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The China Syndrome Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Robert Lane

James Bridges (Urban Cowboy, Bright Lights, Big City) directed this 1979 film that became a worldwide sensation when, just weeks after its release, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred. Jane Fonda (Klute, Julia) plays a television news reporter who is not taken very seriously until a routine story at the local nuclear power plant leads her to what may be a cover-up of epic proportions. She and her cameraman, played by Michael Douglas (Wall Street, American President), hook up with a whistleblower at the plant, played by Jack Lemmon (Save the Tiger, Missing). Together they try to uncover the dangers lurking beneath the nuclear reactor and avoid being silenced by the business interests behind the plant. Though topical, the film (produced by Douglas) works on its own as a socially conscious thriller that entertains even as it spurs its audience to think.


Released only weeks before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, a scene in the movie features an  actor ironically stating that an "area the size of Pennsylvania would be left uninhabitable."

Academy Awards

The China Syndrome received Academy Awards nominations for Actor (Jack Lemmon), Actress (Jane Fonda), Writing (Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges) and Art Direction/Set Decoration (George Jenkins, Arthur Jeph).

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Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: James Bridges

Stars: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Wilford Brimley

Released: March 16, 1979

Availability: DVD VHS

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