Jack Lemmon Rages Against The China Syndrome

Silver Screenings

Jack Lemmon (standing) tries to avert a nuclear crisis. Image: blu-ray.com

The China Syndrome (1979) was, for a time, more famous for issues surrounding it than the movie itself.

When this thriller was first released, it received mixed reviews. Newsweek called the film “emotional manipulation”, while the New York Times said it was “less about the laws of physics than about public and private ethics”.

The film, about a malfunction at a nuclear power plant, was also accused of trying to shape public debate about nuclear energy.

The nuclear industry was unhappy with the film, too. They dismissed The China Syndrome as unrealistic.

But get this. Not two weeks after the film’s release, there was a nuclear accident, a real one, at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania. It was the worst nuclear accident on American soil.

At first, filmmakers were accused of staging the accident as publicity. Then critics said if the Three…

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