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3 Movies That Accurately Portray Oil Spills

The world needs oil to function. While there are many ways to obtain this oil, one of the most popular ways is drilling in waterways for the oil underneath them. 

Many companies then build oil rigs on top of or near the drill site so that they can easily control and monitor the drilling.

Despite the monitoring proximity, sometimes accidents happen, and the area experiences an oil spill. There are three movies you can watch that accurately portray oil spills if you want to learn more.

Movies About Oil Spills

These three movies accurately portray oil spills and the conversations surrounding the oil industry. Watching them can help us better understand the tension between our need for oil and the protection our environment needs.

Deepwater Horizon (4K UHD)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mark Walberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell (Actors)

Deepwater Horizon Is a Dramatic True Story

People often ask questions like “What movie is based on the oil spill?” or “What is the movie about the biggest oil spill?

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Perhaps the most famous movie about an oil spill is Deepwater Horizon. While this movie is a drama, it is an Oil rig movie based on the true story of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010.

Was the Deepwater Horizon movie accurate?

Unlike some movies that are based on a true story, this movie is very accurate. Mark Wahlberg faithfully depicts the Chief Electronics Technician, Mike Williams.

All eleven people who perished on the rig from the explosion or the subsequent fire also appear in the movie.

The only deviation from reality is who takes the blame. While the movie places most of the blame on the BP managers, the cause of the incident reaches beyond them.

Accidental miscommunication, pressure from the Transocean employees that helped manage the drill and rig, and problems across the oil industry helped perpetuate the disaster.

It’s worth noting that the movie focuses on the incident surrounding the Deepwater Horizon, not the environmental impact. While the Deepwater Horizon incident is tragic in its loss of human life, a more faithful telling would also mention the impact of the following 87-day oil spill.

What is the Netflix show about the oil spill?

Deepwater Horizon was available on Netflix in the US, but is not currently available. You can opt for Netflix to Remind Me when it's available again.

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Movies like Deepwater Horizon

Saving Pelican 895
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Irene Taylor Brodsky (Director) - Irene Taylor Brodsky (Producer)

Saving Pelican 895 Focuses on the Environment, Not Politics

While Deepwater Horizon is accurate in its depiction of the start of the BP oil spill, Saving Pelican 895 accurately portrays the environmental aftermath. This short documentary especially focuses on the spill’s effects on wildlife, including pelicans and other birds.

We trust documentaries to be more accurate than drama movies, even those based on real stories. While documentaries are still susceptible to bias, Saving Pelican 895 focuses on the environment, not the politics surrounding the oil spill.

This is in part because the rescue workers trying to save the titular pelican and others like him focus on their jobs, not politics.

Creating a cleanup action plan and decontaminating the spill site, including wildlife, are two parts of the seven-step process of a spill response. The accurate portrayal of these important steps gives us a better idea of what happened after the BP oil spill and what would need to happen after future oil spills.

L’Or du golfe Captures Oil Debates in Real Time

For those who don’t mind reading subtitles, L’Or du golfe or Gulf Gold is a good French-Canadian documentary. Unlike the film and documentary mentioned above, this movie doesn’t start because of an oil spill, but in fear of one.

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Singer Kevin Parent grows concerned about the potential for an oil spill in his community following the 2010 BP oil spill. He partners with film director Ian Jaquier to capture how other locals feel about the encroaching oil industry and its effect on their environment.

While L’Or du golfe is biased by a concerned citizen and partnering director, it does accurately capture the community’s attitude toward the oil industry. They also speak with experts to better understand what is currently happening during filming and what could happen in the future, such as a disastrous oil spill.

These three movies accurately portray oil spills and the conversations surrounding the oil industry. Watching them can help us better understand the tension between our need for oil and the protection our environment needs.

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