7.4/10
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46 user 30 critic

Salt of the Earth (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 14 March 1954 (USA)
Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.

Writer:

Michael Wilson (by)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Geer ... Sheriff
David Wolfe ... Barton
David Sarvis David Sarvis ... Alexander
Mervin Williams Mervin Williams ... Hartwell
Rosaura Revueltas ... Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell E.A. Rockwell ... Vance
William Rockwell William Rockwell ... Kimbrough
Juan Chacón Juan Chacón ... Ramon Quintero (as Juan Chacon)
Henrietta Williams Henrietta Williams ... Teresa Vidal
Ángela Sánchez Ángela Sánchez ... Consuelo Ruiz (as Angela Sanchez)
Clorinda Alderette Clorinda Alderette ... Luz Morales
Virginia Jencks Virginia Jencks ... Ruth Barnes
Clinton Jencks Clinton Jencks ... Frank Barnes
Joe T. Morales Joe T. Morales ... Sal Ruiz
Ernest Velasquez ... Charley Vidal (as Ernest Velasquez)
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Storyline

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. Written by Bob Shields <rshields@igc.apc.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Banned! The film the US government didn't want you to see! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra See more »

Filming Locations:

Bayard, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rosaura Revueltas, who played Esperanza Quintero, was a noted screen actress in her native Mexico. After this film was distributed, she was accused of being a Communist and deported. Whilst she continued to appear in Mexican cinema, she never made another film in the US. See more »

Goofs

CC on the TCM broadcast misidentifies a music snippet as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," but it is actually "John Brown's Body" [aka "Battle Hymn of the Republic"]. See more »

Quotes

Esperanza Quintero: [opening narration] How shall I begin my story that has no beginning? My name is Esperanza, Esperanza Quintero. I am a miner's wife. This is our home. The house is not ours. But the flowers... the flowers are ours. This is my village. When I was a child, it was called San Marcos. The Anglos changed the name to Zinc Town. Zinc Town, New Mexico, U.S.A. Our roots go deep in this place, deeper than the pines, deeper than the mine shaft. In these arroyos my great grandfather raised cattle before the ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: our scene is NEW MEXICO LAND OF THE FREE AMERICANS WHO INSPIRED THIS FILM

HOME OF THE BRAVE AMERICANS WHO PLAYED MOST OF ITS ROLES. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Trumbo (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Not be Moved
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the women on the picket line
See more »

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User Reviews

History Comes to Life
22 August 2011 | by madre2See all my reviews

As a U.S.-born Latina whose family has lived in the northern New Mexico/southern Colorado region since the early 1700s, I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of this film. I was trolling through Netflix for something to watch one night when this popped up in my "suggested films" list. Boy, am I ever glad I watched it.

My grandfather was a coal miner in southern Colorado, and the coal-mining industry (and its effects on Hispanos of the Southwest) has been an interest of mine all of my life. Quite simply, this film brought history to life for me. The actors, location, themes, language, and other details were so authentic, that I felt I was watching a documentary at times. I felt a spiritual connection to my grandparents, who lived and worked in coal mining camps in the early part of the 20th century. I grew up hearing their stories, and the devastation of the Colorado Coalfield Wars and the Ludlow Massacre.

This is, quite simply, a stunning cinematic achievement, especially given that it was written and filmed in 1954. Sadly, many of the prejudices and themes in the film resonate today. Little has changed for many of the hardworking Hispanos who have called the Southwest home for centuries.


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