Lights, camera, action! Hollywood movies cover characters who work in many different industries, and believe it or not, mining is also one of them. Mining movies don’t always feature a lot of explosions, car chases or dragons, but they do have their share of plain, old-fashioned drama – and that’s the essential ingredient of a good story. Enjoy our list of five famous mining movies:

1. Blood Diamond
This movie, set during the civil war in Sierra Leone, tells the story of a South African mercenary (played by Leonardo di Caprio) hunting for a valuable diamond which had been discovered and hidden by a local fisherman (Djimon Hounsou). The movie received mixed reviews, but did raise awareness around the issue of ‘blood diamonds’; diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflicts. The movie is also remembered for Di Caprio’s attempt at a (bad) white South African accent. Di Caprio and Hounsou both received Academy Award nominations for their performances.

2. Gold (1974)
Gold tells the story of an international criminal syndicate trying to destroy a large mine in South Africa, so as to raise the world gold price. The movie starred Roger Moore, who was most well-known for playing the famous British spy, James Bond. The movie was based on a book, Gold Mine, written by Wilbur Smith, who was born and grew up in Kabwe, Zambia.

3. Gold (2016)
This movie is loosely based on a scam by a Canadian company, Bre-X. In 1993, Bre-X claimed that it had discovered a major gold deposit in Indonesia, which sent its share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange skyrocketing. It was subsequently found that the company had falsified crushed ore samples from the site, to make it seem as if there was more gold than in reality. The movie starred Matthew McConaughey, but performed poorly, failing to recoup its budget at the box office.

4. Outland
This 1981 movie is the second to feature a former James Bond actor on our list. Sean Connery stars as a policeman investigating a series of strange deaths on a mine on Io, a moon of Jupiter. The movie received mixed reviews, and barely made enough money to cover its budget. However, it is remembered for its realistic portrayal of what life would be like on a colony in outer space.

5. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
This 1948 movie is set in Mexico in the 1920s and follows two down-on-their-luck Americans. They team up with an old prospector to find gold in the remote Sierra Madre mountains, and end up fighting each other and bandits after the gold. This iconic movie won three Academy Awards and is preserved in the United States Library of Congress for its cultural and historical significance.

Given the risk, scale and drama inherent in mining, the real surprise is that there hasn’t been a lot more movies about the industry. Have you seen any of these movies? Which one was your favourite?

See also: Five things you didn’t know about Botswana