The China Syndrome

Drama | Englishs | 122 minutes

Info

Los Angeles television news reporter, Kimberly Wells, and her cameraman, Richard Adams,  are assigned to do a story about the nearby (fictional) Ventana nuclear power plant. While there, Kimberly and Richard are alarmed as the shift manager, Jack Godell, feels vibrations that may signal trouble. As Jack tries to control the situation,   Richard secretly films the incident. Jack further investigates and finds major structural problems. When Jack reports his concerns to his supervisor, he is dismissed and labeled  paranoid. Jack is also told  to do what he wants would cost the company $20 million. Later, when Jack is in the plant, he notices, contrary to his instructions, the reactor  brought up to full power. Fearing a meltdown, Jack grabs a gun from a security officer, clears the plant, and requests an interview with Kimberly. A SWAT team arrives, enters the facility, and kills Jack. Plant officials paint Jack as an emotionally disturbed man.  Twelve days later, a major nuclear accident happened at the nuclear plant at Three Mile River in Pennsylvania.

Cast
Jack Lemmon (Jack Godell) / Jane Fonda (Kimberly Wells) / Michael Douglas (Richard Adams)
Why Stream This Film?
When The China Syndrome opened, it was slammed by the nuclear power industry. They claimed it was “sheer fiction and a character assassination of an entire industry.” Twelve days later the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 86%
  • Metacritic Score: 81
Accolades
  • Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor (Jack Lemmon); Best Actress (Jane Fonda); Best Screenplay (Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges)
  • British Academy Film Winners: Best Actor (Jack Lemmon); Best Actress (Jane Fonda); Best Screenplay (Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges)
  • National Board of Review: Listed, Top Ten Films of the Year
  • Writers Guild of America Awards: Winner, Best Screenplay, Drama (Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges)
THE CHINA SYNDROME is a terrific thriller that raises the most unsettling questions about how safe nuclear power plants really are. But, above all, the movie is all entertainment: well-acted, well-crafted, scary as hell.
Roger Ebert

RogerEbert.com

A tightly assembled didactic thriller.
Dave Kehr

Chicago Reader

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