Labor Themes in the Movies:
A Bibliography of Books and Articles in the UC Berkeley Libraries

This is a static page that is no longer maintained

Separate bibliography on On the Waterfront
Separate bibliography on Salt of the Earth

Bodnar, John E.
Blue-collar Hollywood : liberalism, democracy, and working people in American film Baltimore : John Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Full-text available online [UCB users only]
MAIN: PN1995.9.L28 B63 2003

Cade, Michel.
L'Ecran bleu : la representation des ouvriers dans le cinema francais [Perpignan]: Presses universitaires de Perpignan, 2000.
MAIN: PN1995.9.L28 C338 2000

Dittmar, Linda.
"All That Hollywood Allows: Film and the Working Class." Radical Teacher. Apr 30, 1995. , Iss. 46; pg. 38
UC users only

Foner, Philip S.
"A Martyr To His Cause: The Scenario of the First Labor Film in the United States." Labor History 1983 24(1): 103-111.
UC users only
"During 1907-10, antilabor films were numerous, often portraying strike leaders as dynamiters and killers and scabs as social heroes. The first film produced under labor auspices appeared in 1911 and was part of the McNamara defense movement. A Martyr to His Cause portrayed the life of John J. McNamara, the secretary-treasurer of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, who had been indicted with his brother, James B. McNamara, for the 1910 dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building." [America: History and Life]

Gillett, Philip (Philip John)
The British working class in postwar film Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press, 2003.
MAIN: PN1995.9.L28 G55 2003
PFA : PN1995.9.L28 G55 2003

Greene, Doyle
The American worker on film : a critical history, 1909-1999 / Doyle Greene. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, c2010.
Main (Gardner) Stacks PN1995.9.L28 G74 2010

Krausz, Peter
"Working it out: work and working life in the cinema." (Documentary And Genre)(Critical Essay) Australian Screen Education Summer 2003 i30 p178(4)
UC users only

Leonard, Suzanne
"I hate my job, I hate everybody here" : adultery, boredom, and the "working girl" in twenty-first-century American cinema." In: Interrogating postfeminism : gender and the politics of popular culture / edited by Yvonne Tasker and Diane Negra. Durham, [N.C.] : Duke University Press, c2007.
Main Stack HQ1190.I58 2007

Lesage, Julia
"Filmography of blue-collar movies." Jump Cut, no. 2, July-August 1974

Lipsitz, George
"Rank and File Fantasy in Films of the Forties," Jump Cut, no. 12/13, Dec. 1976, pp. 24-27

Lopate, Phillip.
"Hollywood Looks At The Business Office." New Labor Forum. Dec 31, 2001. , Iss. 9; pg. 79 UC users only

Looking at class: film, television and the working class in Britain
Edited by Sheila Rowbotham and Huw Beynon. London: Rivers Oram Press, 2001.
Main Stack PN1995.9.L28 L66 2000

Lopate, Phillip.
"Hollywood Looks At The Business Office." New Labor Forum. Dec 31, 2001. , Iss. 9; pg. 79 UC users only

Margolies, Ken
"Silver Screen Tarnishes Unions." Articles & Chapters. Paper 231. Cornell University ILR Collection at DigitalCommons

Memorable media moments in labor history. [Videorecording]
Through film excerpts and commentary this documentary presents an interesting and powerful survey of Hollywood films' treatment of union issues and worker's stories. Contents: Film excerpts: Salt of the earth -- Homefront -- Norma Rae -- Killing floor -- Designing women -- Matewan -- The organizer -- Nine to five -- Grapes of wrath -- A vision shared.
Media Resources Center Video/C 7703

Pfaelzer, Jean.
"Salt of the Earth: Women, Class, and the Utopian Imagination." Legacy. 16(1):120-31. 199

Puette, William.
Through jaundiced eyes: how the media view organized laborIthaca, N.Y. : ILR Press, c1992.
MAIN: P96.T7 P84 1992
IIRL: P96.T7 P84 1992
Contents via Google Books

Quart, Leonard, and William Kornblum.
"Documenting workers.(workers on film)." Dissent 48.4 (Fall 2001): 117(4).
Issues concerning images of labor as portrayed in moving images are discussed. Particular attention is given to portrayals of labor in the films of Ken Loach, including 'Bread and Roses' and 'Riff Raff', as well as 'Secrets of Silicon Valley' by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman.

Quart, Leonard and Auster, Albert
"The working class goes to Hollywood." In: Cinema, politics, and society in America / edited by Philip John Davies and Brian Neve. Manchester [Eng.] : Manchester University Press, 1981.
Main Stack PN1995.9.S6.C5 1981b
Main Stack PN1995.9.S6.C55
Moffitt PN1995.9.S6.C5 1981)

Rabinowitz, Paula.
"Domestic Labor: Film Noir, Proletarian Literature, and Black Women's Fiction." Modern Fiction Studies. 47(1):229-54. 2001 Spring

Rogan, Michael; Moran, Kathleen
'How the Working Class Saved Capitalism: The New Labor History and The Devil and Miss Jones. Journal of American History 2002 89(1): 87-114
"Considers the unique contributions of The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) to the new labor history following the class struggles of the 1930's. Unlike earlier labor films, The Devil and Miss Jones was the "only classic Hollywood film to celebrate union victory," supporting the Congress of Industrial Organizations in its comedic plot and shifting from the dreary labor activism of the 1930's to optimistic New Deal unionism. The film also broke new ground in depicting the working class - especially working women - participating in modern mass culture, with leisure and consumption shown as benefits of unionized labor. By linking unionism with consumerism, the film prefigured the future dominance of capitalism over American society and working-class ideals." [America History and Life]

Ross, Steven J.
"American Workers, American Movies: Historiography and Methodology." International Labor and Working-Class History 2001 (59): 81-105.
UC users only
"Reviews scholarly examinations of the relationship between workers and film from the 1920's through the 1990's to illustrate two basic approaches: cinema scholars wrote about the images of workers in film; and labor scholars wrote about union activity in the film industry. The author suggests how the two approaches might be melded to explore forces that shape ideology and class focus, in an attempt to answer such questions as why films of different eras took different political and social perspectives relative to workers and how portrayals of workers shape social and political perceptions. The author provides partial answers and directions for research by examining the audiences for films, labor relations within the studios, censorship and government influence, and the internal economic systems of film studios." [America History and Life]

Ross, Steven J.
"Struggles For The Screen: Workers, Radicals, And The Political Uses Of Silent Film." American Historical Review 1991 96(2): 333-367.
"Recent studies by American and European specialists on mass culture have challenged the long-established view that amusement parks, movies, radio, and television were tools of the elite used to manipulate passive audiences. To the argument that ordinary people were creative receivers of these cultural products, the author adds that they were also producers of mass culture. Early in this century, American radicals and labor organizations made feature films and newsreels that challenged the representations of political and economic struggle shown in establishment films. In response, industry leaders, federal agencies, and state censors tried to block worker films, thus demonstrating that mass culture could become an arena of struggle between various groups and classes. This early 20th-century struggle within the motion picture industry was to shape its ideology and subsequent development." [America History and Life]

Ross, Steven J.
Working-class Hollywood : silent film and the shaping of class in America Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, c1998.
Main Stack PN1995.9.L28.R67 1998

Shafer, Steven.
"An Overview of the Working Classes in British Feature Film from the 1960s to the 1980s: From Class Consciousness to Marginalization." International Labor and Working-Class History (2001), 59 : pp 3-14
UC users only

Shull, Michael S.
Radicalism in American silent films, 1909-1929 : a filmography and history Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2000.
Main Stack PN1995.75.S54 2000

Shull, Michael S.; Wilt David
"The Labor Movement and the Working Class." In: The Columbia companion to American history on film : how the movies have portrayed the American past New York : Columbia University Press, c2003.
Full text available online (UCB users only)
Doe Reference Reference Hall PN1995.9.U64 C65 2003
Media Resources Center PN1995.9.U64 C65 2003
Moffitt PN1995.9.U64 C65 2003

Sefcovic, Enid M.I.
"Cultural memory and the cultural legacy of individualism and community in two classic films about labor unions." [On the Waterfront, Salt of the Earth] Critical Studies in Media Communication Sept 2002 v19 i3 p329(23)
UC users only
"On the Waterfront and Salt of the Earth are read as epideictics for the experiences of directors Elia Kazan and Herbert Biberman testifying before the House Committee on Un-American activities (HUAC). These films are self-conscious studies of the directors' principles in which union struggles serve as the vehicle for narrative analogies that express differing philosophies about a key tension in the American identity-that between individualism and community. Because these films represent the creation of meanings at two different synchronic sites within the culture, they offer opportunities to inspect how their messages are historically and culturally determined and how they are like, or unlike, the cultural memory of our own time. This rhetorical approach to reading cultural memory investigates the diachrony of contexts, requiring the rhetorical critic to act not only as an archaeologist of the moment of production, but also as a historian of the circulation of texts, and as a contemporary social moralist. Such a multi-layered approach is necessary for understanding the different cultural options and cultural force of On the Waterfront and Salt of the Earth." [Taylor and Francis]

Simson, William.
"Parades Amid the Standoff in the Cold Red Scar: Interpreting Film Images of Striking Industrial Operatives in the East Tennessee Copper Basin, 1939-1940." Journal of Appalachian Studies. 7(2):227-55. 2001 Fall

Stead, Peter.
Film and the working class: the feature film in British and American society / Peter Stead. London ; New York : Routledge, 1989.
Main Stack PN1995.9.S6.S74 1989
Moffitt PN1995.9.S6.S74 1989

Stricker, Frank
"Repressing the Working Class." Labor History; Fall90, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p454, 14p
UC users only

Walsh, Francis R.
"The Films We Never Saw: American Movies View Organized Labor, 1934-1954." Labor History 1986 27(4): 564-580.
UC users only

Winn, J. Emmett (John Emmett)
The American dream and contemporary Hollywood cinema / New York : Continuum, 2007.
Main Stack PN1995.9.L28.W56 2007
Table of contents

Working on screen : representations of the working class in Canadian cinema
Edited by Malek Khouri and Darrell Varga. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2006.
MAIN: PN1995.9.L28 W67 2006

Zaniello, Tom
Working stiffs, union maids, reds, and riffraff: an organized guide to films about labor / Tom Zaniello.Ithaca, N.Y.: ILR Press, 1996.
Main Stack PN1995.9.L28 Z36 2003
Moffitt PN1995.9.L28 Z36 2003
Main Stack PN1995.9.L28.Z36 1996 [earlier edition]
IIRL PN1995.9.L28.Z36 1996 [earlier edition]

Zieger, Gay P.
"Unions on the Silver Screen." Labor History; Winter82, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p67, 12p
UC users only


Ansen, David .
"Matewan." (movie reviews) Newsweek Sept 14, 1987 v110 p82(1)

Aufderheide, Patricia
"Filmmaking as storytelling." Cineaste Vol XV nr 4 (1987); p 12-15
Discusses US director J.S.'s career as a filmmaker and his new film "Matewan".

Brier, Stephen.
"A History Film Without Much History." Radical History Review 1988 (41): 120-128.
"Reviews the 1987 film Matewan, which is based on a West Virginia coal strike that led to the death of 10 miners in the small town of Matewan in May 1920. Director John Sayles is negligent in his use of history, failing to provide necessary background information on the strikers' motivation and disregarding any mention of important events that occurred in the months following the so-called Matewan Massacre. The film "flattened out, over-simplified and thus distorted a complex historical event." [America: History and Life]

Canby, Vincent
"Matewan." (movie reviews) The New York Times August 28, 1987 v136 p15(N) pC3(L) col 1 (21 col in)

Corliss, Richard .
"Matewan." (movie reviews) Time Sept 14, 1987 v130 p77(1) (563 words)

Dubofsky, Melvyn
"Matewan." (movie reviews) Labor History Fall 1990 v31 n4 p488(3)
UC users only

Fishbein, L.
"John Sayles' Matewan (1987): violence and nostalgia."Film & History Vol XVIII nr 3 (Sept 1988); p 63-67
Praises the film for its accuracy and political commitment.

Hess, John
"History, politics, style and genre." Jump Cut nr 33 (Feb 1988); p 30-37
Analyses the effects of genre conventions on the treatment of the historical class struggle in "Matewan" and "The Sicilian".

Isaacs, Neil D.
"John Sayles and the Fictional Origin of Matewan." Literature/Film Quarterly. 16 (4): 269-271. 1988.
Compares the dialogue of a scene from John Sayles' novel 'Union dues' with that in his later film "Matewan".

Kauffmann, Stanley .
"Matewan." (movie reviews) The New Republic Sept 7, 1987 v197 p24(2)

Maria Margaronis.
"Matewan." (movie reviews) The Nation Oct 17, 1987 v245 p427(2) (1210 words)

McGhee, Dorothy.
"Solidarity forever." (making of John Sayles's Matewan) American Film Sept 1987 v12 p42(5)

Rieser, Klaus
"Men in context : gender in Matewan and Men with guns." In: Sayles talk : new perspectives on independent filmmaker John Sayles / edited by Diane Carson and Heidi Kenaga. Detroit : Wayne State University Press, c2006.
Main Stack PN1998.3.S3.S28 2006
PFA PN1998.3.S3.S28 2006

Vecsey, George .
"Matewan." (movie reviews) The New York Times August 23, 1987 v136 s2 pH1(N) pH1(L) col 1 (38 col in)

Williams, John Alexander.
"John Sayles Plays the Preacher." Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review. 15 (4): 344-352. 1988 Summer.

Winn, J. Emmett (John Emmett)
The American dream and contemporary Hollywood cinema Published: New York : Continuum, 2007.
MAIN: PN1995.9.L28 W56 2007
Table of contents

Zappia, Charles
"Labor, Race, and Ethnicity in the West Virginia Mines: Matewan." Journal of American Ethnic History. Summer2011, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p44-50. 7p.
UC users only
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