The China Syndrome - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The China Syndrome Reviews

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January 9, 2017
It's mostly for Michael Douglas' beard and for 70's Fonda that this was enjoyable. A nice little slice of pre-80s post-nuclear drama.
November 29, 2016
It's not just the beige trouser suits and casual sexism that dates The China Syndrome but thankfully the terrific central performances from Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon more than make up for the 1970s kitsch elements. This is a well thought through, taught thriller about a nuclear accident and the uncovering of the story by a television reporter and her crew. There's no melodrama or obvious dumbing down for the audience and this isn't the sort of action thriller where spectacle replaces drama. Rather this is an authentic feeling story that rightly focuses on the characters involved and how they react to the situations that they find themselves in. Featuring a scarily young looking Michael Douglas and the seemingly angels Wilford Brimley, The China Syndrome is rightly a highly regarded movie about corporate greed and responsibility that still resonates today.
½ October 30, 2016
Looking for an intense, older movie with some notable history attached? Then look no further than The China Syndrome.
½ August 15, 2016
Always loved this movie. Kudos to all, especially Fonda and Lemmon. Funny that, even in 2016, female reporters still do these dumb "fluff pieces."
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2016
An effectively tense thriller that must have been even more terrifying when it came out, when fear of nuclear power was greater, and it is very well directed (the car chase scene is nerve-wracking) and has three amazing performances from its leads, especially Jack Lemmon.
½ July 7, 2016
Timing can be everything for a movie. When this movie hit theaters, it garnered mild praise but was not dominating the box office. Twelve days later the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident happened, igniting the fears of nuclear technology and directing people's attention to this movie. It is amazing how acting and dialogue alone can build suspense like this. The story features a female reporter in the 70s struggling to establish herself as a serious journalist and not just a vapid pretty face. While in the field at the local nuclear power plant, she and her cameraman witness alarms going off. The plant staff seemed panicked, but they tell her that it is no big deal. Hungry for a story she is not convinced. She senses there is more to this incident than they are telling her. It devolves into a dangerous situation of conspiracy, politics, and corporate deception. Most of this movie takes place in dull interior rooms with no windows talking about a potential problem within the nuclear reactor. There is no score, just the constant haunting sounds of plant. Even so, it is tense because the stakes are high. The acting carries the movie with superb performances from Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas.
½ June 28, 2016
Really solid thriller with a great cast & performances.
June 13, 2016
Led by outstanding performances from Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome dreadful subject is brought to life by a realistic script that emphasizes the relevance of free press and warns about the nuclear danger.
May 23, 2016
Very cool and tense thriller about the hot button topic of the time (with Three Mile Island) playing center stage as a nuclear power plant starts to have problems and the plant tries to cover it up, much to the chagrin of a plant engineer and a reporter. I really liked the multiple stories the film had going, and did a great job of tying them all together.
April 19, 2016
A nuclear reactor has some errors that are nearly catastrophical but everyone wants to hide it from the public. Everyone accept from a TV-crew leaded by a great Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas and a guy that works there portrayed by Jack Lemmon.

It got a quite slow start, but it turns very good for the later half. It looks pretty good for it's age and it's still fairly relevant 35 years after it's release. Top acting from Lemmon as well and it got a vibe that shifts from thrilling stuff, political stuff and more dramatic stuff. An actor called John Pancake was in it too. What a name.

6.5 out of 10 Fernet posters.
December 8, 2015
Classic 70's drama. Eu sou muito pro-nuclear, mas apesar das inconsistências científicas, esse filme é um suspense de primeira!
December 5, 2015
The China Syndrome is an excellent film. It is about a reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. James Bridges did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. The China Syndrome is a must see.
½ October 17, 2015
This is a pretty well made thriller about a potential Nuclear plant meltdown which 3 majors stars: Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Jack Lemmon. The performances are good and it's worth a watch!
April 27, 2015
I think the movie goes a little too far to deliver its message. It's the equivalent of calling The Day After Tomorrow an important film about global warming. I'm not sure if the message is about nuclear power being a dangerous energy source or that people who work at power plants are incompetent at best and evil at worst. The first observation made about the plant is how everyone seems too young and inexperienced. The movie isn't like The Insider. That movie was about a guy who worked in the tobacco industry and wanted to expose some dirty secrets about them. It's okay to take an alarmist stance in that context because if someone watches the movie and walks away thinking cigarette companies are evil that's actually a good thing. Convince them not to smoke. What the movie does is on top of convincing us that we should get rid of nuclear power, it destroys our confidence in the people currently in charge of power plants. I just don't think it's appropriate in a film with such grave concerns. Some might call it fear mongering.

Even without the message it's an entertaining movie. The only performance that really stands out is Jack Lemmon. He does a good job of looking like a conflicted man that you feel sorry for. It's fun watching him freak out while running around pressing buttons like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab. He's also in a thrilling car chase that's probably the films main highlight.

It's a good movie, but it would have been better if it didn't state what side it's on in such a shameless way. It takes the impact out of the message. After just watching the movie for the first time I'm not afraid of power plants, but I would like to play in the control room. It's a good thing I don't own a nuclear power plant.
April 21, 2015
Starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas. Superb thriller is at once a study of TV news and a cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear power. Interestingly, there is no musical score, which is beneficial as the tense story propels the film by itself. Douglas, who also produced the film, was only cast after Richard Dreyfuss dropped out. Directed by James Bridges.
April 20, 2015
Interesting movie with great performances from Lemmon, Fonda, and Douglas and a great screenplay
March 16, 2015
Definitely designed to get you to think one way but considering this movie is 35+ years old it holds up quite well in the 21st century.
February 28, 2015
I'd watch this with another leading actress. Hanoi Jane????
February 6, 2015
Co-written and directed by James Bridges (September 30, 1955 (1977) and Urban Cowboy (1980)), this tense thriller just goes to show how far people will go to cover up incidents from the public. It's still socially relevant now, as companies seem to strive on cover-ups and corruption these days. The incident at the centre of the film is very common, maybe a lot more common than you'd like. In Los Angeles, Television news reporter Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) and her maverick cameraman Richard Adams (Michael Douglas) drive out to the Ventana nuclear power to do a news report. While observing the workers in the control room, they feel a tremor, which causes a panic in the control room, and Shift Supervisor Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon) feels a slight tremor, but after bringing the main reactor back under control, Godell finds the main reactor is damaged, but the bosses want to have the plant up and running again. Meanwhile, Wells finds the plant has denied anything happened, but Adams filmed the incident, and then he steals the footage. It's a very suspenseful film, and it is more socially relevant now, especially after Fukushima. But, the last act is among the most gripping sequences seen on film, and it does show how ruthless companies can be, more interested in money than safety. But, if cover-ups like this were revealed, the world would descend into anarchy.
½ January 25, 2015
I hadn't even heard of this film, so it was a pleasant surprise. Seems like it'd be controversial at the time - it deals with the attempted cover up of a nuclear facility meltdown. Great cast, so acting is top notch. Thumb up
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