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Silkwood (1983)

aka Silkwood

"On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, an employee of a nuclear facility, left to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. She never got there."

Directed By: 
Details: 131 mins · English · R (USA)


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Small Karen Silkwood
Small Drew Stephens
Small Winston
Small Dolly Pelliker
No_movie_poster Thelma Rice
Small Earl Lapin
No_movie_poster Max Richter
No_movie_poster Georgie
Small Curtis Schultz
Small Joe
Small Angela
Small Mace Hurley
Small Wesley
Small Paul Stone
Small Morgan
No_movie_poster Quincy Bissell


No_movie_poster Georges Delerue Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Michael Hausman Producer
No_movie_poster Miroslav Ond?í?ek Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Mike Nichols Director
Small Nora Ephron Screenplay
No_movie_poster Sam O'Steen Editor
No_movie_poster Alice Arlen Screenplay
No_movie_poster Larry Cano Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Buzz Hirsch Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Mike Nichols Production


"On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, an employee of a nuclear facility, left to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. She never got there."


Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), a worker at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site (near Crescent, Oklahoma), shares a ramshackle house with two co-workers, her boyfriend Drew Stephens (Kurt Russell) and her lesbian friend Dolly Pelliker (Cher). She makes plutonium fuel rods for nuclear reactors, where she deals with the threat of exposure to radiation. She has become a union activist, concerned that corporate practices may adversely affect the health of workers. She is also engaged in a conflict with her former common-law husband in an effort to have more time with their three children.

Because the plant has fallen behind on a major contract, employees are required to work long hours of overtime. She believes that managers are falsifying safety reports and cutting corners wherever possible, risking the welfare of the personnel. Karen approaches the union with her concerns and becomes active in lobbying for safeguards. She travels to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Atomic Energy Commission. She interacts with union officials who appear to be more interested in the publicity she is generating than her welfare and that of her co-workers.

When Silkwood and other workers become contaminated by radiation, plant officials try to blame her for the incident. When she discovers that negatives of photographs of faulty fuel rods have been retouched and records of inadequate safety measures have been altered, she decides to conduct an investigation of her own. Complications arise in her personal life when Angela, a funeral parlor beautician, joins the household as Dolly's lover. Unable to deal with Silkwood's obsession with gathering evidence, her lover Drew moves out.

Once she feels she has gathered sufficient documentation, Silkwood contacts a reporter from the New York Times and arranges a nighttime meeting. In the film's final moments, the scene fades out as Silkwood, on her way to the meeting, sees approaching headlights in her rear-view mirror, which draw up so close that they blind her and make her unable to watch the road ahead. The scene fades in on the aftermath of her fatal one-car crash, and the viewer is left to decide whether the crash was an accident.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1985-04-19 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1984-02-24 : Finland

Theatrical : 1984-02-09 : Australia

Theatrical : 1984-04-06 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1983-12-14 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1984-03-01 : Spain

Theatrical : 1985-01-31 : Mexico

Theatrical : 1984-01-12 : Argentina

Theatrical : 1985-07-25 : Portugal

Theatrical : 1984-03-16 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1984-04-13 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 1984-06-06 : France