While reading the synopsis, it really sounded like something I’d be interested in. (I think I’ve mentioned here before how I enjoy watching movies where I learn about business).
This film happens to take place at the beginning of the century, a time where opportunities were plentiful and some of the wealthiest families today made their millions (who are now worth billions). It truly was an exciting time in American history.
Basically, this movie focuses on oil men and their quest to find oil and strike it rich. (Sounds similar to the gold rush too!) And, this is the time where Standard Oil is the big kahuna when it comes to oil and has already been well established.
Though, there are still some parts of America at the time that have been untapped – mainly in the West. And, this is where the oil men seek opportunities and begin looking for their pot of gold. (aka oil)
It was very interesting to watch this movie and see how the oil business worked back then. Basically, the oil men would find a piece of land they thought had some oil (based on sample testing) and would offer to lease the land from the landowners (usually farmers) for a small fee. In addition, the oil men would offer the landowners a royalty fee (or percentage) of the profits if they found any oil on their land.
Most of these landowners were farmers who lived very simple lives. And, they did not have the equipment or the manpower to drill for oil. The money the oil men would offer them seemed to good too pass up. In reality, the oil men would offer a really small fee compared to the profits they would actually be making off of the oil. The main character, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, said in one scene he was making $5,000 per week as an oil man with his operation. That’s a lot of money, even today!
However, drilling for oil is a very dangerous job – many lives were at stake (thus the name of the movie). So, it was the oil men who were taking the risk. The landowners simply allowed them to use their land. So, in a way it was a win/win situation for everyone.
The film did go into the pros and cons of the oil business and in running a business in general. It was very interesting to watch. There were some moments of the film where unexpected things happened – its all a part of the kind of life we choose.
I really enjoyed the movie. Though, I have to warn you – it’s not for everyone. It’s more of a history piece than anything else. In my opinion, I think you need to be interested in history to enjoy the film. It is quite long (over 2.5 hours), though it takes you through the history and evolution of the time period which I really enjoyed.
If you’re in the mood for a history type film and have an interest in business, I recommend checking this one out!
Happy movie watching!