IMDb > The China Syndrome (1979)
The China Syndrome
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The China Syndrome (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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The China Syndrome -- A modern nightmare nearly becomes reality in this timely, tension-filled story about an incident ata nuclear power plant. Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon star.

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   20,603 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 38% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Mike Gray (written by) &
T.S. Cook (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The China Syndrome on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 March 1979 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Today, only a handful of people know what it means... Soon you will know. See more »
Plot:
A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A chilling, reality-based, horror film. See more (100 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jane Fonda ... Kimberly Wells

Jack Lemmon ... Jack Godell

Michael Douglas ... Richard Adams

Scott Brady ... Herman De Young

James Hampton ... Bill Gibson
Peter Donat ... Don Jacovich

Wilford Brimley ... Ted Spindler

Richard Herd ... Evan McCormack
Daniel Valdez ... Hector Salas
Stan Bohrman ... Pete Martin

James Karen ... Mac Churchill
Michael Alaimo ... Greg Minor
Donald Hotton ... Dr. Lowell
Khalilah Ali ... Marge
Paul Larson ... D.B. Royce
Ron Lombard ... Barney
Tom Eure ... Tommy

Nick Pellegrino ... Borden
Daniel Lewk ... Donny
Allan Chinn ... Holt
Martin Fiscoe ... Control Guard
Alan Kaul ... TV Director

Michael Mann ... TV Consultant
David Eisenbise ... Technical Director

Frank Cavestani ... News Reporter
Reuben Collins ... Sportscaster
E. Hampton Beagle ... Mort
David Pfeiffer ... David

Lewis Arquette ... Hatcher
Dennis McMullen ... Robertson

Rita Taggart ... Rita Jacovich
James Hall ... Harmon

Carol Schlanger ... Waitress (as Carol Helvey)
Trudy Lane ... Alma Spindler
Jack Smith Jr. ... Tom
David Arnsen ... KXLA Cameraman
Betty Harford ... Woman at Demonstration
Donald Bishop ... Hearings Chairman
Al Baietti ... Pro-Nuclear Witness
Diandra Morrell ... Sasha

Darrell Larson ... Young Demonstrator
Roger Pancake ... Gate Guard
Joe Lowry ... Security Agent
Harry M. Williams ... Fire Rescue
Dennis Barker ... Jaws of Life
Joseph Garcia ... Highway Patrolman
James Kline ... Jim
Alan Beckwith ... Technician
Clay Hodges ... SWAT Squad Leader
Val Clenard ... Val Clenard
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Paul Eastman ... Reporter (uncredited)
Michael Jeffers ... Board Member (uncredited)
Clyde McLeod ... Reporter (uncredited)
Robert S. Woods ... (uncredited)

Directed by
James Bridges 
 
Writing credits
Mike Gray (written by) &
T.S. Cook (written by) and
James Bridges (written by)

Produced by
Michael Douglas .... producer
Bruce Gilbert .... executive producer
Penny McCarthy .... assistant producer
James Nelson .... associate producer
Jack Smith Jr. .... assistant producer
 
Cinematography by
James Crabe (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
David Rawlins 
 
Casting by
Sally Dennison 
 
Production Design by
George Jenkins 
 
Set Decoration by
Arthur Jeph Parker 
 
Costume Design by
Donfeld 
 
Makeup Department
Bernadine M. Anderson .... makeup artist: Ms. Fonda (as Bernadine Anderson)
Kaye Pownall .... hairstylist (as Kay Pownall)
Don Schoenfeld .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
James Nelson .... unit production manager
James A. Dennett .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kim Kurumada .... first assistant director
Barrie M. Osborne .... second assistant director (as Barrie Osborne)
Joel Chernoff .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Rafael Caro .... art department staff
Rick Carter .... art department staff (as Richard Carter Jr.)
Joseph Hurley .... art department staff (as Joe Hurley)
Terry E. Lewis .... property master (as Terry Lewis)
William Maldonado .... construction coordinator
Richard McKenzie .... art department staff
Rudy Reachi .... assistant prop man
Ray Villalobos Sr. .... paint foreman (as Reynaldo Villalobos)
R. Chris Westlund .... lead man (as Chris Westlund)
S. Bruce Wineinger .... construction foreman (as Bruce Wineinger)
Jimmy Day .... labor foreman (uncredited)
Roy 'Bucky' Moore .... third assistant property master (uncredited)
William Ladd Skinner .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Fred J. Brown .... sound effects editor (as Fred Brown)
Willie D. Burton .... sound mixer (as Willie Burton)
Gene Corso .... sound effects editor
Les Fresholtz .... re-recording mixer (as Lester Fresholtz)
Marvin E. Lewis .... boom man (as Marvin Lewis)
Mary McGlone .... sound effects editor
Michael Minkler .... re-recording mixer
Lorane Mitchell .... sound effects editor
Arthur Piantadosi .... re-recording mixer
Samuel C. Crutcher .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Robert W. Harris .... cable person (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Bruce Mattox .... special effects assistant
Henry Millar Jr. .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Richard Edlund .... miniature photography
Michael L. Fink .... electronic consultant (as Mike Fink)
Richard E. Hollander .... electronic consultant (as Richard Hollander)
James F. Liles .... special photographic effects
Matthew Yuricich .... matte paintings
Stuart Ziff .... electronic effects
Peter Anderson .... visual effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Bob Harris .... stunt coordinator (as Bobby Harris)
Carey Loftin .... stunt coordinator
Hubie Kerns Jr. .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Bryce Guy Williams .... stunt double: Jack Lemmon (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
James O. Blair .... gaffer (as James Blair)
Robert Duggan .... best boy grip
Robert Isenberg .... camera assistant (as Bob Isenberg)
Hal Landaker .... video consultant
Tom Prophet Jr. .... key grip
Daryl Smith .... best boy electric
Peter Sorel .... still photographer
Mike Sweeten .... camera operator
Reynaldo Villalobos .... second camera (as Ray Villalobos)
John Szajner .... second camera assistant (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Stanzi Stokes .... assistant casting (as Stanzi Foster)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Aggie Guerard Rodgers .... costumer: ladies (as Agnes Rodgers)
Eddie Marks .... costumer: men (as Edward Marks)
 
Editorial Department
Francesca Emerson .... assistant editor
 
Location Management
Douglas E. Stoll .... location manager (as Douglas Stoll)
 
Music Department
Jim Henrikson .... music editor
Francesca Emerson .... assistant music editor (uncredited)
Dan Wallin .... score mixer (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Edward Baken .... transportation captain (as Eddie Baken)
Craig Pinkard .... transportation coordinator
 
Other crew
Marty P. Ewing .... production assistant (as Marty Ewing)
Debbie Getlin .... assistant: Mr. Bridges (as Deborah Getlin)
Richard Holley .... helicopter pilot (as Rick Holley)
Alan Kaul .... technical advisor: news
Ronnie Kramer .... production secretary
Doe Mayer .... video sequences designer
Ramon Pahoyo .... craft service (as Ramone Pahoyo)
Eileen Peterson .... publicist
Ken Ryan .... production auditor (as Kenneth Ryan)
Marshall Schlom .... script supervisor
Gayle Simon .... researcher
Teddy Stewart .... researcher
Richard Thomason .... helicopter pilot
David Arntzen .... production assistant (uncredited)
Blanche Bisbing .... assistant auditor (uncredited)
Dale Bridenbaugh .... nuclear technical advisor: MHB Technical Associates (uncredited)
Ron Eisenman .... first aid (uncredited)
Karina Goodman .... production assistant (uncredited)
Richard Hubbard .... nuclear technical advisor: MHB Technical Associates (uncredited)
Eileen McGuire .... accounting assistant (uncredited)
Gregory Minor .... nuclear technical advisor: MHB Technical Associates (uncredited)
Francesca Rivieri .... assistant to executive producer (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
122 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Canada:PG | Finland:K-12 | Netherlands:AL | Norway:12 (original rating) | Norway:15 (re-rating) | Singapore:PG | Sweden:11 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) | USA:PG (MPAA rating: certificate #23436) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Producer Michael Douglas spent the better part of a year having the film's screenplay properly developed with the film's three writers.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Jack sets down his coffee cup, just after the earthquake, the handle points towards the edge of the counter. In the close up the handle points to the corner.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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Somewhere In BetweenSee more »

FAQ

Is 'The China Syndrome' based on a book?
What is the China Syndrome?
Why is Godell so reluctant to testify about the plant's dangers?
See more »
39 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
A chilling, reality-based, horror film., 15 May 2002
Author: moveefrk from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"The China Syndrome" is perhaps the first horror film that is not necessarily following the rules of the genre. It takes place in the contemporary '70's, and features people in the normal profession of broadcast television news. But, when a news story about the leakage of nuclear energy breaks; let's just say - there is your monster.

Jane Fonda is absolutely superb as Kimberley Wells, an ambitious Los Angeles reporter relegated only to fluff pieces by her sexist boss (Peter Donat). She wants something juicier, and gets it, in the form of an accident at a nuclear power plant facilitated by Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon with expressions too numerous to count). Her hippie radical cameraman (Michael Douglas, who also produced) photographs the incident without the plant's knowledge and they both agree that public safety is a valid story. The network brass doesn't think so, and soon both Fonda and Douglas are entangled in a web of legalities concerning the tape.

The crux of the film is Lemmon's character. A man torn between loyalty to his company and telling the truth - even in the face of grave consequences. What makes this horror scenario so compelling is that these are true flesh-and-blood people stuck in the most extraordinary of circumstances faced with both a threat of cosmic proportions as well as a human one.

This is a remarkably chilling thriller, and I'm disappointed that it's not taken more seriously (as both art and tract).

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (100 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The China Syndrome (1979)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
That's a really good car chase, actually.. ajtaylor82
Jack's testimony at the first hearing mdgross50
"The system works, THAT'S not the problem!" bg_mog
Nuclear safety Rammu
Does anyone know the actual location of the powerplant? ajtaylor82
Nuclear, Schmuclear! Syxiepoo
See more »

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