Movies That Tell Riveting Stories about the Steel Industry

Movies That Tell Riveting Stories about the Steel Industry

29th January 2020

The steel industry is certainly an interesting subject, but you may wonder whether it is suitable for a movie. We can see that the following films all took a look at the world of steel and came up with different ways of representing it.

Steel, 1979

Lee Majors is the star of this movie about a famous construction foreman named Mike Catton who suffers a terrible accident. This causes him to suffer from a fear of heights, which is a bit of a problem when you are involved in skyscraper construction. Because of this, he retires from construction and starts a new life as a truck driver.

However, he has to swing back into action when an evil corporate figure starts to hassle a friend. Catton brings together a crew featuring the best construction workers on the planet. They then need to race against the clock to finish a skyscraper before the evil corporation can stop them. It wasn’t based on a true story, by the way.    

The Big Melt, 2013

While the previous entry was a fictional account of a skyscraper-building hero, this is a documentary that looks at the legendary steel industry in Sheffield. It features some fascinating archive footage and a live soundtrack but with no narrator speaking over the top of it. 

This is a glimpse at the old days of steel, long before CE marked fabrications and modern techniques. It shows us what life was really like in Sheffield during its boom period as the steel-making centre of the universe.

Pop singer Jarvis Cocker and Martin Wallace teamed up to make The Big Melt. It was created for screening at the 20st Sheffield Doc/Fest, and was designed to celebrate the centenary of stainless steel being created in the city by in Sheffield by Harry Brearley. 

The Men Who Built America, 2012

This is sprawling, six-hour docudrama that was originally screened over 4 parts on the History Channel. It covers more than just the steel industry, as viewers get to see many of the most important figure in the history of the US and what their impact was. We see how the likes of the railways and the shipping industry all boomed thanks to the vision of these leaders.

One of the most famous figures included is Andrew Carnegie. The Scottish-born industrialist was largely responsible for the massive expansion of the American steel industry in the 19th century and become one of the richest men in history. 

We also see how Henry Ford used steel and modern production techniques to introduce an affordable car that changed the world. None of this would have been possible without the advances in steel production processes that occurred in the UK and were then enhanced across the Atlantic.   

Two of these interesting films give us a better understanding of the steel industry’s exciting past, while the other is a harmless romp based on the construction industry. They are all worth watching if you are interested in this subject, though.