Synopsis: Fairly accurate recounting of the story of Karen Silkwood, the Oklahoma nuclear-plant worker who blew the whistle on dangerous practices at the Kerr-McGee plant and who died under circumstances which are still under debate.
Director(s): Mike Nichols
Production: 20th Century Fox
  Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
131 min

- Name?

- Karen Silkwood.

- Drew Stephens.

- Dolly Pelliker.

Hi, Ham.

- Good-bye.

- All right.

All right, see you.

So then the woman got up...

and she was dressed

in a long white dress...

just like an angel.

And she called for the people

to come on up...

and this kid came up

with an arm...

that was almost pitch black

from blood poisoning.

But that woman held that arm...

and she prayed over it...

and it turned pink

right in front of your eyes.

And then it fell right off.

I was there, Wesley.

I was sitting right there.

When I was in the service,

I saw this gook...

drink a glass of milk

through his pecker.

What? Then what happened?

Didn't follow him home

to find out.

This is dry processing...

the heart of

the production process.

Come on in, trainees.

This brown powder

you see here. ..

is mixed plutonium

and uranium oxide.

And these trained technicians...

are fabricating it

into fuel pellets.

Karen, could you explain...

the procedures

in this glove box?

Yeah. what we're doing is

we're blending and mixing...

the plutonium and uranium oxide

into correct ratios.

And then we sift it

for impurities.

And then it's fed

into the slugging press...

which makes the pellets.

This is the slugging press...

where the powder

is turned into pellets.

What about radiation effects

from all this material?

We've all seen a poor guy...


the effects of sunburn.

Radiation is like that.

It's the kind of thing

that can't hurt you...

unless you're careless with it.

Hey, Wesley?

Come here. I need the help

of a trained technician here.

Come here.

Put it back in!

Hey, Georgie. You know

that 0' girl Jeane Dixon...

the one with the stars

on her palms?

She was on Johnny Carson

one night. ..

and she's telling

how her niece phoned her up.

Niece goes, "I got to catch

this airplane to Houston."

And Jeane Dixon goes...

"Now, don't you get on

that airplane."

And by golly,

that airplane crashed.

What do you make of that?

She's got the gift, all right.

Or maybe she just

tells everybody she knows...

not to get on planes,

and then one day...

one crashes

and that's her lucky day.

Drew says he's got

to work an hour overtime. ..

so he can't leave till 7:00.

OK. Sh*t!

I forgot to get permission.

I don't know.

I believe in that stuff.

Sometimes it happens

where I know things.

Can you tell if

I'm getting this weekend off?

- Go see my kids?

- It don't work like that.

I can't sit here

and find out just anything.

I have to wait for it

to smack into me.

- Lunch!

- I got to find Hurley.


you never monitor yourself.

Come back here

and do it like the rest of us.


you never monitor yourself."

I'll get you, girl.

Know what happens to girls

that don't monitor themselves?

Your nipples turn green.

There's nothing they can do.

Where they going to park

a contaminated truck?

It'll stay that way

twenty-five thousand years.

They can put it in space.

Hell, put it in orbit.

- Yeah, in orbit.

- Put it on the moon.

- What's going on?

- They cooked a truck.

There was a leak

in one of the barrels.

Dolly tell you

I have to work late?


The whole weekend's screwed up.

I forgot to get permission.

Now I can't find Hurley.

You better find him.

Heard those guys on the truck

didn't monitor themselves.

That's a surprise.

- New guy in X-ray.

- See y'all later.

- What's his name?

- OK. Take care.

Winston something.

Do you like him?

As a matter of fact,

he's the type I hate.

Curtis, what is that?

Gilda's got some recipe

from a magazine...

about putting pineapple

in everything.

She puts pineapple in pineapple.

What you got?

What do you want?

- Mystery meat.

- It's no mystery.

What's that?

Peanut butter again?

Lay off my sandwich.

I don't want that.

- Hey, Thelma.

- Hi, honey.

How's your daughter doing?

She's had

one of them remissions.

If you believe in them.

Thank the Lord I got six others.

Mr. Hurley?

I hear you want the weekend off.

- I know it's late.

- we can't give it to you.

This plant's operating

24 hours a day on a deadline.

- You know that.

- Yeah.

How about if I get somebody

to switch with me?

Most people are working

a double shift now.

So, anyway...

don't everybody

volunteer at once.

We have a revival, Karen.

And you?

Jimmy and me are going

to Oklahoma City for a concert.

Curtis would have a fit.

Promised my kid

I'd take him to Gar Creek.

How about you, Carl?

I got to work myself.

- what the hell was that?

- It's a test.

How do you know?

This is a test.

This is only a test.

You always say that.

You know some poor son

of a b*tch got his ass fried.

What I don't get is

how we have all these tests...

but never go through the drill.

If this was a real

airborne contamination...

we're supposed

to get out of here.

We can't do the drill.

It might stop production

for ten minutes.

If it had been the real thing,

they'd shut down the plant...

and I could have had

the whole weekend.

Karen, I've been thinking.

If you'll work

the next shift back-to-back. ..

I'll switch with you.

Don't tell Curtis, hear?

You mean Curtis

still doesn't like me?

No, but you know how he is.

What are they doing

to that truck?

Move on out, OK?


You coming, or aren't you?

What's there to do down there?

Nothing. There's nothing

to do down there.

All right. I'll come.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron ( EF-rən; May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American journalist, writer, and filmmaker. She is best known for her romantic comedy films and was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Writing: for Silkwood (1983), When Harry Met Sally... (1989), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). She won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay for When Harry Met Sally.... She sometimes wrote with her sister Delia Ephron. Her last film was Julie & Julia. Her first produced play, Imaginary Friends (2002), was honored as one of the ten best plays of the 2002-03 New York theatre season. She also co-authored the Drama Desk Award–winning theatrical production Love, Loss, and What I Wore. In 2013, Ephron received a posthumous Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Lucky Guy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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