Made in Dagenham

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Made in Dagenham Movie Poster Image
Uplifting tale of fight for equal pay; strong language.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

In a hostile environment against substantial odds, even those who seem powerless can prevail if their cause is just and they have courageous leadership. Everyone must stand tall together when facing discrimination and unfairness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The filmmakers make an effort to avoid stereotyping both men and women in this period piece. Rita O'Grady, a working class woman, is characterized as brave, smart, caring, and understanding as are women in the upper reaches of English society. Most of the corporate types depicted are concerned only with the bottom line and appear to see women as second-class citizens. They are balanced by a sympathetic male supervisor, some loving family members, and some men in the upper echelons of society who are willing to change their views.


A man has a brief nightmare which recalls a wartime experience. There is an off camera suicide; the character's shoes, hanging and swinging are seen as a scream is heard.


A couple is shown briefly, from the shoulders up and clothed, having sexual intercourse in a tavern  bathroom. In a factory with soaring temperatures, some of the women remove their shirts and work in their bras in several scenes.


Lots of hard-edged working class swearing, British style: "bollocks," "arse," "shitty," "dick," "s--t," "nard on," and numerous uses of "f--k."


The Ford Motor company is the chief villain in this film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Set in 1968, many of the characters (including the leading men and women) smoke throughout. There is some drinking at a local bar and at a party, several participants are drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that though this film is rated R, based on occasional vulgar language ("f--k" in numerous forms, "bollocks," "arse," "s--t'), and one short sexual encounter (shot from the shoulders up; participants are clothed), it is an educational and entertaining look back at a courageous period in the history of women's rights. Set in England, the working class dialect may be hard for an American audience to understand in some scenes, but it most likely will not impact the viewer's general grasp of the story. One secondary character has a violent dream and then commits suicide off camera. His feet are seen swaying above the floor as his wife screams upon discovering him. Assorted women of all shapes and sizes remove their shirts and work in their bras in an uncomfortably warm factory. Many characters smoke frequently and there is some drinking and drunkenness when the workers unwind in local bars.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykhan2705 April 2, 2011

awsome movie.

Set against the backdrop of the 1960s, MADE IN DAGENHAM is based on a true story about a group of spirited women who joined forces, took a stand for what was ri... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byhazelflower12 May 28, 2015


I really enjoyed this film.It does have swearing,sex and suicide in it,so I think it's only appropriate for kids aged 12 + .
Made in Dagenham follows the s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Labeled "unskilled," with poor working conditions and low wages, a stalwart group of women machinists who make upholstery for cars built by the Ford Motor Company take on the corporate hierarchy in this true story about a tenacious fight for fair wages and respect. Rita O'Grady (wonderfully played by Sally Hawkins) is their initially unsophisticated leader, but as Rita's smarts and perseverance evolve, so do the other women and their cause. They face rigid, arrogant executives, changing family responsibilities, and increasing pressure from male co-workers and their community. With the support of the fair-minded manager of the factory (Bob Hoskins), England's Secretary of State (Miranda Richardson), and some other surprising allies, Rita's initial skirmish over "skilled worker status" becomes a legendary fight for "equal pay for equal work," a revolutionary concept in 1968 when the story takes place.

Is it any good?

A film about the triumph of the underdog is not original, but done well and with heart, it's always affecting; MADE IN DAGENHAM is one such film. It feels authentic, has wonderful performances, and avoids sentimentality. Sally Hawkins sparkles in her role as "everywoman." The filmmakers have gathered an impressive array of supporting players, paid important attention to the detail of the period, and worked from a script that feels fresh even though the story can't help but be predictable. (Why would they have made this movie if Rita O'Grady and her followers had failed in their endeavor?)

Sad that it has an R rating which might keep many young people from experiencing this entertaining and moving lesson in gender politics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how times have changed or haven't changed with respect to women earning equal pay for equal work. Find out what statistics show nearly half a century later about male versus female earnings in the United States and Britain?

  • Three very different women were profiled in this film: a woman working in a factory, an educated stay-at-home mom, and a powerful politician. What did the film show that they all had in common? Were these women stereotypes, or did they challenge stereotypes instead?

  • The fim features a lot of drinking and smoking. Does it make a difference to you that the movie is set in a time when smoking was more common? What are the effects of watching smoking and drinking onscreen?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strong female characters

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