7.4/10
23,778
110 user 71 critic

The China Syndrome (1979)

A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Director:

James Bridges

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Daniel Valdez ... Hector Salas
Stan Bohrman Stan Bohrman ... Pete Martin
James Karen ... Mac Churchill
Michael Alaimo Michael Alaimo ... Greg Minor
Donald Hotton ... Dr. Lowell
Khalilah Ali Khalilah Ali ... Marge
Paul Larson Paul Larson ... D.B. Royce
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Storyline

While doing a series of reports on alternative energy sources, an opportunistic reporter Kimberly Wells witnesses an accident at a nuclear power plant. Wells is determined to publicise the incident but soon finds herself entangled in a sinister conspiracy to keep the full impact of the incident a secret. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Today, only a handful of people know what it means... Soon you will know. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 March 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Misuse Of Power See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$51,718,367
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Dreyfuss was originally cast as the cameraman but pulled out shortly before filming was to start and Michael Douglas, who also produced the film, was placed in the role instead. See more »

Goofs

When Jack Godell scrutinizes the trace which illustrates the vibration he is so concerned about, the close-up of the trace shows a barely wavering line with one incident of more violent activity. In the longer shot, showing Godell holding the trace, the line fluctuates to a far greater extent over its entire length. See more »

Quotes

Ted Spindler: He was not a loony. He was the sanest man I ever knew in my life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits run in total silence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wet Hot American Summer (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Somewhere In Between
by Stephen Bishop
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Crackerjack thriller!
29 January 2006 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Intelligent, nail-biting drama came out of nowhere in 1979 and soon was on the cover of every newspaper in America (when life imitated the film). A nuclear power plant employee in Southern California is threatened by superiors when he decides to go public with the real story behind an accident at the plant. Ostensibly a stuck valve problem, a piece of film secretly recorded by a TV news-crew shows that it was an accident verging on disastrous proportions--and worse, that safety conditions are being scrubbed to save millions of dollars, a cover-up that endangers everyone's lives. The movie occasionally gets too technical (especially in the second-half) and could use more human interplay, however the performances by Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda (as a puff-piece newswoman in the right place at the right time) and Michael Douglas (as a freelance cameraman) are superb. The throwaway bits involving nuclear protesters is both entirely accurate and bitterly satirical, and the news-biz (with its corporate structure and vapid yes-men) is vividly captured. ***1/2 from ****


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