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Silkwood (1983)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Thriller  |  27 January 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 13,033 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 76 user | 31 critic | 10 from

The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.


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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Stone
Charles Hallahan ...
Earl Lapin
Max Richter
Sudie Bond ...
Thelma Rice
Henderson Forsythe ...
Quincy Bissell
E. Katherine Kerr ...
Gilda Schultz
Mace Hurley
J.C. Quinn ...
Curtis Schultz


Fairly accurate recounting of the story of Karen Silkwood, the Oklahoma nuclear-plant worker who blew the whistle on dangerous practices at the Kerr-McGee plant and who died under circumstances which are still under debate. Written by Susan C. Mitchell <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, an employee of a nuclear facility, left to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. She never got there.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El caso Silkwood - Escándalo nuclear  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Karen Silkwood's real-life boyfriend at the time, Drew Stephens, saw the film, he was very moved. "It was magic," he told People magazine. "It makes a human being out of Karen instead of a myth." See more »


After Karen's first contamination, she and Drew are at home and Drew is laid out on the bed playing his banjo and black (X) marks can clearly be seen on the quilt. These are not actor position marks, but (repeating) parts of the quilt pattern. Drew's body lining up on the marks is just chance. See more »


[first lines]
Man on the intercom: Name?
Karen Silkwood: Karen Silkwood.
Drew Stephens: Drew Stephens.
Dolly Pelliker: Dolly Pelliker.
See more »


Referenced in Supernatural: Devil May Care (2013) See more »


Amazing Grace
Performed by Meryl Streep
See more »

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User Reviews

Whistle-Blowing Could Be Hazardous to Your Health.
3 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Intense 1980s flick that is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated role), a woman at a plutonium plant who began to talk about what really went on at the facility where she was employed. It seems that nuclear tampering would lead to the poisoning of the plant's employees and the pollution of the environment. Silkwood was about to talk to the New York Times about the Oklahoma plant when she died under mysterious circumstances in a car accident. The audience knows what is going to happen, but it is getting there that is the fascinating part. Mike Nichols' Oscar-nominated direction is arguably the best of his career, with the exception of his work on "The Graduate". Cher (also Oscar-nominated) proved that she was a legitimate actress as Streep's lesbian co-worker. Kurt Russell also gives his finest performance as Streep's on-again-off-again boyfriend. However with all that said, it is Meryl Streep who gives one of her finest performances in this memorable, remarkable and important motion picture. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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