The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome
The China Syndrome
  • PG
  • 2h 2m
  • 1979
Fresh84%
Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
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A modern nightmare nearly becomes reality in this 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 the nuclear plant when a startling accident occurs that nearly causes the meltdown of the reactor. A newsreel cameraman accompanying Wells (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, an attempt is made on his life. In desperation, he forcibly takes control of the power plant and invites the media to hear his ceremony. But the corporation is determined to stop him in a taut and shocking climax!
© 1979 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

TOMATOMETER®
Fresh84%
Critics Consensus: With gripping themes and a stellar cast, The China Syndrome is the rare thriller that's as thought-provoking as it is tense.
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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
Common Sense Says
Scary, absorbing thriller predicts risks of nuclear power.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The China Syndrome is a suspense-filled, entertaining "issue" movie that has a strong point of view. An active nuclear plant shakes and shimmies; parts crumble and fall, all threatening a catastrophic accident in California. A constant sense of impending doom underscores the film, with shots designed to bring the viewer close to the "core" of the drama. Violent scenes include a car being run off the road and crashing (the bloody victim is seen later), and (spoiler alert) a major character is graphically shot in the back, dying instantly. Swearing is occasional and includes "goddamn, "s--t," "a--hole," "bastard," and "Jesus Christ." Released in 1979, only 12 days before the Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania (the worst accident in the history of nuclear power in the U.S.), the movie warns against relying on nuclear energy as a replacement for fossil fuels. Characters smoke, and there's social drinking in a few sequences.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
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Positive Role Models
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Violence
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Sex
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Language
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Consumerism
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Additional Info

  • Genre:Thriller, Drama
  • Release Date:March 16, 1979
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
    5.1
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