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The Chain Reaction (1980)

An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will ... See full summary »

Director:

Ian Barry

Writer:

Ian Barry
Reviews
7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Bisley ... Larry
Arna-Maria Winchester ... Carmel
Ross Thompson Ross Thompson ... Heinrich
Ralph Cotterill Ralph Cotterill ... Gray
Hugh Keays-Byrne ... Eagle
Lorna Lesley Lorna Lesley ... Gloria
Richard Moir ... Jr. Const. Pigott
Patrick Ward Patrick Ward ... Oates
Laurie Moran Laurie Moran ... Police Sgt. McSweeney
Michael Long Michael Long ... Doctor
Bill McCluskey Bill McCluskey ... Ralph
Margo Lloyd Margo Lloyd ... Molly
Tim Burns ... Survey driver
Arthur Sherman Arthur Sherman ... Byron Langley
Barry Donnelly Barry Donnelly ... Gateman
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Storyline

An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will poison the groundwater for hundreds of miles around, and wants to warn the public. His boss, however, is only interested in protecting himself, and believes the accident should be covered up, even at the expense of thousands of lives. Heinrich escapes from the facility, but is too badly injured to get very far. Lost in the woods and suffering from amnesia, he is rescued by Larry, an auto mechanic on vacation with his wife, Carmel. As Heinrich tries to piece together his memories of what happened, his boss' thugs are quickly closing in on the trio. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A fast drive to Paradise turns into a nuclear nightmare ! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1980 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Nuclear Run See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 450,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Palm Beach Pictures See more »
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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie's working titles were 'The Man at the Edge of the Freeway' and 'Nuclear Run'. The longer of these titles was considered too long and pretentious. Moreover, producer David Elfick did a manual search of film titles starting with the wording 'The Man' and found them to be box-office disappointments. Elfick also suggested 'Contaminated' to be this movie's title. In the end, the title was changed to 'The Chain Reaction' in order to have a title with more impact. This title was apparently conceived by Hans Pomeranz. See more »

Goofs

When Larry shoots the man off the roof of his Ute, buildings are clearly visible in the background, but after the camera cuts from inside the car back to the outside, the man is seen falling off the Ute, and there are no buildings in the background. See more »

Quotes

Larry: Settle down? This guy comes burstin in here in the middle of the night from the middle of nowhere lookin like a... a front row ford spat out of a grand final scrum - and he won't tell us the score - and you tell me to settle down...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ozploitation Trailer Explosion (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Terrific 'Mad Max' (Sort-Of) Prequel
10 July 2008 | by seanmoliver64See all my reviews

'The Chain Reaction' was made by many of the same actors and crew who made the first - and best - 'Mad Max' movie. Although the IMDb credits don't share too many names, the style, photography and direction are so uncannily similar, that George Miller must've been more involved with 'The Chain Reaction' than just as co-producer. The two films are practically twins. Even the car-chase scenes are alike, which is good.

The plot could easily serve as a prequel to Mad Max; an accident at an Austrailian nuke disposal site out in the boonies results in catastrophic radiation leakage which will poison the area's water table. The evil corporation that owns the disposal site is trying to hush up the accident by sealing off the area, but some eco-activists have been in contact with one of the scientists at the site, and they find out about it. The scientist took a huge dose of plutonium during the accident and only has 3 days to live, but hotheaded motorhead dude Larry (played by Steve Bisley - 'The Goose' in 'Mad Max') and his wife get tangled up in the unfolding crisis...

Many of the local inhabitants appearing in 'The Chain Reaction' also played similar characters in 'Mad Max'. They don't necessarily play the exact same parts, but it is not a stretch to imagine that after the nuclear catastrophe has devastated their environment, they all evolved into the desperate characters of 'Mad Max'.

It appears (to me anyway) that 'The Chain Reaction' was filmed first, since one of the characters seems to say "It's 1977, mate...", but I'm not quite sure about this. The haircuts and clothes are definitely mid-70's, (flared jeans etc) while Mad Max has a later, more punkish late-70's look.


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