POSTED September 1 2013

Celebrating Labor Day cinematically


John Raitt and Doris Day have a pajama party

John Raitt and Doris Day have a pajama party

The most inspirational Labor Day movies are those that implicitly argue that honest workers build honest unions. Thus Harlan County USA, Norma Rae and The Pajama Game are personal favorites.

In these days of labor’s diminished role in America, have there been any films to equal The Molly Maguires, On the Waterfront and Blue Collar?

Apart from the upstairs/downstairs narratives of The Devil Wears PradaThe Help and The Butler, finding it hard to think of recentish movies told from the workers’ perspectives. You?



  1. wwolfe says:

    The only two instances I can think of are tucked away in movies that really have nothing to do with the idea of labor: the teenage kids working their various jobs in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (the discussion between Judge Reinhold and another guy about what constituted the “secret sauce” at their respective fast food joints was very true to life) and the teachers trying to make do with inadequate supplies in “The Faculty.” I think American movies shy away from this topic because the idea that there are upper and lower classes is taboo in our country.

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