The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome
The China Syndrome
  • PG
  • 2h 2m
  • 1979
Fresh84%
Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
PRICING SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Confirm current pricing with applicable retailer. All transactions subject to applicable license terms and conditions.
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.
Reviews
Variety
Variety Staff
Rotten

A moderately compelling thriller about the potential perils of nuclear energy, whose major fault i...

June 21, 2017
Time Out
Geoff Andrew
Fresh

All a bit too earnest, despite the seriousness of the subject, with Fonda setting her jaw and step...

June 21, 2017
New York Times
Vincent Canby
Fresh

The three stars are splendid, but maybe Miss Fonda is just a bit more than that. Her performance i...

March 30, 2019
More on Rotten Tomatoes

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
Details
Positive Role Models
Details
Violence
Details
Sex
Details
Language
Details
Consumerism
Details
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Thriller, Drama
  • Release Date:March 16, 1979
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
    5.1
Resolution, color and audio quality may vary based on your device, browser and internet connection.Learn More

You Might Also Like...

New Releases

Booksmart
Ma
MIB: International
Head Full of Honey
Driven
SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2, THE
Disneynature Penguins
The Banana Splits Movie
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Amazing Grace