.:Silkwood:.

Director: Mike Nichols

Year: 1983
Country: USA

Tagline: 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.

Production Companies: ABC Motion Pictures

Distributors: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Cast: Meryl Streep, Cher, Kurt Russell, Craig T. Nelson, Fred Ward, Diana Scarwid, Ron Silver, Josef Sommer, Bruce McGill, David Strathairn

Writers: Nora Ephron, Alice Arlen

Produced by: Larry Cano, Michael Hausman, Buzz Hirsch, Mike Nichols, Tom Stovall, Joel Tuber

Original Music by: Georges Delerue

Cinematography by: Miroslav Ondrícek

Film Editing by: Sam O'Steen

Genre: Biography | Drama | Thriller

Runtime: 131 min

Release Date:

14 December 1983 USA
12 January 1984 Argentina
9 February 1984 Australia
24 February 1984 Finland
1 March 1984 Spain
16 March 1984 Sweden
6 April 1984 West Germany
13 April 1984 UK
6 June 1984 France
31 January 1985 Mexico
19 April 1985 Denmark
25 July 1985 Portugal

Opening Weekend: $1,608,498 (USA)

US Gross: $35,615,609

Worldwide Gross: $85,155,600

Production Dates: September 1982

Filming Dates: November 1982

Filming Location: Albuquerque and Los Alamos (New Mexico), Dallas, Howe, Texas City, Tom Bean (Texas)

Trailer: moviepilot.de

 

Plot summary:

 

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). In addition to working tedious hours making plutonium fuel rods for nuclear reactors and dealing with the constant threat of exposure to radiation, her time is consumed by an ongoing battle waged against 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 and 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. where 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 Karen 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, Karen decides to conduct an investigation of her own. Complications arise in her personal life when funeral parlor beautician Angela joins the household as Dolly's lover and Drew, unable to deal with her obsession with gathering evidence, moves out.

Once she feels she has gathered all the proof of wrongdoing necessary, Karen contacts a reporter from the New York Times and arranges a nighttime meeting. In the film's final moments, the scene fades out as Karen, 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, then fades in on the aftermath of her fatal one-car crash, and the viewer is left to decide whether the crash was truly an accident or deliberately caused.

Photos:

  

See all photos in the gallery.

Trivia:

- Lily Tomlin auditioned for the role of Dolly.

- The scene where Karen sets off the radiation alarms actually happened. Her level of contamination was forty times the safe limit.

- Cher and Meryl Streep perfom a song "Pretty Little Horses Lullaby" in the movie, written by Georges Delerue.

- When Bette Midler was dropped from the Nicholson-Beatty comedy, Cher auditioned for the role of "Fredrika" but was turned down by Mike Nichols. "There are two kinds of girls in the world: the kind you wanna fuck and the kind you don't." He felt the role called for the latter and for him, Cher wasn't "suitable." "But I'm talented," she yelled. "If you can't see it now, you'll be sorry one day." Nine years later, Nichols cast Cher as Dolly Pelliker in Silkwood.

- Cher earned $150 000 for this role.

- Cher recalled the night she sat, incognito, with a paying audience at an early public showing of the film. "They laughed when my name appeared on screen," she said. "They weren't laughing as the closing credits rolled."

- Cher and Meryl are still good friends. Streep was nominated for Best Actress in 1987 along with Cher. When Cher was announced, just before the cameras cut away from the other four actresses, Streep could be seen springing to her feet in delight and applauding for Cher. During her acceptance speech, Cher thanked Streep personally, as they had worked together on Cher's first film, Silkwood (1983). As the camera briefly cut away to Streep sitting in the audience, she blew Cher a kiss.

- The second time Cher played with Meryl Streep in a movie "Stuck On You" (2003).

- Cher could play with Meryl Streep the third time. "You get lots of scripts, but you donít get things you want to do, and the only thing that Iíve missed that I wanted to do was Mamma Mia. I wanted to have the chance to work with Meryl again, but I was on the road, so I couldnít do it" said Cher

- Arthur Hirsch and Larry Cano were the producers of the film and ultimately received Executive Producer credits. They began working on the movie while graduate film students at UCLA. Their involvement in the making of Silkwood set a precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the protection of confidential sources for film-makers under the First Amendment.

- By its seventh week of release it had expanded to 816 screens and reached #1.

- Real Karen Silkwood was on a Sonny and Cher's concert.

 

Memorable quotes:

 

Dolly Pelliker: [to Karen] Who's gonna rape you that you ain't already fucked?

 

Dolly Pelliker: [on marriage] Goddamn government fucks you comin' and goin'.

 

[first lines]
Man on the intercom: Name?
Karen Silkwood: Karen Silkwood.
Drew Stephens: Drew Stephens.
Dolly Pelliker: Dolly Pelliker.

 

Weekend Chart Record

 

Date Rank Gross % Change Theaters Per Theater Total Gross Days
1983/12/16 12 $1,218,322   257 $4,741   $1,608,498 5
1983/12/23 13 $1,431,199 +17% 257 $5,569   $3,699,005 12
1983/12/30 8 $2,999,981 +110% 287 $10,453   $7,941,875 19
1984/01/06 7 $2,137,349 -29% 287 $7,447   $10,845,623 26
1984/01/13 6 $2,333,091 +9% 350 $6,666   $13,917,249 33
1984/01/20 3 $2,481,524 +6% 556 $4,463   $17,075,198 40
1984/01/27 1 $3,547,122 +43% 816 $4,347   $21,501,926 47
1984/02/03 2 $2,665,876 -25% 839 $3,177   $25,164,738 54
1984/02/10 3 $1,891,522 -29% 843 $2,244   $27,704,975 61
1984/02/17 7 $1,740,167 -8% 791 $2,200   $30,022,652 68
1984/02/24 10 $1,076,927 -38% 687 $1,568   $31,449,222 75
1984/03/02 13 $744,050 -31% 527 $1,412   $32,508,788 82
1984/03/09 17 $552,179 -26% 478 $1,155   $33,323,144 89
1984/03/16 16 $404,265 -27% 388 $1,042   $33,966,354 96
1984/03/23 15 $442,438 +9% 388 $1,140   $34,609,764 103
1984/03/30 21 $261,569 -41% 279 $938   $35,041,191 110
1984/04/06 21 $244,954 -6% 288 $851   $35,400,794 117
1984/04/13 23 $88,212 -64% 150 $588   $35,615,609 124

 

Awards:

 

 

Academy Awards, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1984

Nominated

Oscar

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Meryl Streep

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Cher

Best Director
Mike Nichols
Best Director
Mike Nichols
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nora Ephron
Alice Arlen

 

BAFTA Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1985

Nominated

BAFTA Film Award

Best Actress
Meryl Streep

Best Supporting Actress
Cher

 

Golden Globes, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1984

Won

Golden Globe

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

in a Motion Picture
Cher

Nominated Golden Globe Best Director - Motion Picture
Mike Nichols
Best Motion Picture - Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

in a Motion Picture
Kurt Russell

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Meryl Streep
 
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1984

Won

KCFCC Award

Best Actress
Meryl Streep

 
New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1983

2nd place

NYFCC Award

Best Supporting Actress
Cher

 
Writers Guild of America, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1984

Nominated

WGA Award (Screen)

Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen
Nora Ephron
Alice Arlen

 

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