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There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood

4.5 46
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor


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Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson steps outside his contemporary world of dysfunctional Angelenos to explore a very different dysfunctional man -- an oil pioneer whose trailblazing spirit is equaled only by his murderous ambition. There Will Be Blood is Anderson's loose adaptation of the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair, and it focuses its attentions on


Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson steps outside his contemporary world of dysfunctional Angelenos to explore a very different dysfunctional man -- an oil pioneer whose trailblazing spirit is equaled only by his murderous ambition. There Will Be Blood is Anderson's loose adaptation of the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair, and it focuses its attentions on Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a miner who happens upon black gold during a disastrous excavation that ends in a broken leg. Pulling himself up from the bowels of the earth, both literally and metaphorically, Plainview embarks on a systematic and steadfast approach to mastering the oil business. Using plain-spoken and straightforward language, Plainview launches a campaign to convince small-town property owners they should let him drill their land. Without him, they won't have the equipment to access the profit beneath their feet. He builds an empire this way -- and gradually becomes obsessed with the intrinsic value of power, growing increasingly irascible and paranoid in the process. Plainview meets his match in Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a teenage preacher in the small California town of Little Boston, whose brother tipped Plainview off to the town's plentiful supply of untapped oil. To fully reap the benefits of the land, Plainview must suffer the opposing whims of this "prophet," whose legitimacy is questionable at best. And it's unclear if either man is prepared to pay the humiliating price the other wants to exact. There Will Be Blood features an anachronistic soundtrack by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, and it was shot in the same town where the James Dean epic Giant was filmed. ~ Derek Armstrong

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Ambition is good. Ambition spurs people on to achieve more and more, to find new ways of doing things, to refine and perfect practices that have been in effect for a long time, or to blaze a new trail that nobody before had the vision to see. Daniel Plainview, the main character in Paul Thomas Anderson's astonishing There Will Be Blood, is a man with ambition. Played with a ferocious intensity by a towering Daniel Day-Lewis, Plainview embodies everything Americans like to think of as our best traits. He is hard-working, driven, and, because of his innovative thinking and salesmanship, a great success. Even with a baby to care for (christened H.W.), his thought processes always return first and foremost to how he can get precious crude oil out of the ground. This is a man who loves a challenge, so when he is visited one day by Paul (Paul Dano), a soft-spoken young man who claims to know about a piece of land with a wealth of oil underneath it, Daniel can't resist investigating the tip. Upon Daniel's arrival, he meets the rest of Paul's family, including Paul's twin brother, Eli (Dano again), who does not easily roll over for Daniel's seemingly generous cash offer for their land. This is the first of many confrontations between the cold-blooded capitalist and the floridly vocal faith healer, and these confrontations comprise the core of the plot. Spanning 30 years, the film observes the price paid by Plainview, and all the people around him, as his single-minded ambition mutates into misanthropy and fear, laying bare his soul as well as the soul of his chief antagonist. In the early sequences, Daniel Day-Lewis plays Plainview as a man who enjoys his talents, particularly the precise rhythm of the speech he gives to those whose land he wishes to purchase. He embodies the scariest aspect of great salesmen, the conviction that they are much smarter and savvier than the suckers who buy their wares. His voice has a gruff quality, but also a soothing purr in these sequences. He lulls his audience, both in the movie and in the theater, into believing that he knows exactly what he's doing and that every word he says can be trusted -- and that he's a reasonable man. As Eli, Paul Dano's voice vacillates between a soft-spoken gentleness in his serene moments and a thin, reedy growl during his Biblical orations. He goes toe-to-toe with Day-Lewis and provides the film with an air of mystery. His is in many ways a more difficult role, and it is a testament to this young actor's skill that he makes such a lasting impression on the audience as he plays his scenes against the unstoppable force of nature embodied by Day-Lewis. Paul Thomas Anderson uses all of the weapons at his disposal as a filmmaker to keep the audience engrossed and involved in Daniel Plainview's life. The cinematography by Robert Elswit captures the harsh landscape, and he shoots Day-Lewis in a way that emphasizes his angular face and frame -- his body is just as jagged as the rocks that he digs through. One of the film's many showpiece scenes involves an oil fire. Plainview looks on rapturously as the tremendous blaze burns one of his derricks, and Anderson, who is as talented a writer as he is a director, knows enough to let the scene play out in just the images. There is nothing Plainview could possibly say that could match the multitude of emotions he's experiencing, but the cinematography and the performance -- as well as Jonny Greenwood's unsettling music for the sequence -- get the point across with a formidable mastery. Dylan Tichenor's editing cuts to the point of every scene, but never once does the screenplay come right out and say with a fine point what it all means. Naturally, it is very hard not to read the film as an essay on the current political landscape -- an oilman and a fundamentalist religious leader using each other in order to get their way -- but if that's all this film were about then There Will Be Blood would date as quickly as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Like all of his other films, There Will Be Blood is at its core about a person's relationship with family, and how that affects everything that happens to them. Anderson deftly shows how living with ambition and greed eats away at Plainview over the course of decades. His relationship with H.W. grows more complicated, and an extended sequence with a man who claims to be his long-lost brother acts as a barometer for the character's emotional decline. These scenes echo a dinner at Eli's home, the only sequence in the film's 160-minute running time that Plainview isn't in, where the audience sees the true nature of the relationship between Eli and his father. Even for the film's shockingly brutal violence, the "blood" of the title refers primarily to family, to the inevitable fact that everyone has relationships that must be maintained, and must be cared for because if those relationships aren't nurtured, the results are always painful and occasionally tragic. All of Paul Thomas Anderson's films have been about family. Hard Eight is about a man creating a surrogate family out of the guilt he felt for messing up his original one; Boogie Nights is about a lost little boy attempting to find someone to nurture him; Magnolia is nothing else if not a cornucopia of stories about the need to make peace with parents; and Punch-Drunk Love is about the efforts of a man stunted by his domineering family to escape their influence. With grand themes about America and capitalism and religion and greed, There Will Be Blood might seem like an epic -- and it is -- but more importantly for Paul Thomas Anderson, this is his most personal film. Anderson's ambition as a filmmaker is the equal of his protagonist's ambition as an oilman; they both mine uncharted territories and reap great rewards from their efforts. This is the first film he has directed since becoming a father, and this might be the fact that gives viewers the key to understanding why this movie is such a landmark achievement. It might be a grand epic, but at its heart There Will Be Blood is the work of a formidably talented man reminding himself that his talent -- however outsized -- is not what should define him. Ambition is good, but our relationship with other people is more important. Anyone who forgets that, no matter how talented, is finished.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Day-Lewis Daniel Plainview
Paul Dano Eli Sunday
Kevin J. O'Connor Henry
Ciarán Hinds Fletcher
Dillon Freasier H.W. Plainview
Sydney McCallister Mary Sunday
David Willis Abel Sunday
David Warshofsky H.M. Tilford
Colton Woodward William Bandy
Colleen Foy Adult Mary Sunday
Russell Harvard Adult H.W.

Technical Credits
Paul Thomas Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Mark Bridges Costumes/Costume Designer
David Crank Art Director
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Jack Fisk Production Designer
Jonny Greenwood Score Composer
Cassandra Kulukundis Casting
Daniel Lupi Producer
John Pritchett Sound/Sound Designer
Tatiana S. Riegel Editor
Scott Rudin Executive Producer
Christopher Scarabosio Sound/Sound Designer
Eric Schlosser Executive Producer
Joanne Sellar Producer
Adam Somner Asst. Director
Carl Stensel Set Decoration/Design
Dylan Tichenor Editor
David Williams Executive Producer
Matthew Wood Sound Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- There Will Be Blood
1. Opening [:13]
2. Daniel & H.W. [:14]
3. Sunday Ranch [:14]
4. The Gusher [7:44]
5. Henry Plainview [5:42]
6. Baptism [2:48]
7. Pipeline/ 1927 [7:59]
8. Bowling Alley [6:33]


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There Will Be Blood 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
ScottBell More than 1 year ago
Awesome film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There Will Be Blood is a historically accurate look at the oil business starring Daniel Day Lewis as a Daniel Plainview an oil man who you do not want to make enemies with. There Will Be Blood contains great acting and special effects throughout it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
First and foremost do not base your judgements on the Sinclair novel. Upton Sinclair was a brilliant author and one of my favorites. This movie in its own right is a brilliant loose adaptation of the story. However instead of focusing on politics it focuses on a determined, competetive man an his eventual self deterioration. It is wonderfully shot, and of course as usuall Daniel Day does not dissapoint.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is awesome more so because of the acting, directing, cinematography, and the story itself. Odes to "Citizen Kane" and Terrence Malik's "Days of Heaven" warp into a gritty masterpiece of greed and religion set during America's oil birth out West. Success and failure happen throughout the film, guiding any viewer to realize that it's lonely at the top and bottom with family, in the end, mattering most. Daniel Day Lewis doesn't repeat past performances. He molds himself into a monster struggling with trust and the humane attributes of himself that he must keep in check in a dog eat dog world. The ending of the film is so old school and great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is a fine piece of work. Daniel Day Lewis brought depth and life to a seemingly heartless man. Day-Lewis makes this film, and I doubt that it would have been anywhere near as moving and heart pounding as it was had he not been in it. The movie begins somewhat slowly, but it picks up. And when it does, you can't take your eyes off of the screen! Great cinematography, excellent writing. The end will leave you wide eyed and open mouthed. Who knew a movie about oil could be so good?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finally checked this out 3 weeks ago and I'm just waiting till I can get my paycheck to buy this movie. I can't say that I'm a big fan or a small fan of Anderson's previous works- but this piece has grabbed my heart and my mind. The scoring definitely kept me on edge through out the movie and the way it was filmed seemed flawless. It caught me by surprise while watching it- I felt terribly uneasy throughout, which is a really hard thing for a movie to do to me and yet I love that feelin! There were also little details show up through the movie that also were reminiscent of Kubrick's "The Shining" that definitely brought a sense back to me that I had been missing for so long. It was one of the best films I had seen in so many years, it is definitely haunting me still.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Paul Thomas Anderson's best work yet. It shows the deteriation of a man's soul...very slowly. Though the movie flows slowly, it is very smoothly done. The soundtrack is first class as well. Daniel Day Lewis at his grandest as well. Not a movie, a piece of art!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To the previous poster who said this was a major disappointment: I'd like to thoroughly disagree and point out that this film in no way claims to be a true representation of Sinclair's novel. It is titled "There Will Be Blood" not "Oil!" If you read books, then read books. But if you want to see the greatest living actor - Daniel Day-Lewis - collaborate with one of the better directors of his generation - P.T. Anderson - then watch this film. Years from now this will be considered an American Classic, a movie that inspires future directors, cinematographers and performers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There Will be Blood is an excellent drama about greed, oil, and power. Daniel Day Lewis portrays the main character with such authenticity and the exciting and controversial story highlights this film to be an immediate classic. Everything about this film, mostly the acting, directing, and the fantastic musical score by Jonny Greenwood make this film a sure Oscar winner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First off, anyone who cant finish the movie just lost out on one the greatest cinematic experiences out there. This marks the first time i literally forgot a movie was happening, it felt more like a snapshot from the past that no one was supposed to reveal. it is the most authentic looking, feeling movie ive seen. period. the clash between betweens beliefs and Daniel Day Lewis' character trying to expliot any innocence in humanity is almost frightening in his portrayal. Amazing in every respect, please see this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. You won't find a better performance than the one given by Daniel Day-Lewis. However, this movie is a little slow. If you are someone who can't appreciate the cinematography or little stories inside of a story, then you won't care much for this movie. That being said, this movie is among the tops of all time, and I believe it will be remembered as such for many years to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, to the reviewer who said this was a waste of talent: Movies with this kind of narrative are not made often "if ever" which is what makes this one so fresh and unique. We have two characters so enraptured by who they are and the mystique they have created around themselves, that neither one can allow the other to encroach on their territory. This brings the plot of the film to a boil... two incredible pitch men, one for God, the other for money, fighting for the adoration and control of a town that is not large enough for their combined egos. Eli Sunday is just as corrupt and morally bankrupt as Daniel Plainview, they just happen to have allegiances to different powers. This kind of rivalry is rarely seen, which makes it more of a treat when the end hits us as it does. Now, on to a review of the DVD "which is another rarity as most people only review the film". The transfer is gorgeous. I wish the dark night scenes looked a little better, but I'm sure they will when it finally arrives in high-def. The sound is equally beautiful. Johnny Greenwood's score amps up the emotions in the film. It sounds especially great in 5.1 surround. The special features are lacking, which is the only downfall of the 2-Disc set. What is given is nice, but a little more would have been great. All in all, I give There Will Be Blood 5 stars for the film itself. Superb acting, great writing/directing from P.T. Anderson "of whom I am a big fan" and knock-out cinematography from longtime Anderson cameraman Robert Elswit "who won an Oscar for this one". Do yourself a favor and see this film "on the big screen first, if possible"... you will not regret it.
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
This film, like Ralph Fines' performance in 'Harry Potter', fills out and cannonizes Slayer's 'Reign in Blood' while being still true to Sinclair Lewis... Or so I am told. I did not read 'Oil' yet. Too busy explaining everything to Simple Minds. See it. It's a great film with great panoramic visuals. The Slavedragon
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prime example of excellent character study in acting. The depth of Daniel Day-Lewis's character Daniel Plainview is legendary. Mix in a very methodic rythmn of a film conducted by Paul Thomas Anderson supported by an off beat score by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead and you have a true cinematic expierence.
Biscuitz More than 1 year ago
An amazing story a stand out from the rest of the epics that have been released. An amazing ending!
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