Silkwood (1983)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Thriller  |  27 January 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 13,193 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
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
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Did You Know?


The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Meryl Streep and Cher; and three Oscar nominees: Diana Scarwid, Tess Harper and David Strathairn. 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 The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) See more »


Amazing Grace
Performed by Meryl Streep
See more »

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User Reviews

It is worth the time!
5 April 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After watching Silkwood, I became fascinated and mesmerized by the true story behind it. I read the book, bought A&E biography video, and the History Channel's video: Contaminated, the Karen Silkwood Story. Despite reading other comments, I totally disagree about Karen Silkwood who probably saved more lives and lost her own to protect her colleagues and neighbors in Crescent, Oklahoma. If she had not spoke up in the seventies, Kerr-McGhee would still have a nuclear reactor plant in Crescent, Oklahoma. What most people do not know is that Karen's mysterious death haunted a huge ENronlike company. The plant closed in the following year. The shocking discoveries such as missing plutonium and horrible working conditions for its employees.

Two showers for the entire company! Karen Silkwood's life was tragically cut short but she did more in 28 years than most people can do in their entire lifetime. Meryl Streep played her wonderfully. Kurt Russell and Cher played their roles quite admirably. This film was showed to high school students who became equally fascinated by the story after viewing the history channel's video. After the film, they even wanted to watch the biography video. Now anything that can keep teenagers interested in plutonium and nuclear energy is worth all the trouble. This film's only criticism from the students was that there was too much smoking in this film. Granted, all the main characters smoked in the seventies. After all, I think lung cancer from smoking was far less riskier than working in a nuclear plant.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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