7.4/10
22,769
109 user 63 critic

The China Syndrome (1979)

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

Director:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Daniel Valdez ...
Stan Bohrman ...
Pete Martin
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Michael Alaimo ...
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Khalilah Ali ...
Marge
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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An Element Of Risk  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$51,718,367
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Nicholson turned down the role of Jack Godell, as he was busy filming The Shining (1980). See more »

Goofs

Clock at 1:30:40 (when Jack is alone in a control alone) shows 3:20. When Kimberly joins him (1:39:08) clock shows 6:20. Screen time is a matter of minutes (up to hour) while clock shows 3 hours passed. See more »

Quotes

Jack Godell: I know the vibration was not normal.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits run in total silence. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Somewhere In Between
by Stephen Bishop
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Crackerjack thriller!
29 January 2006 | by See 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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