'd help you, but I think I'd give it up too.
- That was real ladylike.
- It's all right.
I did bedpans one summer
at Stuyvesant Hospital.
One of these days I'm gonna
get myself all together.
Well, make it soon. Because one of
these days I'm gonna start in on you.
Thank you. Read this
when you have a chance.
I took your advice.
Got it down to two syllables.
Good morning. Good morning.
Read this when you have a chance, please.
Mornin', Norma Rae.
Hey, Billy Joe.
What the hell is goin' on around here?
I'm talkin' to you!
- Nobody out there's talkin' to me.
- Less talk, more work.
They're my friends, and they're gonna stay
my friends. I'm quittin' right here and now.
- You're speedin' 'em up to weed 'em out!
- You knew all that.
Well, I was greedy, and I was dumb. Now I'm
sorry, so you can just go ahead and fire me.
No, we won't do that. We'll put you
back to work in the weaving room, Norma.
Your family's been with this mill a long time.
- Good mornin'!
We're all ready.
All of you?
All three of us.
- Well, then, everybody hop in!
- OK. Millie, you can climb in yourself.
- OK, now, be careful. Don't fall down.
- What's your name, big guy?
That's Craig and this is Mi... Craig,
I want you to put your seat on the floor.
- Bye, Mama!
I wanna sit up front.
- Well, you can't.
- Are we there yet?
No, we're not there yet, you silly willy.
Goodness sakes. We just started off.
- I thought we were goin' to the lake.
- We are. I gotta make a stop first.
Well, you should've done that
before you got in the car.
This is Alice.
Well, like I always say, the more the merrier.
OK. You gonna watch what you're doin' now?
- Next time, you get up there yourself.
- Alice, over here!
Sure easy with your kids.
I yell at 'em. I swat 'em.
Look at this!
You're a pretty woman.
I was good at but things
have kinda slipped and slid.
You look all right to me.
Keep the lights down low, I'm all right.
Well... I'll take you where it's dark.
I've been there.
I don't owe a nickel in this town.
I'll eat anything that's put in front of me.
I can fix anything electrical.
I'm all right after my first cup of coffee.
I want that bad, though.
I got me a new job at the gas station.
I turn my paycheck over
the minute I get it - that's every Friday.
And I come straight home
from work. And I stay there.
I got me and Alice.
You got your two kids. You're alone.
If you could help me...
maybe I could help you.
It's been a long time between offers.
If that's all right...
then everythin' else will be.
And now, by the authority
vested in me by this sovereign state,
I pronounce you man and wife.
If you like, you may kiss the bride.
Mother over here has a little home-made wine
for us. Picked the berries myself last summer.
Thank you, ma'am.
To my wife Norma Rae.
I just hope I can keep up with her.
Roscoe says I shouldn't go,
but I think I'm gonna.
I'm not askin' anybody. I'm goin'.
On October th,
Isaac Abraham Warshawsky, aged
died in his sleep in New York City.
On the following Friday morning
his funeral was held.
My mother and father attended.
My two uncles from Brooklyn attended,
and my Aunt Minnie came up from Florida.
Also present were members of
the Amalgamated Clothing Workers
and the Cloth Hat and Cap Makers
Unión of America,
also members of his family.
In death, as in life, they stood at his side.
They had fought battles with him,
bound the wounds with him,
had earned bread together,
and had broken it together.
When they spoke, they spoke in one voice,
and they were heard.
And they were black and white.
They were Irish and Polish.
And they were Catholic, and they were Jews.
And they were one.
That's what a unión is.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the textile industry in which you are
spending your lives and your substance,
and in which your children and their children
will spend their lives and their substance,
is the only industry in the whole of the United
States of America that is not unionised.
Therefore they are free to exploit you,
to lie to you, to cheat you, and to take away
from you what is rightfully yours.
Your health. A decent wage.
A fit place to work.
I would urge you to stop them... by coming
over to room at the Golden Cherry Motel
to pick up a unión card and sign it.
Yes, it comes from the Bible.
"According to the tribes of your fathers
ye shall inherit."
But it comes from Reuben Warshawsky:
"Not unless you make it happen."
Thank you, Reverend. I appreciate it.
Everybody should have come and heard you.
- Next time.
- Uh-huh. If I have to drag 'em.
- You preach good.
- When you gonnajoin up?
- Me? Who's got the time?
- Make time. Sleep less.
Cos if I don't get some help soon,
I'm outta here and you got nothin'.
Hey. I appreciate any help - thank you -
that you can possibly give me.
Uh... Lickin' stamps, stuffin' envelopes,
typin' with two fingers, anything.
- I'll show up.
- All right. Thanks.
I'm here. I'm ready to inspect your plant.
The federal government of the US,
in accordance with federal court order
number states the following:
"The unión has the right to inspect
bulletin boards in the mills once a week
to verify in person that its notices
are not being stripped off."
- Do you have a trash can?
- Keep America beautiful.
- How are ya?
- Am I movin' too quick for you or somethin'?
I did my running when I was in the army.
I'm not in the army now, brother.
- If you're outta shape, I'll slow down a little.
- Appreciate it.
Let's keep it to a basic saunter.
Good morning! I'm Reuben Warshawsky
of the Textile Workers Unión of America.
- What's your name, brother?
- How long have you worked here, sir?
Do you like your job?
- I'd like to keep it.
- Yes, sir.
Warshawsky, you're interferin' with the work.
The court order says you can't do that.
Well, then, brother, let us both
keep to the letter of the law.
I ain't got no kike brother.
- I don't think you meant to say that.
- I meant it.
You did, huh? Well, shit, now I'm gonna
have to stop and get into a fight, huh?
- Come on. The bulletin board's over here.
- The bulletin board's over here.
Somebody's lookin' to get into a car pool.
Somebody wants to sell a basset pup.
And you can pick pecans for cents a
bushel at Selma Landing. Isn't that terrific?
The only thing missing is my notice.
It is? I don't see it!
Wilt Chamberlain on stilts
could read that thing, maybe.
Wanna bring it down to eye level,
brothers, where everybody can read it?
We'll make note of your request.
Why do you guys pull this horseshit, huh?
I have to go to the phone, call my lawyers
and get 'em on your ass. That's childish!
- Where's the phone? Who's got two nickels?
Briggs, bring it down.
Eye! Eye level! Eye.
You ain't supposed to read the damn thing.
No unión organiser,
not even a known unión member
has been inside the fences and walls of this
factory for more than ten years. I'm readin' it.
- Well, read fast, then.
- While I'm readin' this,
you read the court order that says any agent
of this company can be held in contempt.
You're messing with a contempt citation.
If you're hot for jail, keep it up.
- I ain't violatin' no laws.
- You're violatin' the law now, baby.
- Can we finish this?
- Where's the other board?
- In the weavin' room.
- You wanna show it to me?
- Hell, yeah!
Good mornin'! How are ya? Mornin'!
Good mornin'! Mornin'!
Good mornin' to ya. I'm Warshawsky,
Textile Workers Unión of America.
Good morning! Mornin' to ya.
Good mornin', ma'am.
Good morning. Warshawsky,
Textile Workers Unión of America.
Good morning. Good morning to you, ma'am.
Good morning! I'm in room the Golden
Cherry Motel, if you have any questions.
Good mornin' to ya!
Gentlemen, your average
working man is not stupid.
He just gets tired!
You wanna move this outta here, please?
Move it! Move the stuff!
- You busy?
- Oh, yeah. Very busy.
- Well, can I come in?
Don't they ever clean up around here?
I don't want them messin' up my stuff.
I know where everything is.
- If I joined up with you, would I lose my job?
- No way.
You can wear a unión button
as big as a Frisbee when you go to work.
You can talk unión to any mill hands that
wanna listen, as long as it's during a break.
You can take unión pamphlets to the mill.
There's not a goddamn thing
they can do to touch you.
I was never a very good Girl Scout.
I'll go along with you.
You're the fish I wanted to hook.
You got me. So what the hell
are you gonna do with me?
- Make a mensch outta you, kid.
- You are?
What is that?
Somebody who goes to the old folks' home
on Saturday morning instead of playin' golf.
Somebody who puts a dollar
in a blind man's cup for a pencil.
- I'd do that.
- Uh-huh. But would you take the pencil?
Of course. I paid for it.
Somewhere between logic and charity,
there falls a shadow.
- Reuben, if you put...
- We could debate this all night. Here.
"Norma Rae Webster."
How come everybody down here
has three names?
Come on, Wayne.
Lemme pin this old thing on you.
Cover up the gravy spot on your shirt.
Well, now, what do I get if I do?
You don't get nothin' if you don't.
Besides, ain't you had enough of that?
You and me, we used to heat up that
NCO club down at the base pretty good.
- Bygone days.
- Well... then pin it on me for bygone days.
Oh, good, Wayne! I'm so proud of you!
Do you think we'll ever see
that club again, Norma, honey?
Take your wife. She doesn't get out much.
Looks like you strayed off
the reservation, Norma.
Is that right?
You got your own
coffee machine at your end!
Yeah, but I don't got a water fountain, and
I gotta cool down my coffee afore I drink it!
You cool everythin'!
- Hey, Reverend!
- Norma, you caught me in my shirtsleeves.
Oh, that's OK.
Maybe we can have flowers out of your yard
for Sunday. Spider mites eaten everything.
Somehow I can help you, Norma?
How long I been comin'
to this church, Reverend?
Since you were a little girl.
That's right. I accepted Christ
when I was six years old, didn't I?
Well, would you call me a good Christian?
- With a lapse or two, I'd say so.
- "With a lapse or two."
- Would you call yourself a good Christian?
- That's for the Lord to say.
I want this church for a unión meetin' next
Saturday. Blacks and whites sittin' together.
- This is a house of God.
- I'm waitin' to see whether it is or it isn't.
You're comin' mighty close to blasphemy.
I've come here and said I sinned and I'm
sorry, and I asked for God to forgive me.
I wanna see what this church stands for.
I wanna see if you'll stand up and say
there oughta be justice, a unión,
and if you're smitten,
rise and the Lord'll be on your side.
And if you don't, then I say there ain't
nothin' good for me in that church,
and I'm gonna leave it flat.
We're gonna miss your voice
in the choir, Norma.
You're gonna hear it
raised up someplace else.
Y'all go in and sit down.
I'll be in there in a minute.
We're holdin' a meetin' at our house,
Jimmy Jerome. Unión business.
Afterward we're havin' lemonade
and cookies - ginger snaps.
I'll roll up the front shade so you can see in.
Washed my windows on Saturday.
You shouldn't have any trouble.
You're goin' too far now, Norma.
This is our home.
- How am I goin' too far?
- There's a bunch of black men in there!
- You'll get us in trouble.
- I never had any trouble with black men.
The only trouble I ever had
in my life was with white men.
I remember some of you
from the Chockoyotte church.
I did all of the talking that day.
Now I would like for you to speak.
A man's work should be a man's work.
And not a term in jail.
The black have been pushed,
pulled and scorned. For what?
If the unión is what everybody
believes it is, I'll follow all the way.
Excuse me for sayin' this
with menfolks in the room,
but, when I get my menstrual cramps,
which come pretty hard,
they don't let me sit down on my job.
They say you gotta keep to your feet
unless you bring a note from the doctor.
We wouldn't say we was sick if we wasn't.
You know, I look at a brick wall all day.
There used to be a window there,
but they come and brick it up
to give us the feelin' that we shut in.
My husband Averil
died of brown lung two months ago.
His children are gonna grow up
not even... knowin' him.
I got all his clothes if someone could use 'em.
I'm not gettin' the message across.
people out of .
Well... you're an outsider.
Things move slow here. This isn't New York,
where you grab a taxi and grab your hat.
Mama, Craig's wet the bed.
I told him not to drink Coke
afore he went to sleep.
Come on, sugar, wake up.
Get up. Put your arms
around my neck. Attaboy.
You got any ideas?
Yeah. Buy ajug of corn whisky
and meet me here on Saturday.
We're gonna hit the back roads.
Are you finished, honey? OK.
Now, no more Cokes afore you go to sleep.
How are you, Mr Robinson?
- How are you doin' today?
- I'm busy.
I'm Norma Rae. You know me.
- Yeah! How do you do?
- Good to see you.
- This is my friend Reuben.
- How you doin', Mr Robinson?
Listen, sir, why don't you read this,
if you will, sir, and I'll fix your tyre for you?
How about that?
- You've got a deal.
- Yes, sir.
- Do you know how to do this?
- I don't even got a car.
Let's look like we know what we're doin' here.
- Watch your hand.
- I think he was takin' this thing off.
- I know that.
- You makin' a baseball bat or somethin'?
Hey! Hey, Joe, how are you?
Read one of these, will you?
Hey! Hey, Jake! How you doin'? Will you read
one of those for me, please? Everybody.
Hi, James. I want you to meet Reuben.
He's a friend of mine.
How you doin', gentlemen?
- Would you like to read one?
Elwood? Bob, you wanna read one of these?
- I'm not interested.
- You're not interested in a unión?
Why? You think you'll get
a better shake from management?
- I always have.
- You always have, huh?
I'm glad you cut it.
That's telled him, Bob.
- Hey, Robert!
- Hi, Norma!
- How are you?
- We come out...
It's only grass and water, Reuben.
- This is where we swam when we were kids.
- Oh, yeah?
We'd come here after we'd hookied off from
school and shuck off our clothes and jump in.
The only water hole
I ever saw when I was a kid...
was when we used to open
the fire hydrant on th and Riverside
with a monkey wrench.
- This is the life!
- It's just an old mudhole.
It's terrific. It's coolin' off my mosquito bites.
Oh, well... this is as clean
as I'm gonna get this.
It is hot.
- I'm comin' in.
- Come on.
You know what?
There used to be this old farmer
that lived round here... with a BB gun.
- Sure hope he's moved away.
- Yeah. Me too.
What the hell is that? Get out...
There's somethin' flickin' around my...
- Those are minnows.
- Those are what?
- Minnows. They won't hurt you.
- They'd better not.
You sure are a fish outta water down here.
This is not exactly my native habitat. No.
Reuben, what would you be doin'
on a day like this at home?
Play some handball at the Y.
Go see Aida at the Met.
Eat Chinese. Play a little poker. Hit the sack.
I've been two places in my life.
I've been to Henleyville.
Been on down to Piston.
Oh, you'd love New York. You would. Wow!
Super town. Most beautiful
women in the worid.
Reuben... you're homesick.
You got a skinny build.
Sonny works out with weights.
I tried that.
I dropped 'em and broke my goddamn foot.
You don't gotta worry.
Cos you got a head on you.
And you use it.
I know why we got a bad connection here,
Henry. It's cos I think the line is bein' tapped.
Hey, you! Whosever listenin' in on this,
this is Norma Rae Webster, and I'm talkin'
unión to Henry Willis. I'm on every night.
Same old story. No commercials.
Unión, unión, unión.
Look, why don't you
have your bossman tap me,
and then you can go on home
to your wife and kids?
Henry, let... Henry!
You ain't gettin' any sleep.
I ain't gettin' any sleep and
we gotta get to work in the mornin'.
I got a hundred calls to make tonight.
- Is that goin' on our phone bill?
- Gonna take it outta my paycheck, all right?
Damn milk is sour.
I didn't have a chance to get to the market.
Oh, you didn't have a chance
to get to the market?
You didn't get to the washin', and you didn't
get to the kids and you didn't get to me.
- Is that right?
- That's right. That's right.
Damn TV dinners,
kids goin' around in dirty jeans!
I'm goin' around, uh, without!
You want cookin'?
You got cookin'.
You want laundry?
You got laundry.
You want ironin'?
You got ironin'.
You wanna make love? Get behind me and
lift up my nightie and we're gonna make love.
Hey. Hey, hey, hey. Hey.
Veta, come down to the Golden Cherry this
time. Don't just read it and nod your head.
Hey, Doris. Millicent. Come to the Golden
Cherry and bring your peanut-butter pie.
Hey, Vicky. Debra. How's your little one?
Heard he got the measles.
Keep him away from mine, will you?
Hey, Brenda! How's your new baby?
Listen, get on down to the Golden Cherry,
will you? I know you can type.
Hey, get on down to the Golden Cherry,
will you, and help us out?
Sue, now, come on, read this.
Every single word of it's important.
And come on down to the Golden Cherry.
Cos if I got the time, you got the time.
Well, I don't bump into you
much any more, do I?
- You all right, Daddy?
- About the same.
Your colour's bad. You been drinkin'?
- Thimbleful now and then.
- Well, you know it's not good for you.
Oh, honey, what's the difference? Sometimes
I wonder when I lie down if I'll get up again.
Don't talk old to me. I don't like it.
I'm gonna come over there
one of these nights real soon
and take you out to a grand supper.
How about that?
James, uh... coming back?
I guess so.
- Where'd he go? Home?
- I don't know.
Jeez. I oughta be goin' home too.
Hey... how's Dorothy?
She's terrific. Thanks.
I see you got a new picture of her.
Oh, yeah. You like it, huh?
My mother sent that.
She and your mother,
they must get along real well.
Are you kidding? My mother loves her.
She's a lawyer, she's lefto,
she's Jewish and she's a great cook.
What the hell else could she want?
How come she's so smart?
Oh, madame, your dinner.
Le grand banana and a beer.
Who's this? Dylan Thomas.
He was a poet.
A genius and a drunk.
What's he write about?
Love, sex, death.
Other matters of consequence.
- Is he hard to read?
- So why should I bother?
- Cos maybe he has somethin' to say to you.
Open that, will you?
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Well, I'll try him.
There ain't nothin' on TV but reruns anyway.
Hey, do me a favour. Don't eat while you read.
I can't stand banana in my books.
Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch!
Nobody came to the meeting.
- They got us on a stretchout.
- Oh, man.
Put us on a three-day week.
Twice as much work for half the pay.
- All on account of you.
- Hey, just a second, huh?
Now, you just stand there for a minute.
Now, there are six turnips
and two quarts of water in there.
That's supper for seven people.
- You just go sell your unión someplace else.
- Hey, I'm tryin' to get you...
My arm's gone numb on me, Jimmy.
I think I better go and lie down.
Y'all got a break comin' up
in minutes, Vernon.
- I think I better go now, Jimmy.
- Hang on, Vernon. Your break is comin' up.
Lucius, in a minute.
You get off at .
You're supposed to be here at . .
It's . . Where the hell you been?
You workin' for this unión or aren't you?
- I was gettin' my tooth filled.
- You were gettin' your beer gut filled!
Chew your old man out at home
and get off of me, Norma.
I'm just startin' in on you. Now, I'm givin'
nine, ten, eleven, twelve hours here.
That's every day. There's a pile of work.
We're doin' our share. Do your share
- or don't call yourself a unión member.
- Norma! Shut your cakehole.
- In fact, get the hell outta the office.
- What'd I do? I only said what was true.
Peter, get to work, man. Come on.
Let's go. Everybody back to work. Come on.
You're too muscular. You can't come down
that hard on the man and leave him his balls.
Jesus! If you were in
the State Department, we'd be at war.
- You're right. I got a big mouth.
You know, cotton-mill workers
are known as trash to some.
I know the unión's the only way we're gonna
get our own voice, make ourselves any better.
I guess that's why I push.
Our own Mother Jones.
She was some considerable lady. She made it
happen for the coal miners in West Virginia.
You ain't mad at me.
If the situation ever called for a smart,
loud, profane, sloppy, hard-workin' woman...
I'd pick you every time, kid.
Well, how come "sloppy"?
Nobody wears girdles any more.
- Why are you givin' it to me? I didn't order it.
- Well, hey, you ate it!
- What do you want?
- Warshawsky around?
Reuben's at the printer's.
Pretty late for the printer's.
Yeah, well, Reuben keeps him workin' late.
You're Norma Rae, aren't you?
I'm Mrs Webster.
We're from the unión headquarters.
This is Al London and I'm Sam Dakin.
Is that right?
Well, now that you're here, I might as well
give you my shoppin' list. Let me see.
We need some more envelopes and stamps.
We're almost outta typin' paper.
We could do with a loudspeaker.
How about some typewriters that don't stick?
- We're not in office supplies, Mrs Webster.
- And you aren't around here much, either.
Ah, hello, Reuben.
- Sam. How are you?
- All right.
- Gettin' fat.
- Put on a couple of pound.
- Al, how are you?
- Lousy. I got a cold.
What brings you guys?
You're not gettin' up
much of a head of steam, Reuben.
You've had my reports.
You know what I'm up against.
- We're worried.
- That makes three of us.
This is a small
Southern Baptist town, Reuben.
- You gotta keep your nose very clean.
- Well, you see any snot in mine?
Maybe, uh, Mrs Webster'd like to leave.
- Why should she leave?
- It concerns her. I'm tryin' to make it easy...
Ah, come on, will you, please?
It's late. What do you guys want?
Company wants us to look bad, they're gonna
use anything they can to make us look bad.
Reuben, the mill hands in this town
go to church every Sunday.
And she's talking unión to them.
They say she's made a porno movie with
a local police officer. Very explicit one.
- Show it to me.
- Oh, come on.
There doesn't have to be a movie,
just people talk like there's one!
The lady has an illegitimate child. She's slept
around. She takes naps on your bed at night...
I don't believe this.
Are we in the unión business
or the character-assassination business?
All of a sudden, after I put in an -hour day,
I got the legion of decency on my hands here.
She has broken her ass for this organisation.
She doesn't see her kids
or have time to take a bath.
What the hell do I care if she has round
heels? What is this? The Catholic church?
- It's your game.
- Goddamn right!
- She ought to go.
- Make it stick.
If you can't, get the hell outta here!
Just get the hell outta here anyway.
I'm sorry, Mrs Webster.
I don't wanna hurt the unión.
I'll quit if you want me to.
What were you doing sleepin'? You were
supposed to type some letters for me.
Hey. It's me, Norma.
OK, it's I, Norma. Will you forget the
grammar? I gotta talk to you right away.
Maybe you can meet me at my break.
Just makin' sure my kids
got home from school.
Your kids are with my kids
at the grocery store buying candy.
Maybe that's why
my dentist bills is bustin' me.
You want unión? You'll get unión! OK?
Break it up! Break it up!
Break it up!
Break it up! Break...
- You OK, man?
- You all right?
- What started this?
- They put up a letter.
They're tellin' the whites
the blacks are gonna take over the unión.
Tell a white a black's gonna
sit on him, this is what you get.
I love it when these pricks get mean.
We can take legal action. Get me the letter.
I can't take it off the board.
They're watchin' me.
- How's your memory?
- I don't know the Pledge of Allegiance.
Get somebody to help. Write a line at a time.
This reminds me of the time
I pinched a lipstick.
- Did you get caught?
- I went back for curlers.
- Then you know how to do it, kid!
and... control... it...
as... you... may... see... fit."
Damn! Damn! Damn!
"You black employees are being told
that by going into the unión en masse
you can dominate it and control it
in this plant as you may see fit."
- Where's the rest of it?
- That's all I could get.
- Mata Hari.
- They was watchin' us every single minute.
This is the best chance we got
to nail these bastards.
So don't tell me you can't remember it.
You walk up to it, you stand there
and you copy it down word for word.
Get the date, get the signature,
get it all and get it back here to me.
- I'll get fired.
- I'll run a benefit.
- Thanks a lot.
You wanna get massaged, go to a massage
parlour. Either we get beat or we don't.
I got three kids, a drawerful of bills and
a husband who doesn't like what I'm doin'.
- I'll do it. I don't need your boot on my ass.
- Goddamn sludge has been sittin' three days.
- I'm gonna tell you somethin'!
- What are you gonna tell me?
You've been here a long time.
You been all business. You're gettin' crabby.
Reuben, you need yourself a woman.
Funny you should mention it.
Tonight's the night.
- Well, what would Dorothy say?
- Wear a rubber.
- "...that... where..."
- You can't copy this letter!
- It's on the bulletin board. I'm gonna copy it.
- Norma, you better not.
I'm gonna take down every word of this.
It's my break time and I'm gonna
take down every word of this letter.
Just stay outta my way. I'm gonna
take down every word of this letter.
- Hello, Norma.
- Mr Mason. You know who I am. "...means..."
- Put the pencil and paper away.
- "...Ioss... of..."
- You stop what you're doin' right now.
- "...cause of..."
You're gonna leave. The law's gonna come
after you and take you right out of this plant.
Mr Mason, I started this
and I'm gonna finish it.
Let's go to my office, Norma.
Why did you make those personal
phone calls on company time?
I want you all to spell out your names for me.
Don't be foolish, Norma Rae.
Mr Mason, no one around here is on my side,
and I'm not gonna leave until I set down
all your names on this piece of paper.
Lady, I want you off the premises now!
You phone your husband.
You tell him to fetch you!
I want you outta here right quick!
- Norma Rae...
- Forget it!
I'm staying put!
Right where I am!
It's gonna take you,
and the police department,
and the fire department,
and the National Guard to get me outta here!
I'm waitin' for the sheriff
to come and take me home!
And I ain't gonna budge till he gets here!
Come on down now, Norma Rae.
Come on down now.
You heard what I said. Come on down.
I want you to put it in writin'
that Sheriff Lamar Miller is gonna
take Norma Rae Webster straight home,
and I want you to sign it,
and I want you to hand it to me.
Don't you tell me what to do, young lady.
You're getting nothing from me in writing.
- Mr Mason, you want her off the premises?
- Take her out.
I don't know if I wanna get in the same car
with you and nobody else.
Lamar... I ain't gonna bite you.
That's a police car.
You're taking me to jail! No!
- No! No! No! No! No!
- Quit that scrappin' now!
You're going' where we're takin' you!
You're goin' to jail!
- Get her feet in there.
No! No. No!
- Get in there, now.
- No! No!
- Get in there.
Get her in there.
Webster, Norma Rae.
Priesta Road, Henleyville.
She's white, female, .
Fair complexion, brown hair, brown eyes.
Arrest number B.
Charge, disorderly conduct.
Norma Rae, you're goin' with her now.
Might as well sit down.
You got one phone call.
Better call Sonny.
I'll be callin' my unión organiser.
I know the first time you're in is bad.
It comes with the job.
I saw a pregnant woman on a picket line
get hit in the stomach with a club.
I saw a boy of get shot in the back.
I saw a guy get blown to hell and back when
he tried to start up his car in the morning.
And you just got your feet wet on this one.
You all right?
I put the kids to bed.
Honey, wake up. It's Mama.
Wake up, sugar, I wanna talk to you.
Come on. Put your arms around my neck.
Alice, wake up. Millie, wake up.
I wanna talk to you, sweetheart.
Come on in the living room.
Come on. Attagirl.
I love you kids.
That's the first thing.
And Sonny loves you.
You got the both of us.
Second thing is...
Now, you're gonna be hearin' that,
and a lot of other things.
But you're gonna hear it from me first.
your daddy, his name was Buddy Wilson.
And he died four months after you was born.
I wasn't never married to your daddy.
And he wasn't Buddy.
And he's not Sonny.
He's another man.
And there have been others in my life.
You're gonna be hearin' about them too.
I'm not perfect.
I made mistakes.
Millie, these are pictures of your daddy.
Craig, I got pictures of your daddy.
They belong to you.
If you go in the mill,
I want life to be better for you
than it is for me.
That's why I joined up with the unión,
and that's why I got fired for it.
You understand me?
Now, you kids...
you know what I am.
And you know that I believe in
standin' up for what I think is right.
Go to the bathroom
before you get back into bed.
Take your pictures.
I'm gonna take a bath.
There's lice in that jail.
She had one call and she called you.
She knew I could make bail.
You come in here, you mix her up,
you turn her head all around.
She's all changed.
I didn't want that.
I didn't want her to be a frontrunner.
What's gonna happen to us now?
She stood up on a table. She's a free woman.
Maybe you can live with it, maybe you can't.
I busted my shoelace.
- There's another one in the drawer.
- I busted that one last week.
Did you ever sleep with him?
But he's in my head.
I'm gonna see you through gettin' tired...
I'm gonna see you through
anything that comes up.
And there's nobody else in my head.
Folks, ballots tabulated for
the OP Henley Company against the unión,
Now, for the unión, .
Yeah, we done it, baby! Unión!
Unión! Unión! Unión! Unión!
Unión! Unión! Unión! Unión!
Unión! Unión! Unión! Unión! Unión!
- You going to drive straight through?
- You better stop for coffee to stay awake.
- I got a Thermos in the car.
So, what are you gonna do now?
Now, you drop me a line once in a while, OK?
- Anyone read your mail?
- Well, my mother...
How about I send you
a copy of Dylan Thomas?
I already bought one for myself.
Nobody can do anything for you, huh?
You've done something for me.
Well, you did somethin' for us.
- What's that?!
- What is that?!
That's a good work.
I don't say goodbye. No.
I have been known to cry.
- Well, what do you say?
Be happy. Be well.
Same to you.
Uh... B-best wishes
don't seem hardly enough.
I'd like to thank you.
I do. I... I thank you for your companionship,
your stamina, your horse sense,
and a hundred and one laughs.
I also enjoyed very much...
Iooking at your shining hair
and your shining face.
Reuben, I think you like me.
I was gonna buy you a tie clip or shavin'
lotion, but I didn't know what you'd like.
Norma, what I've had from you
has been sumptuous.