Tag Archives: Norma Rae

Film: The Movies of 1979


In this year of excellent movies, Kramer vs. Kramer won Oscars for Best Picture, Actor, Director, Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay. Uploaded by hundland.org.

What makes some movie years better than others? Perhaps it’s better studio executives making good decisions about which movies to “green light.” Maybe a particularly talented group of directors is working in the same era. Or maybe… it just happens that way. For whatever reason, 1979 was one of those outstanding years, and here are some of the reasons why:

10 – Bo Derek, Dudley Moore, and Ravel’s “Bolero.” Directed by Blake Edwards.

Alien – Did it belong in the sci-fi or horror category? Yes. Starring Sigourney Weaver, directed by Ridley Scott.

All That Jazz – Lots of dancing, lots of dancer drama. Starring Roy Scheider, directed by Bob Fosse.

…And Justice for All – “You’re out of order! This whole trial is out of order!” Al Pacino goes nuts, directed by Norman Jewison.

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Apocalypse Now – The true madness of Vietnam. With Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen. Directed by Frances Ford Coppola.

Being There – Peter Sellers’s tour de force as Chauncey Gardner. Directed by Hal Ashby.

Breaking Away – A father, a son, a bicycle race, a surprise hit. Directed by Peter Yates.

The China Syndrome – The movie that has crippled America’s nuclear industry. Starring Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon, directed by James Bridges.

Kramer vs. Kramer – Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep fight for custody of their child. Directed by Robert Benton. Won Academy Award for Best Picture.

Manhattan – I wanted to move to NYC after I saw this movie. I still do. Woody Allen directs, with Diane Keaton and Mariel Hemingway.

The Muppet Movie – The highest-grossing movie of the year. Directed by James Frawley.

Norma Rae – Sally Field proves she had true acting chops. Directed by Martin Ritt.

Actress: Sally Field

Sally Field is two-for-two in the Academy Awards, having won for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984). Uploaded by yourlifemagazine.com.

Chances are your age will determine which picture of Sally Field comes to mind first. She’s worked professionally in six decades now — and she’s only 63 years old.

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The first stage of her career focused on her television roles. First as Gidget, having taken the role originated by Sandra Dee in the 1959 movie, then in The Flying Nun for three seasons. She was adorably cute in both series, and as a result found herself unable to be taken seriously for dramatic parts.

Then came Sybil, a two-night television movie in which Field played a young woman with multiple personalities. Or dissociative identity disorder if you prefer. Either way, the film established her acting bona fides, earning her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.

That led to a couple of movies with her then boyfriend Burt Reynolds, most notably the cult favorite Smoky and the Bandit. Then came her biggest career break of all, the title part in Norma Rae, for which she won Best Actress in the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Cannes Film Festival.

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Other big hits followed, including Absence of Malice, Places in the Heart (another Oscar), Steel Magnolias, and Mrs. Doubtfire. She also starred in two smaller films that are among my favorites – Murphy’s Romance and Soapdish.

Now her career has come full circle, as she’s back on television on Brothers & Sisters, for which she’s won another Emmy and another Golden Globe.

I’ve always had a crush on Sally Field; I consider her one of the two cutest actresses in my lifetime (Meg Ryan is the other). But we all can respect Sally Field’s body of work, and she was right during her Academy Award acceptance speech in 1985: Sally, we can’t deny the fact that we like you, we really like you…