Category Archives: A: Highly Recommended Labor Films

Bread and Roses (2000)

110m; U.S.

Director: Ken Loach

Cast: Pilar Padilla, Adrien Brody and Elpidia Carrillo

Synopsis (IMDB): Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers’ union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its “justice for janitors” campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she’s also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide.




Billy Elliot (2000)

110m; UK

Director: Stephen Daldry

Cast: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters and Jean Heywood

Synopsis (IMDB): County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy’s poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferred to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey, encourages Billy’s desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother’s opposition to indispensable support.




Cradle Will Rock (2000)

132m; U.S.

Director: Tim Robbins

Cast: Hank Azaria, Rubén Blades and Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, Carey Elwes, Vanessa Redgrave

Synopsis (IMDB): In 1930s New York Orson Welles tries to stage a musical on a steel strike under the Federal Theater Program despite pressure from an establishment fearful of industrial unrest and red activity. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller gets the foyer of his company headquarters decorated and an Italian countess sells paintings for Mussolini.




The Company Men (2010)

104m; U.S.

Director: John Wells

Cast: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner   

Synopsis: A year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company – and how that affects them, their families, and their communities.





Chicken Run (2000)

84M; U.S.         

Director: Peter Lord/Nick Park        

Cast: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha and Phil Daniel

Synopsis (IMDB): Having been hopelessly repressed and facing eventual certain death at the chicken farm where they are held, Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken decide to rebel against the evil Mr. and Ms. Tweedy, the farm’s owners. Rocky and Ginger lead their fellow chickens in a great escape from the murderous farmers and their farm of doom.



Clerks (1994)

92M; U.S.   

Director: Kevin Smith    

Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson and Marilyn Ghigliotti

Synopsis: A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.


Chop Shop (2007)

84m; U.S.

Director: Ramin Bahrani


Synopsis: Latino street orphan lives and works in an auto-body repair shop in a sprawling junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, New York.

Contact: Director: Ramin Bahrani Distributor: Koch Lorber Suzanne Fedak ; Dan Sherman ; Jeb Brody Big Beach 41 Great Jones St. Fifth Floor New York, NY 10012 P: 212-473-5800 F: 212-473-5805



For Man Must Work or The End of Work (2000)

52m; Canada

Director: Jean-Claude Burger

Synopsis: Globalization and the impacts of plant closings.

Contact: First Run/Icarus Films 718-488-8642 f 718-488-8900 v Tom Hyland


The Full Monty (1997)

91m; U.K.

Director: Peter Cattaneo

Cast: Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Addy

Synopsis: Six unemployed steel workers form a male striptease act.  The women cheer them on to go for “the full monty” – total nudity.






The Great Pretenders (2007)

30m; U.S.

Director: Jeremy Cohen

Cast: Raniah Al-Sayed, Keith Brown and Al Bundonis

Synopsis (IMDB): A biting satire from the front lines of the American workplace, where layoffs are so routine they’ve created their own industry – outplacement. Elite Transition Services promises laid-off worker Scott Matter help finding a job and getting back on his feet. But as the job search grows increasingly desperate, Scott finds himself caught in a corporate purgatory where the absurdities of office life are brought into vivid relief.