(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The MovieThe China Syndrome

Where You Can Stream It: The Criterion Channel

The Pitch: A hungry journalist (Jane Fonda) and her freelance cameraman (Michael Douglas) are doing a story about nuclear energy for her California news station. During a tour of the nuclear power plant, they covertly film an accident in progress, and the thrust of the film revolves around the journalists realizing exactly how close the nuclear reactor came to melting down, clashing against a cover-up, and confronting the plant’s shift supervisor (Jack Lemmon) about what really happened that day.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: The film serves as a warning about the dangers of nuclear power, showcasing how a small mistake can quickly cascade into a scenario that nearly gets out of control. Released only 12 days (!) before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and six years before the much worse disaster at Chernobyl, The China Syndrome was staggeringly relevant from the moment it was released in 1979. Read More »