The FIGHT IN THE FIELDS: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers' Struggle

The United Farmworkers Union and its leader Cesar Chavez inspired Latino activism and involved millions in a nonviolent struggle for social justice.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
April 16, 1997
120 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1997 National Educational Media Network-Gold Apple
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1997 ALMA Awards-Outstanding Made for Television Documentary
  • Producer

    Rick Tejada-Flores

    Rick Tejada-Flores began working in television in 1969 in a minority training program at KQED in San Francisco. He served as unit manager/production supervisor for KNBC in Burbank, and as coordinating producer for the Latino Consortium at KCET in Los Angeles, where he created the national series PRESENTE! His credits include Low ’N Slow: The Art of Lowriding Show more (PBS); Go Chanting, Libre (PBS); Elvia: The Fight for Land and Liberty (PBS/Vistas series); Jasper Johns, Ideas in Paint, and Rivera in America (both for American Masters), and The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It. In addition, Tejada-Flores served as producer on the series The Great Depression, and has directed films on Hispanic history and culture for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Show less


    Raymond Telles

    Raymond Telles’ 35-year career in film and television includes the production of numerous documentaries and segments for PBS, ABC, NBC, National Geographic, Discovery and Univision. Among the more than 30 documentaries Telles has produced and directed are Inside the Body Trade (Nat Geo); The Storm that Swept Mexico; The Fight in the Fields; Children of the Night (Frontline); Show more and episode six of the PBS series Latino Americans. Show less

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    The Film

    The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle is the first film to cover the full arc of Cesar Chávez’s life. Using archival footage, newsreel, and present-day interviews with Ethel Kennedy, former California Governor Jerry Brown, Dolores Huerta, and Chávez’s brother, sister, son, and daughter, the documentary traces the remarkable contributions of Chávez and others involved in this epic struggle.

    The film follows the first successful organizing drive of farm workers in the United States, while recounting the many failed and dramatic attempts to unionize that led up to this victory. Woven through this historical mosaic is the story of Chávez’s life, from his adolescence as a migrant farmworker and his early days as a community organizer to the the pivotal 300-mile march he led from Delano to Sacramento and his friendship and landmark political alliance with Robert Kennedy.

    Chávez and many others helped bring about important changes in farmworkers lives. Many of these things are now taken for granted, such as getting fresh water and public toilets in the fields, and larger reforms across the industry. The film pays tribute to the tremendous advances made by Chávez and all the men and women of the United Farmworkers Union who fought for a stake in the American dream.