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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 17,930 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 60 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:

People who know the meaning of "The China Syndrome" are scared. 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

Columbia Pictures studio executives originally wanted to change the movie's title of "The China Syndrome". They referred to research that showed that the public tended to think that the word "syndrome" was a medical term associated within disease. The execs suggested alternative titles such as "Power" and "Eyewitness". Interestingly, during the next decade in the 1980s, Hollywood movies were actually made with those titles, and both films, Power (1986) and Eyewitness (1981), were both flops. However, actress Jane Fonda, with a lot of clout, made the studio accept "The China Syndrome" title. See more »

Goofs

Jack's shirt displays a bullet hole a beat or two before you actually hear a gunshot at the very end. See more »

Quotes

Greg Minor: [re evidence of a nuclear power plant accident] I may be wrong, but I'd say you're lucky to be alive. For that matter, I think we might say the same for the rest of Southern California.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Somewhere in Between
by Stephen Bishop
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Crackerjack thriller!
29 January 2006 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Intelligent, nail-biting drama came out of nowhere in 1979 and soon was on the cover of every newspaper in America (when life imitated the film). A nuclear power plant employee in Southern California is threatened by superiors when he decides to go public with the real story behind an accident at the plant. Ostensibly a stuck valve problem, a TV news-crew's film shows that it was an accident verging on disastrous proportions--and worse, that safety conditions are being scrubbed to save millions of dollars, a cover-up that endangers everyone's lives. The movie occasionally gets too technical (especially in the second-half) and could use more human interplay, however the performances by Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda (as a puff-piece news-woman in the right place at the right time), and Michael Douglas (as a freelance cameraman) are superb. The throwaway bits involving nuclear protesters is both entirely accurate and bitterly satirical, and the news-biz (with its corporate structure and vapid yes-men) is vividly captured. ***1/2 from ****


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