The oil & gas industry has become a source of inspiration for many movies and series depicting working on offshore platforms, oil & gas drilling, and the greatest oil rig disasters. If you are looking for interesting oil&gas films to stream this weekend instead of rewatching your favorite Netflix series or gambling at the new casino, then look at our list of top nine films and series about the oil and gas industry in cinematic history. Some of them are based on real events. Hopefully, you will enjoy all the movies listed!
“Deepwater Horizon” (2016)
Directed by Peter Berg, this biographical catastrophe film is based on real-time and very tragic events. The story will take the viewer straight to the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Then, in the Gulf of Mexico on the oil platform Deepwater Horizon, the drilling rig exploded and the offshore platform sank. The movie about the accident of an oil platform at sea will tell how this terrible disaster interrupted the lives of many people working there. Among them is chief electronics technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), who, going on a regular shift, did not realize that he might never come home again. At the beginning of the movie, he says goodbye to his family and goes on a three-week shift on the platform, which is finishing drilling a well.
Platform supervisor Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Rassell) tries to find out from his employees if the cement in the well has been tested and soon realizes – no. Despite this, an inspection is ordered. Due to high pressure, drilling mud bursts out of the well, followed by methane, which caused the resulting fire. The workers fail to cap the well, and the oil pours directly into the ocean. At the end of the movie, the photos of the real participants of the events on the Deepwater Horizon platform are shown, as well as information about their further fate. Especially for the filming of this movie, an oil rig was built in Louisiana. “Deepwater Horizon” is not just an amazing disaster movie, but also a movie honoring the lives of men who died because of the explosion and oil split.
And it is a very realistic movie: the director and actors managed to give a sense of daily work on board of offshore platform and convey the horror of people who just a few hours ago were just working, and now have to fight for survival because of problems with recently drilled well. Besides Mark Wahlberg, who was also one of the film producers, the film stars John Malkovich, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Douglas M. Griffin, and Gina Rodriguez. “Deepwater Horizon” was nominated for two Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.
“The Burning Sea” (2021)
This epic disaster film depicts the catastrophe with an oil rig on an offshore platform. They are failing and sinking to the bottom. A dozen other rigs are on the verge of collapse. The plot unfolds slowly, against the backdrop of problems on the oil and gas rig. Although the investigation is underway, no one is in a hurry to make serious decisions. People are panic-stricken, they do stupid things, sometimes at the cost of their lives. This is a great disaster film with impressive visual effects and a solid cast.
This Norwegian thriller by Erik Skjoldbjaerg is arguably one of the best films about the oil industry, and this movie is also based on real events, a tragic accident on the offshore platform in the North See. In 1981, Norway began investigating the possibility of building a pipeline to bring oil from the North Sea fields. Petter (Aksel Hennie), a professional diver, and his team agree to take part in a deep dive. However, as a result of an accident one of the daredevils is killed. Petter is now determined to find out what happened. The man begins to ask uncomfortable questions, gradually realizing that he is on the verge of uncovering a large-scale conspiracy. A twisted detective story, with beautiful underwater footage, and a tense atmosphere of the baroque chamber, when you want to get more air in your lungs – just in case.
Directed by Stephen Gadhan, “this political thriller film is based on Robert Baer’s 2003 memoir “See No Evil”. It is a movie about the global oil industry, shown at different levels – from the laborers working on the rigs to the big players making deals in Washington and focuses on corruption related to the oil industry. The movie includes a lot of plot lines, one way or another connected with the oil industry. For example, the main character Robert Baer is a disgruntled CIA agent who has been fighting terrorism in the world for 21 years. However, after the end of the Cold War, when the threat of terrorism increased, the CIA cut funding for projects in the Middle East and eventually lost control of the strategically important region.
Numerous plot lines originate when the head of an oil company from America prepares to make a pact with a sheik from the Middle East. And CIA veteran Robert Baer (George Clooney) finds himself caught up in a fierce pursuit of wealth and power. The movie is about how interconnected the actions of those in power, ready to weave all sorts of intrigues and go head over heels for the sake of large sums, and ordinary people, far from the issues of fuel and economy. Matt Damon plays a broker-family man going through a personal tragedy, and the minor role of a CIA spy brought George Clooney “Oscar”. The movie is very large: it was shot in more than 150 locations on five continents, and it touches on many real political events and social themes, including planned regime changes in Venezuela. The plot has four different storylines.
“There Will Be Blood” (2007)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this period drama film is based on the novel “Oil !.” by Upton Sinclair about the U.S. oil business at the turn of the 20th century and the clash between miner-turned-vicious oilman Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and local preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). Daniel Plainview was a miner and lived in poverty, trying to find even a little silver or gold to earn a living. But one day he discovers oil, and from that moment his whole life begins to revolve around the black liquid. Later, the man organizes a drilling company with the fastest oil production. With power and ever-growing capital, the hero of the movie becomes a violent, obsessed, and deeply unhappy man.“There Will Be Blood” has been widely regarded as one of the best films of the 21century and won numerous awards, including Oscar for Day-Lewis as the best actor and Silver Bear Award for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival.
“Black Gold” (2011)
Artistic adventure movie about oil with good audience reviews – an adaptation of the novel by Hans Ruesch. The action of movie takes place in the first half of the last century in the Arabian Peninsula, where at that time oil was discovered in the desert. It is here, on the territory of future Saudi Arabia, that the story of the confrontation between two Arab principalities and the rivalry of two rulers begins – a story full of power struggles and love peripetias. In the 1930s, oil fields are suddenly discovered on the Arabian Peninsula – and in an instant, Saudi Arabia goes from being a third-world country to a wealthy nation with plenty of development opportunities. Such radical changes, especially if they concern black gold, are never bloodless – here we are talking about the blood of sons, brothers, and fathers. This is what happens in the life of the protagonist – suddenly he transforms from a quiet court librarian into a courageous warrior, sending someone to the dust.
A small town in southwestern Norway is on the verge of a crisis. The fisheries that the locals live off are slowly dwindling. Soon, however, the Phillips Company is contracted to drill offshore wells and discovers the largest underwater oil pool ever discovered. The plot follows the fate of four young men growing up in a country that has suddenly become a leading oil power.
“The Son”(2017 – 2019)
The protagonist of the epic series Eli McCullough is a wealthy tycoon whose personal story reflects the momentous events in the southern United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. As a young boy, he lost his parents and was taken captive by Indians. The boy grew into a strong, confident, and intelligent man. Years later Eli turns from a cattle rancher into a ruthless head of an oil empire in Texas, where he and his family reflect the attempts of Mexicans to regain their land.
“Black November” (2012)
Inspired by true events, the film is named after the November 1995 execution of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and tells the story of a Nigerian community waging war against a corrupt government. The cause of the community unrest is an oil corporation that is causing irreparable damage to African nature with excessive drilling and oil spills. Based on real events, a remake of the film “Black Gold”, for which 60% of the scenes of the original movie were reshot and the plot was slightly changed. The brave and sometimes brutal dark-skinned people of Nigeria desperately protest against the illegal appropriation of natural resources and enrichment at the expense of the local population by the authorities and members of a large corporation.
Haven’t found an oil & gas film to stream yet? Here are the films which aren’t focused on the oil industry, but also feature some oil&gas topics: “Giant” (1956), “Local Hero” (1983), “Thunder Bay” (1953), “Maracaibo” (1958),”Hellfighters” (1968), ” The Rig” (2010), “Proteus” (1995), ” Louisiana Story” (1948), “Oklahoma Crude” (1973), ”Tulsa” (1949), “The Formula” (1980), “Jarhead” (2005), “Hell or High Water” (2016), “Boom Town” (1940, “Le Salaire de la peur”/”The Wages of Fear” (1953), and documentaries “Groundswell Rising” (2015), “Virunga” (2014), “Fuel” (2008).