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The Chain Reaction (1980)

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An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arna-Maria Winchester ...
Ross Thompson ...
Ralph Cotterill ...
Lorna Lesley ...
Richard Moir ...
Jr. Const. Pigott
Patrick Ward ...
Laurie Moran ...
Police Sgt. McSweeney
Michael Long ...
Bill McCluskey ...
Margo Lloyd ...
Tim Burns ...
Survey driver
Arthur Sherman ...
Byron Langley
Barry Donnelly ...


An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will poison the groundwater for hundreds of miles around, and wants to warn the public. His boss, however, is only interested in protecting himself, and believes the accident should be covered up, even at the expense of thousands of lives. Heinrich escapes from the facility, but is too badly injured to get very far. Lost in the woods and suffering from amnesia, he is rescued by Larry, an auto mechanic on vacation with his wife, Carmel. As Heinrich tries to piece together his memories of what happened, his boss' thugs are quickly closing in on the trio. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mad Max meets The China Syndrome See more »


Action | Drama | Sci-Fi


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 September 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Nuclear Run  »

Box Office


AUD 450,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


George Miller was originally scheduled to direct this movie but Miller withdrew from the project but ended up directing (uncredited) stunt sequences and second unit only. Miller is credited as an associate producer on the film. Miller ended up directing the second-unit and stunt sequences more out of necessity than invention as this was because the production was running over schedule and running out of money. See more »


When Larry runs over a Pluto's Man, the man is seen rolling off the windscreen into the back trailer of the Ute, but when the camera cuts to the inside of the Ute, the camera has a clear view of the back of the Ute, and no one is there, but in the next shot when he reaches for Carmel, he is on the roof of the Ute. It's not possible to get on top of the Ute from the trailer in that span of time, especially at the high speeds that Larry was traveling throughout the car chase. See more »


Eagle: Listen, WALDO isn't exactly human. WALDO is a multinational corporation, working the ass-end of the nuclear cycle. Professor Heinrich and I once conjected the possibility of a high-level nuclear excursion, thats a link! Now, last night, he reversed charged a call from here, and he was cut-off before I could get the details, but it was quite obvious that he was in BIG TROUBLE!
Larry: Do me a favor mate, I've got enough trouble of my own!
Eagle: [Points outside to plane flying over] Thats trouble laddy! And ...
See more »


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User Reviews

The Aussie Syndrome
31 December 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Interesting eco thriller made in Australia in 1979 that was pipped at the post by THE CHINA SYNDROME almost in release at the same time. Produced by versatile industry go getter David Elfick (NEWSFRONT, STARSTRUCK, UNDERCOVER and Exec Prod on RABBIT PROOF FENCE) The CHAIN REACTION went over very well as a drive in movie for the thinking Mad Max crowd. It even has several of MAX's stars. With great stunt and car chase work and a genuinely believable story set slightly in the future CR will be a fun DVD release if out-takes and interviews are included. It looked terrific on a cinema movie screen and I guess will become an intelligent action staple if you have a big plasma TV at home. Elfick never makes the same movie twice and a scan through his CV on this site will let you access an astonishing range of Ausralian feature films. One is even called AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WAYS..about fooling blind Dad that he is on a holiday when really he never leaves the The Farrelly Bros should update and remake.

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