There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American epic period drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, loosely based on the 1927 novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a silver miner turned oilman on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, and Dillon Freasier co-star.
The film was produced by Ghoulardi Film Company and distributed by Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films. At the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival it won the Silver Bear Award for Best Director and a Special Artistic Contribution Award for Jonny Greenwood's score. The film grossed $76.2 million worldwide against its $25 million budget.
There Will Be Blood received widespread critical acclaim for its cinematography, direction, screenplay, score, and the performances of Day-Lewis and Dano. Day-Lewis won the Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, NYFCC and IFTA Best Leading Actor awards for the role. It has been widely regarded by critics as one of the greatest films of the 21st century, and it appeared on many critics' "top ten" lists for 2007, including the American Film Institute, the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. At the 80th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for eight Oscars (tying with another Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-production No Country for Old Men). The nominations included Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Anderson. Along with Day-Lewis' Oscar for Best Actor, Robert Elswit won the award for Best Cinematography.
In 1898, Daniel Plainview finds silver while prospecting in New Mexico but breaks his leg. Dragging himself from the pit, he takes a sample to an assay office and receives a silver and gold claim. In 1902, he discovers oil near Los Angeles and establishes a drilling company. Following the death of a worker in an accident, Daniel adopts the man's orphaned son. The boy, H.W., becomes his nominal business partner, allowing Daniel to present himself to potential investors as a family man.
In 1911, Daniel is approached by Paul Sunday, a young man who tells him of an oil deposit under his family's property in Little Boston, California. Daniel visits the Sundays' property and meets Paul's identical twin brother Eli, who is a local preacher. Daniel attempts to purchase the farm from the Sundays at a bargain price under the ruse of using it to hunt quail, but his motives are questioned by Eli who knows the land has drilling potential. In exchange for the rights to the property, Eli demands $10,000 for his church. An agreement is made and Daniel acquires all the available land in and around the Sunday property, save for one holdout, William Bandy, after he neglected to negotiate with him.
Eli requests to bless the well prior to drilling, to which Daniel initially agrees, but denies him when the time arises. Oil drilling commences and a series of misfortunes occur: an accident kills one worker and a gas blowout deafens H.W. and destroys the drilling infrastructure. Eli blames the disasters on the well not being properly blessed. When Eli publicly demands the money still owed to him, Daniel beats and humiliates him. At the dinner table that night, Eli attacks and berates his father for trusting Daniel.
A man arrives at Daniel's doorstep claiming to be his half-brother, Henry. Daniel hires him and the two grow close. A jealous H.W. sets fire to their house, intending to kill Henry. Daniel sends H.W. away to a school for the deaf in San Francisco. A representative from Standard Oil offers to buy out Daniel's local interests, but, after a perceived slight, Daniel refuses and strikes a deal with Union Oil to build a pipeline to the California coast. However, Bandy's ranch remains an impediment.
Reminiscing about their childhood home, Daniel becomes suspicious of Henry's story and confronts him one night at gunpoint. "Henry" confesses that he was a friend of the real Henry, who died of tuberculosis, and that he impersonated Henry in hopes of gaining employment with Daniel. In a fit of rage, Daniel murders the impostor and buries his body. Daniel drinks heavily and weeps.
The next morning, Daniel is awakened by Bandy, who knows of Daniel's crime and wants Daniel to publicly repent in Eli's church in exchange for the pipeline easement on his land. As part of his baptism, Eli humiliates Daniel and coerces him into confessing that he abandoned his son. Some time later, as the pipeline is under construction, H.W. is reunited with Daniel, and Eli leaves Little Boston for missionary work.
In 1927, H.W. marries Mary Sunday, the younger sister of Paul and Eli. He visits Daniel, who is now a wealthy, alcoholic recluse living in a large mansion. Through a sign language interpreter, H.W. asks his father to dissolve their partnership so that he can establish his own independent drilling company in Mexico. Daniel reacts angrily and mocks H.W.'s deafness before revealing his true origins as a "bastard from a basket". H.W. tells Daniel he is glad that they are not related and walks out; Daniel continues to jeer at H.W. as he departs.
Daniel is subsequently visited by Eli while drunk in the private bowling alley in his mansion. Eli, now a radio preacher, offers to sell Daniel the property rights to the Bandy ranch, as William Bandy has recently died. Daniel agrees on the condition that Eli denounces his faith and his own credibility. Eli acquiesces, only for Daniel to coldly reveal that the property is now worthless because Daniel's neighboring wells have already tapped and drained the same oil reservoir. Desperate, Eli confesses to losing money in the dire financial straits and to having strayed morally. Daniel taunts Eli before chasing him around the bowling alley and beating him to death with a bowling pin. When his butler appears to ask about the commotion, Daniel announces, "I'm finished."