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Silkwood (1983)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Thriller  |  27 January 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 13,049 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 2 wins & 13 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?


In an interview with "Entertainment Weekly", director Mike Nichols said that this film was "the beginning of me exploring a more fluid, less conscious approach to movies." See more »


In a scene set in Washington, D.C. in 1974, a marching band can be heard in the background performing Kool and the Gang's "Celebration". The song was released in 1980. See more »


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


Featured in And the Oscar Goes To... (2014) See more »


Pretty Little Horses Lullaby
Written by Georges Delerue
Performed by Meryl Streep and Cher
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User Reviews

America the beautiful
31 July 2004 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

The lives of working class Americans are shamefully under-represented by Hollywood, and when a poor person is depicted (as something other than a criminal), it's almost always with the subtext of hope and the American dream. But hope isn't what drives someone, like the real-life Karen Silkwood, to risk her life working with plutonium for the only employer in a company town. Silkwood didn't find hope, but she did get scared, and angry, and put her job (and those of her colleagues) at stake to uncover dangerous practices before dying a mysterious death. 'Silkwood' the movie doesn't give us the glib conclusions of a conspiracy thriller (it refrains from giving an opinion on her cause of death), but it does give an excellent portrait of life at the bottom, and the mounting sense of claustrophobia and paranoia that accompanied Karen's perilous voyage of discovery. Meryl Streep does an excellent job in the title role, portraying a woman gradually losing her sanity, and the whole cast is good, even Cher in an unglamorous role. In conclusion, this is a serious and important film; and a reminder for the fortunate how hard, and ugly, life can be, even in the "land of the free".

41 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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