10 Best Labor Day Movies

Categories: Film and TV

Photo from the Kheel Center, Cornell University

You may be surprised to learn that Labor Day was not originally planned to be a weekend of barbecues and the last fun you can have before the school year starts. No, it was actually created by the US government in 1894 as a concession to the growing union movement. After several workers were killed by US Marshals during the Pullman Strike, a bill declaring a labor holiday was quickly passed through Congress and signed into law by President Grover Cleveland. So, when you've had your fill of beer and bratwursts, here are 10 films that can help you get into the original spirit of the holiday.

See also: 12 Labor Day Weekend Parties in Metro Phoenix

Norma Rae
Sally Field won a Best Actress Oscar in 1979 for her portrayal of Norma Rae, a single mother who worked tirelessly to unionize the textile mill at which she worked. The image of Norma holding up a fist and saying "union" has since become an iconic scene in film, and Sally Field's "You like me!" Oscars speech has become iconic, too.

Gung Ho
Michael Keaton starred in this dramedy that confronted one of the biggest fears of the 1980s: the economic power of the Japanese. When Japanese businessmen purchase a struggling American auto plant, worker liason Michael Keaton must mediate between labor and management and bring two cultures together. Keaton didn't win an Oscar for this, but he soon went on to become Beetlejuice and Batman, and that's a pretty good consolation prize.

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No way Blue Collar shouldn't be included here.

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