7.4/10
27,127
127 user 82 critic

The China Syndrome (1979)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Director:

James Bridges
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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 ... Hector Salas
Stan Bohrman Stan Bohrman ... Pete Martin
James Karen ... Mac Churchill
Michael Alaimo Michael Alaimo ... Greg Minor
Donald Hotton ... Dr. Lowell
Khalilah 'Belinda' Ali ... Marge (as Khalilah Ali)
Paul Larson Paul Larson ... D.B. Royce
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Storyline

While doing a series of reports on alternative energy sources, a reporter, Kimberly Wells, witnesses an accident at a nuclear power plant. Wells is determined to report 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:

People who know the meaning of "The China Syndrome" are scared. Soon _you_ will know. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Michael Douglas creatively demanded a harsh realism for the film by not having any music score on the soundtrack except for the Stephen Bishop's theme song "Somewhere in Between". See more »

Goofs

During the opening credits sequence, the helicopter carrying the camera is reflected in the rear window of the Bronco. See more »

Quotes

Kimberly Wells: [defending her cameraman] He's good, I think he's good. He's won a lot of awards.
Don Jacovich: I'm sure. Hothead award, Foulmouth award, Can-of-worms award...
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Crazy Credits

The end credits run in total silence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Aerial America: Pennsylvania (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Somewhere In Between
by Stephen Bishop
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$51,718,367
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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