Silkwood (1983) Movie Script

- 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. Shit!
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 bitch 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.
She's coming!
It's not going to be a party,
so don't blame me.
It stinks around here.
That's home. That's what I left.
They'll be back
in a little while.
Just went to get some beer.
This is great, Linda.
Come on. Come on in.
Oh, boy.
You look so big.
Go on. Say hi to your mama.
Donny, come here.
Denise, Donny,
come sit over here.
Donny? Donny, come.
It's OK, son. Go ahead.
That's such a pretty dress.
I know. Linda made it for me.
Did you get that baseball
I sent you?
You all remember Drew?
- I'm so happy to see you.
- where were you, Mama?
I was up near Oklahoma City.
I told you that.
- Are you Mama?
- I'm Mama. That's right.
Mama's going to take you
to the beach for the weekend.
Am I going?
You're going,
and we'll stay in a motel. ..
and get those little pieces
of soap all wrapped up.. .
You should have talked to me.
I got the weekend off.
I'm taking them out to Daddy's.
I talked to Linda.
You should have talked to me.
You can take them out
for a while if you want to.
Scoot through.
What am I supposed to eat here?
- French fries.
- Shit.
Don't say that, Dolly.
you're not eating anything.
- I've got to use the bathroom.
- Go ahead.
Mom, can I buy a coke?
OK. Here you go.
Drew, you help Tammy.
Nobody'll see her up there.
- I couldn't go.
- You couldn't go.
Do you still sleep with Mama?
Don't say that, Mama.
Don't drip it in my fries!
Old McDonald had a farm.
Yeah, here we are.
All right, Tammy,
don't forget your moose.
Drew, help me get her out
of the back seat, will you?
One, two, three!
Good girl!
What you got?
Kiss your mama. That a girl.
I don't want to!
I'll see you next month.
Take them in.
Pete, did you give her
our new address?
All I know is Midland, Texas,
care of the company.
- Midland?
- Yeah.
Big strike near
the New Mexico border.
I just can't picture it.
How long were you
married to him?
You want to hear
something funny?
How about some for the back?
We ran off to get married.
We heard you could get a license
in Louisiana under-age.
But we couldn't,
so we came home...
we told everybody
we got married.
And we never did.
I thought you were divorced.
We're divorced, all right.
How come you got divorced
if you never got married?
Common law.
Goddamn government
fucks you coming and going.
Amazing grace.
How sweet the sound.
That saved.
A wretch like me
I once was lost.
But now I'm found.
Was bound.
But now I'm free.
I had them in the car.
I could have just headed
straight for Oklahoma.
What would you
have done with them?
I don't know.
Hey, Karen?
Joe... from the concert.
Hi. What you doing?
We did a job out here
the other night, buried a truck.
Sure you did.
Yeah. We had a hot truck.
We chopped it up, put it
in these little baggies...
and they sent it off
to be buried.
Friday night? Yeah, I saw that.
Some bozo was here
barking at everybody.
See you.
What did he want?
He's a friend of Wesley's.
My windshield wipers broke.
You think you could ask Drew
to take a look at it?
He's got two cars ahead of you,
but I'll ask him.
your hair looks different.
I gave my daughter my good wig.
Her hair is falling out.
They give her them treatments.
Do you know they're making
my daughter die...
next to a colored person?
Come here. Go like that.
I like your hair
that color, Thelma.
But this here is my bad wig.
It ain't human hair or nothing.
You and Drew
ought to settle down.
Stop people talking about us.
I don't care about that stuff.
- What stuff?
- The pot.
Yeah. The pot.
And the kind of sex.
The kind of sex.
Oh, God.
Gilda, how did it go?
We had to go to my
mother-in-law's after church.
She served up this casserole...
that she'd been
slow cooking for three days.
We've both been
up sick all night.
You were supposed
to work my shift yesterday!
Karen, they shut down.
Say what?
There was a contamination
in our section.
Right after you left.
Karen, I'm not saying this
to upset you...
but you ought to know
they're saying that you did it.
I did it?
They knew you wanted
the weekend off.
Gilda, that is so dumb.
I know.
I hope you enjoyed
your weekend, Karen.
Monitor yourself on the way out.
Did you hear about this thing?
Why don't we talk
about it at lunch?
I hate people
talking about me that way.
Then quit and
live on your savings.
Somebody contaminated
your section.
Why would anybody
think I did it?
Whoever did, it wasn't funny.
I brung your plastic, Drew.
Thanks, Zachary.
You could have done it
a lot easier than I could've.
Anybody could have done it.
Well, it wasn't me!
Here's Quincy.
Here's the head of the union.
Talk to him. The union
will get you out of this.
Yeah, sure, OK.
The company has
got to blame somebody.. .
otherwise, it's their fault.
What are you looking at,
Get lost, OK?
Karen, you ever thought
of going into politics?
I am really not interested.
Come on. Try Karen.
No! I'm scared!
I'm scared!
I don't want to die. No!
Just stay calm. Come on.
Thelma's cooked.
I said Thelma is cooked.
Did they take her
down to decon yet?
I think so.
- You can't go in there.
- Come on, Earl!
Karen! Get on out of there!
She wants me here.
Oh, God!
This is just to take off
the contamination.
I was doing a transfer...
and they must have had
a leak in them!
When I went through
the check, I was hot!
The exposure that you got...
is under
the acceptable body burden.
I'm going to get cancer.
I'm going to die.
Now, Thelma.
I know something about this.
So does Earl know something.
What would he know? He's a vet.
That's what he was trained at!
Thelma, you're OK. There is
no internal contamination.
There's just a little
external contamination...
and we've taken care
of the problem.
Oh, my skin.
My skin hurts.
Honey, try not to cry.
Salt's going to make it worse.
Hell, you can make money
on any kind of place...
as long as it wasn't
too far from town.
There aren't that many mechanics
who know sports cars.
Where you gonna get the money?
Guess I'll have to sell my body.
I'll give you
five bucks for it...
but I'll think of it
as a charitable contribution.
That's beautiful.
What are you going to
call your place?
That's original.
What's your idea?
Drew's Car Repair
and Live Bait Dealership.
Thought I'd keep a few worms
for a sideline.
Drew's Car Repair
and Live Bait Dealership.
Rolls right off your tongue.
What is this?
Yeah, I can see that.
You wrap this stuff
up in aluminum foil.
You don't even know what it is.
It sits in the refrigerator
and grows cooties.
One third of
the refrigerator is mine.
I can grow cooties if I want to.
When you do, one third
of the cooties is mine.
Dolly, look at the floor.
It's just seeds, Karen.
I don't care what it is!
I just cleaned up!
See you around the track.
Thelma says
she's going to get cancer.
If anybody's going to get
cancer around here...
it's going to be me,
Dolly Trashbags.
Everything isn't about you.
If anybody around here
is going to get cancer...
we're all going to get cancer.
How long have I been
at Kerr McGee?
Two years in October.
Thelma only got 24 DPMs.
Is that bad?
It's not super bad.
Are you just waking up to this?
You think we're working
with puffed wheat?
I'm just asking a question.
If you're really worried
about it, stop smoking.
Come on. Let's go to bed.
Let's go to bed.
You getting bored with it?
Come on.
Didn't you go to bed yet?
I'm sorry I yelled at you
last night.
I love you, Karen.
I love you, too.
I don't mean "I love you, too."
I know that's not what you mean.
That's what I mean.
We'd better go.
- What's going on?
- Nothing.
I saw Thelma this morning.
Thelma hasn't had
her mind on her work...
since her daughter took sick.
It's terrible what they do
when they scrub a person.
I've been through it.
It ain't so bad.
Did she have just external,
or was it internal?
- Just external.
- They give her a nasal smear?
That's how they tell
about the internal.
No, I don't think so.
Shoot, I knew that!
Why didn't I think of that?
They should've given her
a nasal smear.
You can't think of everything.
Boy, they didn't even
give her a nasal smear!
- Why are you so interested?
- Huh?
Why are you so interested
all of a sudden?
Karen, I got one for you.
For as long as
anyone could remember...
this Indian chief
was in charge...
of naming all the children
that were born in the tribe.
One day, this brave
comes up to him and says...
"Chief, can I ask you something?"
"How do you name these children?"
"How do you
think of their names?"
And the chief says,
"It's very simple."
"When a child is born..."
"and I see
snow gently falling..."
"I say, you shall be called
Snow Gently Falling."
"And when a child is born
and I see a hawk flying over..."
"I say, you shall be named
Hawk Flying Over."
"But tell me, Two Dogs Fucking,
why are you so interested?"
That's terrible.
Thelma, did they give you
a nasal smear?
You make them
give you a nasal smear.
They're supposed to.
Make Hurley give you one.
And make him tell you the count!
And make sure
he's telling you the truth. ..
because there's
a lot of liars around here.
Nice going.
Happy birthday to you.
That's beautiful!
It's got my name on it.
Look at that.
- Wait a minute.
- Finally, you're twenty-one.
There's your happy birthday hat.
A happy birthday to you.
A present, too?
This is too much.
Look at the way
they decorated this.
Open it up.
Be careful, Gilda. It's hot.
- Hot?
- I didn't see this.
- Oh, look!
- Look at that!
Check this out, Georgie.
- Take it off.
- Oh, my Lord.
- Panties, too, ma'am.
- Put it on, Gilda.
Oh, my Lord, Cultis'd kill me.
I want to know what's under
them little bows.
Here's your piece.
Goddamn, this cake is just...
It's Gilda's birthday,
Mr. Hurley.
Would you like a piece of cake?
Who brought the cake in?
We are three months late
on this contract.
The day we deliver
the last fuel rod to Hanford...
we'll only be
one million dollars in the hole.
The contract
isn't going to be renewed...
and none of us will have a job.
Even this is taking time.
Clean those crumbs up
after your shift.
I get to clean up after you
for a change.
Have a good time!
It's like staying after school.
I don't know.
- Karen was a bad girl.
- Oh, God.
You bring one of these
in every week...
and leave it on the shelf
just outside the locker room.
We'll monitor them
for radiation.
I'm supposed
to pee in it at home.
That's right.
My hair feels awful.
I wish I had some of
that conditioner around.
I'm going to call my mama,
tell her to send some up.
She called me the other day.
She said...
"Karen Gay, I been thinking
about your nails."
"How are your nails?"
"You taking care of them?
You been biting them?"
I said, "Oh, boy, I'm taking
good care of them, Mama."
"Don't cut the cuticles, now,
you hear?"
I wish I could
take care of you better.
I remember...
in high school
her saying to me...
"Now, what'd you want
to go and sign up..."
"for that science class for?"
"There's no girls
in that science class."
"Why don't you take Home Ec?"
"That's the way to meet
the nice boys."
I said, "Mama,
there ain't no boys in Home Ec."
"Boys are in the science class."
She hated it
when I said "ain't."
Yakety, yakety, yak.
At least he doesn't talk. ..
when he doesn't have
something to say.
My daddy.
Does that hurt?
I can't stay away from you.
You know that.
You can be the biggest bitch
God ever made...
and then you
turn around on me...
and you're like this,
and I want to die.
And the next thing I know...
you decide about me
not having socks on...
the day before,
and you throw a fit.
It's not that, Drew.
- You know.
- I know.
I know what it is.
I know all about you.
You do, don't you?
Poor old Drew.
Haul ass, you guys.
I gotta take my own car.
I'm working a double shift.
This says...
This says all that stuff
about acceptable levels.. .
it's all bullshit.
What is?
Well, it says here.. .
"Plutonium gives you cancer."
Says it flat out.
Where'd you get that?
It came in all that union stuff
from Washington.
You got one. Everybody got one.
Hurley works there.
Think he'd work there
if he was going to get cancer?
Listen to this...
"genetic damage."
Meaning what?
Meaning it goes on down
into your kids.
It says here. ..
"Gross physical
and mental defects."
I already got them.
Boy, I missed you.
How many more nights
you gotta work?
A couple.
You got transferred.
I what?
Posted it this morning
as I was leaving.
You're in metallography.
- Metallography?
- That's what it said.
That'll take me three months
to requalify for overtime!
Shit! I love that!
Hurley throws a fit how
we're late on the contracts.. .
then he transfers me out?
The union going
to help me out now?
I'm one of
the best people he's got.
I got transferred
to metallography.
Metallography, with Winston?
them little gray pellets
you've been making...
are put into
those long fuel rods...
and the long fuel rods
are packed into bundles...
over at
your friend Drew's section.
And after the weld is made,
they take a slice out of it...
and they make a cross section.
So, what your job is...
is to mount
that cross section over here.
And then you grind it,
and you polish it.
And here's where
you take a picture of it.
And then you develop it
in the darkroom.
Then I inspect the negative for
any imperfections in the weld...
and if it's OK,
we pass on that lot...
and they get shipped out.
You're familiar
with developing procedure?
Yeah. I am.
I got some pictures in here.
They're all backed up, so...
why don't you
get to work on them...
and then tomorrow
I'll be glad...
to go over the polishing
procedure with you.
What are you doing?
I'm looking at you.
What are you doing
to the negative?
Sometimes when
you take a picture...
you get these
white spots in there...
so we make them go away.
Doesn't somebody have to look
at them to make sure they're OK?
Yeah, but I mean...
- You mean what?
- How do you. ..
How do you know if
they're just spots?
They could be defects
in the weld.
No, no, no.
I've already checked the weld.
I'm just putting
beauty marks on them.
get away with that thing.
Thank you.
I just want to bring y'all
up to date.
Some of you
weren't here last time...
and some of you
who were here last time...
aren't here this time,
that's for damn sure.
Now, three weeks ago. ..
the company got enough names
on this petition...
to hold
a decertification election.
I know you all
are confused about this.
What this means is...
that the National
Labor Relations Board...
will come in here
and hold an election...
where everybody votes whether
to certify or decertify...
the union's staying on
in this plant.
Morgan, did I do that right?
What this means...
is that we are in deep shit.
What this means is,
if we lose this election...
there ain't going to be
any union at this plant.
Nobody standing up for us
against Kerr McGee...
which I read
in the newspapers...
is gonna take in
$1.5 billion this year.
And which, as you all know...
takes about as much time
thinking about our problems...
as grease takes
to go through a goose.
We gotta do a lot of work. ..
between now and
the election in October.
We lost a lot of members...
since the strike
didn't work out last year.
So now I want to know...
who can help me?
They said if you're really
worried about it...
you're welcome to get involved.
You could be on the committee.
What committee?
Negotiating committee.
- You?
- Yeah.
On the union
negotiating committee.
Karen, let me give you a hint.
Don't flash 'em.
It turns you on.
Yeah, but I'm not management.
- I'm as smart as Hurley is.
- Just as tactful.
You sound like my mother.
You don't just stand
toe to toe with someone...
call him a motherfucker,
and get anywhere.
I'll keep it in mind.
Do you...
Do you feel different
about me...
since I got cooked?
What do you mean?
You know.
I still want to fuck you.
I sure as hell don't want
to fuck Thelma anymore.
Oh, Jesus.
I'll give you something.
- Where are they?
- They're next door.
Oh, God.
Think you made
enough noise there, Dolly?
You two ain't exactly
a silent movie yourself.
This here is Angela.
She's a beautician.
Well, hi there.
Personally, I don't see
anything wrong with it.
No. Neither do I.
Guess it figures, doesn't it?
I can handle it.
Me, too.
So why are we talking about it?
What if we wrote them?
What if we wrote
the national union. ..
told them
what's going on down here?
Maybe they'd help us.
We're not going to win
the election by ourselves.
We gotta do something, I think.
Management is putting up
these memos now...
saying no union business
on our breaks.
That's our own time, Quincy.
Yeah. They think they can
get away with anything.
I'll see you in the morning.
Sounds like they're trying
to get rid of you.
They're going to get
a big fight if they try.
Karen, you ever been downtown?
There are two big streets.
One's called Kerr,
and one's called McGee.
And that's how I see it.
They own the state.. .
they own everybody
in this state.. .
and they own practically
everybody I work on.
What do you think?
What kind of
make-up base do you use?
The kind I always use.
I don't mind somebody taking
my beers if they replace it.
You're making a big deal
out of everything lately.
Everything's going to hell
around here.
Meaning you're out of beer?
Meaning you're on
the goddamn phone night and day.
What did you do to your face?
Doesn't she look great?
Looks like a fucking corpse.
That's not very nice.
It's not very nice to make fun
of what a person does.
If that's what a beautician
does, I'll take mine rare.
Drew, Angela works at Thayer's.
Funeral home?
Hell, why didn't you say so?
Drew, I can always tell...
when a dead person I beautify
worked for Kerr McGee...
because they all look like
they died before they died.
Why don't you lay off her?
Jesus Christ.
I bet there's something to that.
To what?
About people looking like
they died before they died.
You know, plutonium and all.
Drew, what's your opinion?
It's fine.
The other one was fine, too.
They're all fine.
Honey, this is really important.
This is a meeting
with the national union...
and the Atomic Energy
The national union is paying...
for our plane tickets
and our hotel room.
He's just jealous.
Is this meeting
in Washington state...
or Washington, D.C.?
The one you got on
is much better.
OK. I will wear this to the AEC.
And what shall I wear
on the plane?
Something that won't wrinkle.
Like a shroud, maybe.
I get so tired of your jokes.
Sir, would you mind
putting your tray down, please?
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Miss, how much is this?
It comes with your ticket.
we're going to
union headquarters first...
and you'll meet Max Richter,
who runs our Washington office.
Then we'll go over what
you're telling the AEC tomorrow.
Is the company going to
find out about this?
It's highly unlikely.
Whenever the AEC Inspector
comes to the plant...
anybody says anything to him,
the company finds out.
Yeah, right.
Maybe you could bring that up.
Could we stop over there?
Excuse me.
Could we stop? Please?
Yeah. Sure. OK.
Look this way. Straight ahead.
Yeah, that's good. Perfect.
Bobby Beckwith
tore a hole in his glove.
Let me see
if I can read this here.
I think it says July the 23rd.
Isn't that about right, Morgan?
Yeah. That was right before
Karen came back...
and they tried to pin
the contamination on her.
The plutonium soaked through
his coveralls to his arm.
what the hell
is going on out there?
It's National "Something" Day.
Can't breathe.
- What?
- Can't breathe.
There's a lot of stuff here
about the respirators.
We get these contaminations...
and sometimes
we got to wear these masks...
for a week, 10 days,
sometimes 12 hours a day.
Are you working 12 hours?
They're late on the contract.
Running double shifts.
And they got us working
in these respirators...
and I want to tell you,
it gets real hot.
And they don't fit.
I mean, mine doesn't fit.
What you people have
brought in today is wonderful.
Excuse me.
I just wanted to say one thing.
That was the thing
about the showers.
There are only two showers
for 75 workers per shift.
And it's not really clean.
Everybody wanted me
to say something about that.
Right. It's probably best
if we stick to the stuff...
that's really connected
with the radiation.
What about
that contaminated truck?
They cut up this hot truck
and buried it.
Right. That was in your letter.
I've got to catch my plane.
Paul will take care of you.
The only way
we can get enough votes...
to keep the union
in your plant.. .
is on the health
and safety issue.
So we'll get a couple of
hotshot doctors in to speak.
You keep telling
Paul all this stuff.
And try to get
everything clear...
for the AEC tomorrow, all right?
I'll be back in a second.
I'm going to go find a restroom.
Excuse me.
There's one more thing.
I work in metallography.
In X-rays.
And sometimes we...
Quite frankly,
we have negatives altered.
The negatives of the welds
in the fuel rods.
They take a weld
and cross section it.
Then they photograph it,
and there's a defect.
Then they just touch it up.
Touch it up?
With a Pentel pen.
Right on the negatives.
They fill in the white spots.
You're talking about
X-rays of fuel rods?
The fuel rods
they're sending up to that...
We're sending up to
that breeder reactor...
they're testing in Hanford.
Do you know what that means?
I know they shouldn't do it.
Excuse us.
Why don't we go in there?
In an ordinary nuclear plant...
you can have meltdowns,
poisonous gas, and dead people.
That's nothing compared to what
can go wrong with a breeder.
You put defective fuel rods
in a breeder reactor...
for all we know, the whole
state could be wiped out.
Can you get
documentation of that?
I guess so.
If you could get documentation,
that would be very important.
We'll set you up with a reporter
from the "New York Times". ..
get the company up against
the wall on negotiations.
But you'd have to have
I don't know about putting
names in the newspaper.
Names aren't the point.
The point is
that if you're right...
they could kill off
two million people.
There's a moral imperative
involved here.
Think about it. Talk to Paul.
You look like a standup girl.
I'll be right there.
I've never seen
so many bands in my life.
All right,
we're going to go over...
your statements
for the AEC meeting.
And later, you and I
will go through yours.
There was 23 people there,
including us.
Of course, I couldn't
take any pictures...
while the meeting was going on.
Just imagine
all these old geezers...
sitting there,
pitchers of water...
and they all looked so bored.
It's like they had
heard it all before.
I think the union's
really going to help us now.
That doesn't
belong in here at all.
That's one of them slides
you can buy.
Oh, hell. May, did you
put them in this order?
I didn't touch them, Quincy.
There's the Lincoln Memorial,
of course.
That's where we stayed.
I couldn't get it
all in the picture.
You could get dinner
in your room if you wanted...
but we didn't.
I had one of the waiters
take this one.
Who's that guy?
That's Paul Stone.
He works for the union.
This is on the way
to the airport.
And that's the White House.
I wanted to take a picture
of Ol' Gerry Ford...
cooking his English muffin,
but they wouldn't let us in.
How many people know about
you going to Washington?
Only the people in that room.
Quincy and Morgan
know about your spying?
People are going
to lose jobs, Karen.
Some of them ought to.
There's a moral imperative here.
You going to put
some big story in the papers?
In the "New York Times."
In the "New York Times."
Guess that about ties
the package up with a bow.
What's the matter with him?
Some guy in Washington
I should have told him about.
- Is that all?
- No.
What you doing?
Thinking. Drinking.
I was just thinking...
if you'd ever quit
and come away with me.
Well, I can't quit now.
That's what I was thinking.
It's cold out here.
Come on inside.
I quit.
You what?
This afternoon. Gave my notice.
- You quit?
- That's what I said.
This afternoon?
Why didn't you tell me?
I don't know.
I just didn't tell you.
why'd you quit?
I just don't give a shit.
You don't give a shit
if everybody in the plant...
is being poisoned?
Don't give me a problem
I can't solve.
Did you take
the waylon Jennings tapes?
I left them for you.
They're yours.
You can take them.
You can keep them, Karen.
Take it easy, Dolly.
Drew, come on. Stay.
Sweetheart, it's like
you're two people.
I'm in love with one of them...
but the other one's...
Just a general pain in the ass.
I loved it, baby.
What are you doing in there?
What are you doing in my desk?
If I tell you, you'll promise
not to tell anybody?
I keep my pills in there,
in that drawer...
because I have an allergy...
and they don't let you bring
medication into the plant...
so I hid them in there.
I don't believe you.
I think you should take
a person's word for something.
These don't look like
antihistamines to me.
you know what these are?
These are little
tiny time capsules. ..
like the ones you see on TV.
They clear up
your nasal passages...
for up to 12 hours straight.
- Excuse me.
- God bless you.
In the coal mines years ago...
they used to put canaries
in the tunnels.
If the canaries dropped dead...
they knew there was a gas leak.
But it's a brand-new industry...
so you're the canaries.
The trouble is, you're not going
to drop dead right away.
It might take ten years.
Twenty. We don't know.
Here's what we know...
Plutonium causes cancer.
Anybody tells you
we don't know...
how much plutonium
causes cancer, they're lying.
What we don't know...
is how little plutonium
causes cancer.
The government says.. .
that the maximum
permissible body burden.. .
for your lifetime
is 40 nanocuries.
Let me tell you
how much that is.
That is a tiny dot
on a piece of paper.
we say that's too much.
We say that it takes
less than that to kill you.
We don't say
it's twice too much...
or three times too much.
We think that that is
115,000 times too much.
A pollen-sized
grain of plutonium.. .
injected in mice causes cancer.
When you inhale it,
and it lodges in your lungs...
you're married to cancer.
We've been through
all the training literature.. .
Kerr McGee hands out
to new employees...
and there's nothing
about cancer.
Did management give you
any literature about cancer?
Then you get contaminated,
and they tell you...
you've had an acceptable level
of contamination.
I say there's no such thing.
There must be some questions.
Is there any way to get
the plutonium out of you...
if it's inside your lungs?
You can take the lung out,
but that's a little extreme.
You want to get
something to eat?
Very nice meeting you.
Have a good night.
That was great.
The union is really in solid.
we don't have to worry about...
How come why didn't we hear
any of this before?
And we didn't see
any of you guys...
until they decided
to vote the union out or not?
If you're so worried about us...
where the hell were you
in the beginning?
What we're saying
is you need someone...
looking out for
your health and safety.
The company says
they're taking care of you.
Do you believe that?
- Yeah. I believe that.
- You do?
You're the only guy
in that room that still does.
Let me tell you something else.
Doesn't matter if you work
on plutonium or dog food...
they won't give you a thing.
There's nowhere left to go.
You start causing problems...
and Kerr McGee shuts
that plant down, then what?
You're up in Washington, D.C.
We're down here out of work.
Your cancer is a maybe.
That's all it is.
- He's just scared.
- Yeah.
The meeting was really good.
Yeah, look...
I got an early plane, Karen.
Meaning what?
I don't think this is smart,
us getting involved.
We already got involved.
Hi. This is Paul Stone.
I'm out right now...
but if you leave
a message after the beep...
I'll get back to you.
Hi, this is Karen.
I just wanted to let you know...
that we won
the union election 80 to 61...
and I'm real happy.
It's real hard
to keep calling you...
from a pay phone
if you're never there...
so that's why
I'm calling you from here.
I have some things that...
I really need
to talk to you about...
and I just wish
that I could talk to you.
Been under a lot
of pressure here, boy.
It's great
we won and everything.. .
but just.. .
Been under really
a lot of pressure, and...
I don't know. I feel like I'm...
All alone.
Guess you didn't hear
that last part.
Come on!
Do you want coffee?
I went to make popcorn
last night.. .
and there's no Wesson oil.
So, go get some.
I'm not in charge
of the Wesson oil...
I'm not in charge
of the shopping.
I can't do it every time.
I can't do it this afternoon.
I got a union meeting.
If you're talking like that...
to impress that
outside agitator of yours...
he ain't here, so cut the shit.
We can't do the shopping
unless you give us your key.
what happened to your key?
If we knew that,
we wouldn't need yours.
- I lost it.
- You lost it.
Leave it under the step.
What if somebody rapes me
because you lost your key?
Who's going to rape you
that you ain't already fucked?
- Hiya, Thelma.
- Hi, honey.
- How are you doing?
- Pretty good.
I was trying to get
blood for my daughter.. .
and Hurley said asking
people at the plant. ..
is against union rules.
Oh, yeah? He said that?
The workers in this plant...
have certified us
as their representatives...
so we should get started
on some real negotiations.
I talked to the lawyer
last week downtown.
He said he'd get back
to me on Monday.
You said that last week.
He hasn't gotten back to me yet.
Excuse me.
Mr. Hurley, did you tell
an employee in wet processing...
that it was against
union rules to give blood?
I don't recall saying that, no.
Good. Because I just called
the bloodmobile...
and they can come over
on Tuesday.
No, don't wake them up.
Tell them I called again.
Tell them Mama's OK...
and I love them...
and I miss them...
and I'll come see them
as soon as I can.
Yeah, I know.
I'm not always here...
but we're working double shifts.
But Dolly can always
take a message.
Thank you.
What's the matter?
I miss Drew.
Call him up.
Angela went back to her husband.
Gee, Dolly, I'm sorry.
You OK?
You could have thought
of that this morning...
before your nineteenth
nervous breakdown.
Don't you lay this off on me.
Anybody else would have
thrown Angela out day one.
When Drew was here,
you weren't like this.
You think Angela left
on account of me?
Let me tell you something, girl.
Drew left on account
of you and Angela.
If you believe that,
you're crazier than people say.
You took about as
good care of Drew...
as you took of your kids.
I know that you took
good care of your kids.
You know...
the only thing everybody
says I'm crazy about...
is to live with you.
You mean with a dyke?
I mean with a person
who thinks she's in love...
with a person who puts
lipstick on stiffs...
and smells like formaldehyde.
She didn't smell
like formaldehyde.
She did so.
And I'm so tired of her jokes.
You know, maybe...
maybe Drew is right.
Maybe we should just quit...
get out of here.
Move someplace where it's clean.
You and me?
Jesus, Dolly.
Don't you cry.
Go to sleep, you little baby.
When you wake.
You shall have.
All the pretty little horses.
- I don't want it.
- Eat something, Karen.
I'm not hungry.
That's just like Curtis.
When he works late...
he don't get enough sleep
and loses his appetite.
I've been blending up
these shakes...
with bananas
and chocolate syrup...
and making him drink them
on the way to work.
Curtis is out working late?
- Out partying at the Red Dog.
- Come on, Wesley.
He's been up four nights
in a row flushing out pipes.
They come up short again.
They come up short on plutonium?
He's telling you
he's working late...
but he's seeing a hot
little number from Edmond.
Don't forget the banana...
and you can put in an egg
if you want to.
They say they were missing
more than a kilo?
I'll see you later.
Why are you writing it down?
The union is supposed
to keep track of these things.
Am I right? OK. So?
You won your election.
We are still negotiating
a contract here.
Why don't you concentrate
on upping our wages...
and skip over
what is none of our business?
This is our business, honey.
Karen, I like my job!
And I found out
that this 18-year-old kid...
had been underneath
uncapping the drain...
and a cup of the solution
dumped right down on him.
Right on his head.
So they shaved his head...
and now the stubble
is growing in hot.
Jesus, that's terrible.
Are you getting
the stuff together?
Maintenance people are exposed
to more hot stuff than anybody.
Look, Karen, the X-rays
are really important.
We're going into
the contract negotiations...
and we want to get the guy
from the "Times" down there..."
in mid-November.
That's three weeks.
I know, I know.
I'm getting the stuff.
It's just not that easy.
- You scared me.
- Meant to.
I'm doing something good.
I know what you're doing...
and you're the wrong person
to be doing it.
And it's dangerous.
That's all I'm saying.
Thank you, Curtis.
It's good to know.
Gilda says Karen
is going to get...
one of those
Sherlock Holmes hats.
Then she'll find everything
that's missing in the plant.
Winston, seen my clipboard?
Why don't you speak
to the union. ..
about how you're late
for work all the time?
Late from your break.
Supposed to be in here
ten minutes ago...
instead of wherever you were.
Tell them that next time
you go to Washington.
Stopped in to say hi to y'all.
God, I don't know
hardly any of you people.
Gilda, you have any time?
Maybe I could talk to you
on your break?
I can't, Karen.
Just for a couple minutes?
Maybe next week.
You monitoring yourself, Karen?
Yes, Georgie!
I hope you write it down...
in your little notebook
every time you don't!
Along with the stuff
about the rest of us!
Oh, no! No! Damn it!
They haven't found
a hole in the glove...
but they're still checking.
It's a very slight
external contamination.
An acceptable level.
And you're clean now.
Been bringing your samples in?
Every week.
Start bringing them in
on a daily basis.
You can pick up your kits
on the way out of the plant.
Boy, I'll be happy the day
I don't have to pee in a jar.
Are you all right?
Yeah. I'm all right.
Would you call somebody for me?
Yeah, sure.
Look! Drew! My God, you're back!
I missed you so much!
Look at your little face!
Dolly, stop!
Jesus, I'm late.
Look at your little body!
Is she OK?
I spilled my urine sample.
Her and that union monkey
got nothing going anymore.
It's strictly business.
Are you moving back in?
I got a place of my own, Dolly.
You two can come stay with me
anytime you want.
Bologna and cheese.
If you're back,
I'm really glad you're back.
Good morning.
Hi, Karen. How you doing?
I'm in the pink.
Oh, God!
No! Stop it!
Stop it! Stop it!
Earl, what's going on?
Dolly, this won't take long...
but I don't want you
getting in our way.
Who the hell are these people?
This is my house!
Tell me what's going.. .
One package of S.O.S.
One box of S.O.S.
One bottle of Spray 'n Wipe.
One bottle of Spray 'n Wipe.
One pack of Rice-a-roni.
One package Rice-a-roni.
Three framed photographs.
Don't take those!
These are my kids' pictures.
Earl, don't let them take
my babies' pictures.
If you're going to watch,
you have to stand back now.
Mr. Hurley,
they're taking everything.
Listen to me.
We're getting readings from
the sink, the toilet seat...
from the make-up you touched...
from the bologna and cheese
in the refrigerator...
from your samples...
and we're getting next to
nothing on Drew and Dolly...
and your car
is absolutely clean.
How do you explain that?
- I don't know.
- Think about it, Karen.
- I have to go.
- Where you going?
- I have to go with him.
- No!
I'll be OK.
I have it under control.
- Don't go anywhere with him.
- It's all right.
I'm coming!
Keep your goddamn hands off!
It's all right.
Come on, Karen. Concentrate.
How did that plutonium
get in my house?
Did you put it there?
Did I what? Are you crazy?
You think I put...
You think
I'd contaminate myself?
I think you'd do anything
to hurt this company.
- Then I spilled it.
- What?
I spilled
my urine sample container.
Somebody must have put
plutonium in my container.
And then I spilled it
on my bathroom floor.
I cleaned it all up
and my hands must have got hot.
And then what did I touch?
OK, I touched my sink...
I touched my make-up...
and I forget what stuff
in the refrigerator.
That's it. See?
Somebody spiked
my urine sample container.
- Who?
- Boy!
How do I know who?
Anybody could have done it.
You leave it sitting there by
the punch-in at the plant!
Anybody could've dropped
a little plutonium in there.
There's a lot of people
at the plant hate me.
The whole house is hot.
How did it get hot?
I spilled it! I told you, man!
That doesn't explain
the readings. ..
we're getting
on your nasal smear.
45,000 DPM.
45,000 DPM.
Oh, my Jesus.
I'm internally contaminated.
That's what you mean.
We don't know what it means.
- That's what you mean!
- Karen, calm down.
Karen, listen.
Get out of my way!
Oh, Jesus!
Where am I going to go now?
I don't have anyplace to go now.
We're getting a room for Dolly.
we want to help you.
We can help you
with a place to stay.
We can help you with money.
But first I have
to sign something, right?
You want me to sign a statement
saying I did all this.
Just in your own words
what happened.
In my own words?
I'm contaminated.
I'm dying.
What are you doing here?
I'm just looking around,
like you.
You're here.
Jesus Christ.
I didn't know where you were.
What the hell happened?
They're killing me.
They're trying to kill me.
They want me
to stop what I'm doing.
They contaminated me,
you know that?
I'm internally contaminated now.
Now, you listen to me.
We're going to go
to Los Alamos on Thursday...
and we'll get a full body count
from some doctors...
who know what they're doing.
All three of us.
Oh, God! I'm so scared now.
It says here that
there's plutonium missing...
from just about every
nuclear plant in this country.
- who's got it?
- Any asshole that wants it.
That's the guy, Drew.
The guy
Paul is bringing to see me.
The guy that wrote it,
from the "New York Times."
if you're going to be
in the newspaper...
I want to be in there, too.
Dolly, did you...
Did you tell the company
about the "New York Times"?
No. I don't think
I remembered that part.
Did you tell them
about the X-rays?
- Dolly?
- No.
Are you sure?
Karen, they know
everything about us.
They don't know
about the X-rays, do they?
OK. That's it.
All right, Mr. Stephens
and Miss Pelliker.. .
you both check out well below
permissible body limits.
You were exposed to
Miss Silkwood and the house...
but you show minimum
detectable activity now.
Miss Silkwood.
We have detected
americium in both lungs...
and both sides of your chest.
Americium is produced
when plutonium disintegrates.
And extrapolating from
your americium level.. .
we estimate you have
an internal contamination...
of six nanocuries of plutonium.
The maximum permissible
body burden...
for occupational exposure
is 40 nanocuries.
As you can see,
you are well under that level.
- I'm under it.
- As well as we can determine.
These are very sophisticated
but their accuracy may be off.. .
by plus or minus 300%
at this level.
Plus or minus 300%?
That's correct.
Then what you're saying is...
that the amount
of plutonium inside me...
could be three times less
than you even think?
Or three times greater.
But even that would be under
the maximum body burden.
I think you should come on
down to Oklahoma City...
and bring that reporter
from the "New York Times."
Are you ready to see him?
I'm ready.
You got the documents?
Come on down.
Man, I love it here.
I love this country.
Wouldn't you like
to stay here forever?
Doctors are all goddamn liars.
Land's cheap there.
I read about this.
You can build yourself
a pueblo house.
Make it out of adobe brick,
like the Indians.
Mud, straw...
Comes right out of the ground.
Got to build a well,
but that's not too bad.
You get a bunch of guys
to do you a favor.
You do them a favor.
It's all barter system
out there.
You can make the rooms
any shape.
You can make 'em round.
It's not a right-angle
kind of life.
Have room for your kids.
Hell, we could have
kids of our own.
We love each other.
Why not?
They wouldn't...
They wouldn't come out right.
Hell, I didn't come out right.
You came out OK.
What is it?
Come on.
Come on. I don't care.
I know.
You aren't going
to contaminate me...
any more than I've already been.
I'm sorry.
I forgot to turn off the alarm.
I thought you weren't going in.
Well. .. I have to.
Call in sick.
No, I really do.
I really mean
you ought to call in sick.
Think they'll let you work?
There's something I got to get.
At the plant?
Are you wearing my shirt?
Huh? My shirt!
You don't have to get up now.
Sweetheart, don't get
anything out of the plant.
If I get hung up
at the union meeting...
will you pick up
Paul Stone and the guy...
from the "New York Times"
at the airport?
Fuck no.
Come on, darling.
I don't know how late
this meeting will go tonight.
I don't want you doing that.
Well... I'm doing it.
You don't owe
the union anything.
Let's not fight.
You don't owe
the "New York Times" anything.
Let's not have a fight now.
We can always have a fight later.
Hey, Drew!
Amazing grace.
How sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch...
- Give me your notes.
- OK.
Listen, you sure you're OK?
I'm OK.
- Bye-bye!
- Bye.
Once was lost.
But now I'm found.
Was blind.
But now I see.
'Twas grace that taught.
My heart to fear.
And grace my fears released.
How precious
did that grace appear.
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers,
toils, and snares.
we have already come.
'Twas grace that brought us
safe thus far.
And grace will lead us home.
When we've been there
ten thousand years.
Bright-shining as the sun.
We've no less days.
To sing God's praise.
As when we first begun.
Amazing grace.
How sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost.
But now I'm found.
was bound, but now I'm free