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The China Syndrome (1979) - movie overview

The China Syndrome (1979)

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Plot Description
Shooting Locations

DVD Release Date
 R1: May 25, 1999

MPAA Rating

Running Time
2 hours, 2 minutes

Country USA

Studio Columbia Pictures, IPC Films

More info on

Other Titles
• The China Syndrome
• Das China Syndrom (1980)
• Sindrome cinese (1979)

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Genre: Thriller, Drama, Disaster, Suspense, Murder, Tragedy, Hostage, Police, Political, Disturbing, Investigation

Tagline: Today, only a handful of people know what it means... Soon you will know.

Plot: A modern nightmare nearly becomes reality in this timely, tension-filled story about an "incident" at a nuclear power plant. Jane Fonda stars as Kimberly Wells, an ambitious TV reporter covering a story on energy sources who is present at a nuclear plant when a startling accident occurs that nearly causes the meltdown of the reactor. A newsreel cameraman accompanying Wells, played by a determined Michael Douglas, captures the incident on film--but the television station won't air the footage. Though the plant's corporate heads are quick to deny the possibility of any real danger, Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon), the plant's veteran engineer, discovers faulty equipment at the plant. Attempting to tell others about his findings, Jack soon realizes that someone is trying to kill him to keep him quiet, leading him to an act of utter desperation. The film is a marvel to behold--at turns gripping, stirring, exhilarating, and maddening, with fabulous performances, especially by Lemmon, who is simply marvelous. In a bizarre bit of synchronicity, the film was produced just before the March 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

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 Directed by
James Bridges
Urban Cowboy, Bright Lights, Big City, The Paper Chase
 Written by
Mike Gray
Code of Silence, Wavelength
T.S. Cook
The Tuskegee Airmen, Lucy, Nightbreaker
Jane Fonda
Monster-in-Law, Barbarella, Nine to Five
Jack Lemmon
Some Like It Hot, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Apartment
Michael Douglas
Traffic, The Game, Basic Instinct
Wilford Brimley
The Thing, The Firm, In & Out
Scott Brady
Gremlins, Johnny Guitar, Marooned
James Hampton
Sling Blade, Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, Teen Wolf
Peter Donat
The Game, The War of the Roses, The Deep End
 Music By

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