The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome

James Bridges (1979)

PG Certificate


Our Score
This genuinely chilling "what if..." thriller is as relevant today as when it was made. Jack Lemmon gives an Oscar-nominated performance as the savvy foreman who manages to prevent an atomic meltdown at a nuclear power station, only for the government to try to hush it up. However, TV newswoman Jane Fonda (giving one of her best performances) and cameraman Michael Douglas are determined to probe for the truth. The cautionary conclusions were given a great deal of credence by life imitating art when the Three Mile Island near-tragedy occurred a few weeks after the movie opened. Note also the film's complete lack of background music - Douglas, who also served as producer, felt music would trivialise the events.


A nuclear power plant controller discovers a potentially disastrous operational flaw but refuses to report it. A visiting TV journalist and cameraman pick up on the story - but as they struggle to get the news on air, a quick-witted engineer realises the danger is far more pronounced than anyone suspects. Thriller, starring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon and Scott Brady.

Cast & Crew

Kimberly Wells Jane Fonda
Jack Godell Jack Lemmon
Richard Adams Michael Douglas (1)
Herman De Young Scott Brady
Bill Gibson James Hampton
Don Jacovich Peter Donat
Ted Spindler Wilford Brimley
Evan McCormack Richard Herd
Hector Salas Daniel Valdez
Peter Martin Stan Bohrman
Director James Bridges
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia-Emi-Warner Dists LtdGuidance: Edited for violence and language.Available on: video and DVD