Silkwood

Overview

Based on a true story, Silkwood begins and ends with Karen Silkwood Meryl Streep driving along a lonely road in 1974, heading to a meeting with a New York Times reporter to deliver evidence of negligence at the Kerr-McGee Plant in Cimarron, Oklahoma. The balance of the film flashes back to Karen's ribald private life with her lover Kurt Russell and her loose-living friends Cher and Diana Scarwid. This is in contrast to her humdrum job at Kerr-McGee--or it least it was humdrum until Karen and several other ...
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Overview

Based on a true story, Silkwood begins and ends with Karen Silkwood Meryl Streep driving along a lonely road in 1974, heading to a meeting with a New York Times reporter to deliver evidence of negligence at the Kerr-McGee Plant in Cimarron, Oklahoma. The balance of the film flashes back to Karen's ribald private life with her lover Kurt Russell and her loose-living friends Cher and Diana Scarwid. This is in contrast to her humdrum job at Kerr-McGee--or it least it was humdrum until Karen and several other employees become contaminated by radiation. The higher-ups want to sweep this incident under the rug, but Karen thinks that something's fishy, and informs the union of that fact. X-rays of the faulty fuel rods and written proof of the inadequate safety measures that caused Karen's illness are tampered with, forcing Karen to conduct her own private investigation. As she gathers evidence, Karen becomes a pariah to her boyfriend because of her obsession. She finally organizes the evidence into a briefcase, and heads off to her meeting with the Times reporter. She never makes it; the "official" report on her fatal auto accident is that Ms. Silkwood had been drinking and was under the influence of tranquilizers. Kerr-McGee was eventually forced to pay the Silkwood family an enormous settlement because of her contamination, but the full facts behind her convenient accident have never been revealed though the filmmakers clearly indictate whom they hold responsible. Director Mike Nichols and screenwriters Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen surround this true story with a lively, improvisational atmosphere that gets the best out of Streep, Russell, and Cher, while providing perhaps the fullest on-screen realization of Nichols' theater-based techniques of realistic, character-centered, dialogue-driven filmmaking, as well as one of the first movie screenplays from future director Ephron.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Mike Nichols returned to directing films in 1983 after an eight-year hiatus with this absorbing if diffuse examination of the life of anti-nuke whistleblower Karen Silkwood. Somewhat of a departure from the typical conspiracy thriller treatment of this kind of material, the script develops the story deliberately, making Silkwood's heroism all the more credible. The film explores the dynamics of the relationship of the woman with her housemates, lover Kurt Russell and gay friend Cher, at considerable length. In fact, these characters are so given so much screen time that they sometimes distract from the main events of the story, the radiation contamination of Silkwood and other workers at the Kerr-McGee nuclear plant in Oklahoma. But it's difficult to imagine how it could have been otherwise in a story in which the lead character is basically an unwitting victim of negligence until well into the film. Nichols allowed the acting talents of Russell and Cher, who was nominated for an Academy Award, to flourish here, and Streep, also nominated, added yet another to her gallery of memorable performances.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/29/1998
  • UPC: 013131055634
  • Original Release: 1983
  • Rating:

  • Source: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Presentation: Remastered / Wide Screen / Collector's Edition
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Meryl Streep Karen Silkwood
Kurt Russell Drew Stephens
Cher Dolly Pelliker
Craig T. Nelson Winston
Diana Scarwid Angela
Fred Ward Morgan
Ron Silver Paul Stone
Charles Hallahan Earl Lapin
Josef Sommer Max Richter
Sudie Bond Thelma Rice
E. Katherine Kerr Gilda Schultz
Bruce McGill Mace Hurley
David Strathairn Wesley
J.C. Quinn Curtis Schultz
Kent Broadhurst Carl
Richard Hamilton Georgie
Les Lannom Jimmy
James Rebhorn Los Alamos Doctor
Ray Baker Pete Dawson
Jim Beaver Plant Manager
Michael Bond 2nd Los Alamos Doctor
Bill Cobbs Man in Lunchroom
Norm Colvin Zachary
Henderson Forsythe Quincy Bissell
Gary Grubbs Randy Fox
Betty Harper May Bissell
Tess Harper Linda Dawson
Anthony Heald 2nd Union Meeting Doctor
Graham Jarvis Union Meeting Doctor
Betty King Nurse
John Martin Man with Flashlight
Will Patton Joe
Vern Porter Bill Charlton
Christopher Saylors Buddy
Tom Stovall Los Alamos Doctor
M. Emmet Walsh Walt Yarborough
Technical Credits
Mike Nichols Director, Producer
Alice Arlen Screenwriter
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Richard Brick Production Manager
Larry Cano Executive Producer
Georges Delerue Score Composer
Nora Ephron Screenwriter
Mary Goldberg Casting
Michael Hausman Producer
Derek R. Hill Set Decoration/Design
Buzz Hirsch Executive Producer
Richard James Art Director
Larry Jost Sound/Sound Designer
Bob Mills Makeup
Sam O'Steen Editor
Miroslav Ondrícek Cinematographer
Dennis Peeples Set Decoration/Design
Tom Priestley Jr. Camera Operator
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Stovall Associate Producer
Joel Tuber Associate Producer
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