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The China Syndrome (1979)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  16 March 1979 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 18,342 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 63 critic

A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Scott Brady ...
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Peter Donat ...
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Daniel Valdez ...
Stan Bohrman ...
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Michael Alaimo ...
Donald Hotton ...
Khalilah Ali ...
Paul Larson ...
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Storyline

While doing a series of reports on alternative energy sources, an opportunistic reporter Kimberly Wells witnesses an accident at a nuclear power plant. Wells is determined to publicise the incident but soon finds herself entangled in a sinister conspiracy to keep the full impact of the incident a secret. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Today, only a handful of people know what it means... Soon you will know. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El síndrome de China  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 8,390,477 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Small composed a complete musical score for this film, but director James Bridges and the producers of the film did not like it. This is why the film was completely devoid of music except for the song sung by Stephen Bishop at the beginning of the film. In 2009 Intrada Records released and extremely limited (1000 copies) CD of Small's score which sold out in 24 hours. See more »

Goofs

When a reactor is "SCRAM"ed it does not initiate the use of massive cooling systems. The SCRAM process is the rapid (4 second or less) insertion of the control rods into the core which shuts the reactor down by absorbing the neutrons. If the control rod SCRAM fails, then the reactor can be SCRAMed by using a neutron absorbing liquid injected into the core from pressurized tanks (no pumps.) Also, in addition to the cooling pumps, there is an Emergency Core Cooling System which injects a large amount of cooling water into the core if the primary colling system fails. See more »

Quotes

Bill Gibson: Mr. Mc Cormack I can't take responsibility for this.
Evan Mc Cormack: What's your alternative? Let this maniac wash out a billion dollar investment? At least this buys time, it will take the press an hour to get here.
Bill Gibson: I wouldn't count on it.
Evan Mc Cormack: I'm counting on you to take care of the goddamn press. Now you do your job and I'll do mine.
Bill Gibson: Yes sir.
See more »


Soundtracks

Somewhere in Between
by Stephen Bishop
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Art imitates life
17 December 2002 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

As someone who lives a sneeze away from TMI, I can tell you how this movie was received in my area...people were terrified.

The administrators at TMI were hardly forthcoming about the situation. Some of the advice we got now seems laughable; I was in HS at the time, and for our protection, the teachers closed all the windows...wow. My one social studies teacher went to see the movie, and when they got to the part about the meltdown destroying an area the size of PA, he said that people started screaming.

So this movie is pretty surreal for me; it seems that it was only dumb luck that kept the plant from a meltdown. Every now and then I drive past it, and it still seems as sinister as it did then. Watching "The China Syndrome" seemed like watching the local news.


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