Chinese Syndrome

Chinese Syndrome ( The China Syndrome ) is an American film directed by James Bridges , released in 1979 .


Kimberley Wells, a television reporter, is filming an incident at the “Ventana” nuclear power station during a documentary . His cameraman shows him to a nuclear engineer who confirms the reality of the accident and its potentially dangerous nature.

It is at this moment that the notion of ” Chinese syndrome ” is evoked .

Seeking to contact the manager during the incident for clarification, it will reveal that the real danger is elsewhere and much worse.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Chinese Syndrome
  • Original title: The China Syndrome
  • Director: James Bridges
  • Scenario: Mike Gray , TS Cook and James Bridges
  • Production: Michael Douglas , Bruce Gilbert  (in) , Penny McCarthy, Jack Smith Jr.
  • Production Company: Columbia Pictures
  • Photography: James Crab
  • Editing: David Rawlins
  • Sets: George Jenkins
  • Costumes: Donfeld
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Language: English
  • Format: colors – 1.85: 1 – Mono – 35 mm
  • Genre: drama, disaster movie
  • Duration: 122 minutes
  • Release date :
    •  United States :
    •  France :


  • Jane Fonda (VF: Béatrice Delfe 1 ) : Kimberly Wells, journalist at KXLA
  • Jack Lemmon (VF: François Marié ) : Jack Godell, Team Leader at the Nuclear Power Plant
  • Michael Douglas (VF: Marc Porel ) : Richard Adams, cameraman at KXLA
  • Scott Brady (VF: Marcel Guido) : Herman De Young
  • James Hampton (VF: Roland Menard ) : Bill Gibson
  • Peter Donat : Don Jacovich
  • Wilford Brimley (VF: Jacques Ferriere ) : Ted Spindler
  • Richard Herd (VF: Claude Joseph ) : Evan McCormack
  • Daniel Valdez (VF: Med Hondo ) : Hector Salas
  • Stan Bohrman: Pete Martin
  • James Karen : Mac Churchill
  • Michael Alaimo: Greg Minor
  • Donald Hotton: Dr. Lowell
  • Khalilah Ali : Margin
  • Paul Larson (VF: Alain Dorval ) : DB Royce
  • Ron Lombard: Barney
  • Tom Eure: Tommy
  • Nick Pellegrino: Borden
  • Daniel Lewk: Donny
  • Allan Chinn: Holt
  • Martin Fiscoe: Guardian
  • Alan Kaul: TV Director
  • Michael Mann: TV Consultant
  • David Eisenbise: technical director
  • Frank Cavestani: news reporter
  • Reuben Collins: sportscaster
  • E. Hampton Beagle: Death
  • David Pfeiffer: David
  • Lewis Arquette : Hatcher
  • Dennis McMullen: Robertson
  • Rita Taggart: Rita Jacovich
  • James Hall: Harmon
  • Carol Schlanger: Waitress
  • Trudy Lane: Alma Spindler
  • Jack Smith Jr .: Tom
  • David Arnsen: KXLA cameraman
  • Betty Harford  (en) : woman at the demonstration
  • Donald Bishop: Chair of the Commission
  • Al Baietti: pro-nuclear witness
  • Diandra Morrell: Sasha
  • Darrell Larson: young protester
  • Roger Pancake: keeper
  • Joe Lowry: Security Officer
  • Harry M. Williams: Firefighter
  • Dennis Barker: jaws of life
  • Joseph Garcia: highway patrolman
  • James Kline: Jim
  • Alan Beckwith  (en) : technician
  • Clay Hodges: SWAT Team Leader
  • Val Clenard: Val Clenard

Around the film

The film is based on a scenario which envisages the possibility of a runaway of the nuclear reactor of the power station (resulting from voluntary deficiencies in the control of the main components of the power plant at the time of its construction) leading it to melt its enclosure containment and to cross the ground, to pollute the water tables, then, by evaporation, to create radioactive clouds ( Chinese syndrome ); in theory to the center of the Earth (and not to China as the title of the film would suggest).

Released twelve days before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident , the film received considerable publicity and fueled the movement against nuclear energy in the United States.


For his role in the film, Jack Lemmon received the Best Actor Award at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ (dubbing tab)  [ archive ]

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