The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power [VHS]

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Product Description

This exciting and entertaining eight-part series, based on Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, captures the panoramic history of the biggest industry in the world. Shot on location in Azerbaijan, Egypt, England, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Turkey, and the United States, the series features fascinating characters, archival footage, and interviews with the people who shaped the oil industry. Yergin appears on camera throughout the series to discuss oil's impact on politics, economics, and the environment.

Customer Reviews:

  • Incredible arrangement of history and motivation!
    The video presents an amazingly well organized view of international government and corporate involvement in the middle east, and the eventual realization that the power and money ossicated with oil can create incredible monarchistic opportunites for the greedy. Exceptionally well documented with fact and video archive footage....more info
  • The oil industry has impacted us in so many ways. . .
    This is an amazing documentary (both the video and the book) about how the oil industry came to be and how it's very existance has influenced, and continues to influence so many areas of our daily lives, some areas not even thought of by most people. It's a facet of history that should be included, but is barely mentined, in every high school and college history class. Well edited, never boring, truly amazing!...more info
  • OIL = Power
    This documentary spans the later part of the 19th century and the entire part of the 20th. It does an impressive job showing how the oil industry developed throughout the world. The 4th volume goes on to discuss the rise of enviornmentalism and how that is affecting the future of the industry. Some very important questions are raised in the end. Overall it is honest journalism showing all sides of the issue. I highly recommend this....more info
  • Worth it's weight in oil
    This is an absolutely wonderful series from PBS. I was amazed at how much I learned about the industry. Or maybe I should be more amazed at how much I was never taught nor tried to learn on my own. It covers how oil started as just an illumination industry and was transformed by chance into the all encompassing giant that now moves nations. Really interesting shows are the ones about WWII and the rise and fall of OPEC. However the final show about the future and the environment is weak....more info
  • Excellent - should be a requirement for every American
    It is a shame there aren't more reviews for this series. Hopefully it will be transferred to DVD with a lower price for more people to watch. I was fortunate to check them out at my local library.

    I was motivated to watch this after watching the more recent Commanding Heights series on DVD also by Daniel Yergin.

    The scope of this series is very impressive. Recent and archival footage weave a very powerful narrative on nearly the entire history, worldwide scope, and impact of the massive oil industry. Positive and negative points are noted. The interviews with so many influential industry veterans is astouding - both corporate and government. The current Iraq occupation only emphasizes why more people should watch this for a better understanding that we can't get something for nothing.

    I have visited myself the natural gas reserves of Qatar, the oil fields and refineries of East Texas - including Spindletop where oil was first discovered in Texas, and the strip coal mines of Gilette, Wyoming among other places. Living in Southern California for 6 years too, I am fully aware of the intoxication and fallacies/price of the car-intensive lifestyle. Which was excellently summed up in the very last line when the driver of a Porsche expresses concern for the air quality, etc...but then notes how it goes away once he steps on the pedal. ALso, when the former geologist, now with Greenpeace, talks about the mental "rush/high" from searching out oil but noting that it is a fallacy too once the true cost is realized. The Petersen auto museum in Los Angeles is also a very good place to see how the auto-lifestyle rose up.

    This series brings incredible depth to my existing knowledge base for a small investment in time.

    Improvements to this series could have been more exploration of the price of the car-intensive lifestyle as it has not only to do with the environment (Which it covers well, but only touching the surface), but also personal health - such as obesity / weight control, and diminished social interaction - with all of it's attendant consequences. There is a good reason why Americans are the fattest people in the world - the car-intensive lifestyle is a big part of this.

    Also better completing the series would have been a better discussion on how to move away from the oil-intensive economy. The main argument seems to be on tougher environment and auto emission regulations and improved technology (The electric car never has done much - as hinted at in the final episode as a possible "cure." Even fuel cells aren't the panacea).

    Actually, the answer is a bit more straightforward - price oil at it's true price - add in the military cost of securing it among others and the price of freeways - indirect subsidies, (Let truer market forces play out - hmmm...Commanding Heights?), redesigning our cities, and incorporating mass transit - such as in Europe and Asia - Japan and Singapore would be shining examples. Also by reintroducing simple technology like the bicycle - as used in Netherlands and Denmark. If we did this, maybe we wouldn't need to waste our time going to Bally's or 24 Hour Fitness.

    Perhaps these aspects are better discussed in another documentary. But the door for this was opened once the author decided to discuss it in the last 2 chapters.

    Cars are great - but like many things in life - it is over-reliance on one way of thinking that has gotten us in trouble. Which is the DANGER of a series like this, it looks at everything through the single lens of oil demand and procurement as an explanation for the modern world.

    In summary, like the Commanding Heights series, I feel Daniel Yergin has done an excellent job on a very expansive subject, he has carried the story a VERY long distance - but some more insight would complete the series and bring it closer to "connecting the last mile." Hopefully another author can connect this last mile. 5 stars nevertheless....more info

  • An extremely gripping video
    Once you start viewing this title, you will not stop till you have finished all the volumes. An excellent depiction of the politics and economics involved with the evolution and growth of the oil industry....more info
  • A must for teachers of Economics
    The first program on the establishing of Rockerfeller's Standard Oil monopoly and the later program on OPEC bring to life some of the most important aspects of any economics syllabus....more info
  • herbnut
    I saw this series on PBS years ago. Does anyone wonder why it has never been put on DVD? At this point there are 6 VHS copies I can find ranging from $179 -900plus. This is information that should be available. What has happened to it?...more info
  • A lesson for any industry!
    My banker insisted that I watch this and since, I have bought four copies to give as gifts. The video is a first class exploration for the meaning of the oil industry's ups and downs....more info
  • very excellent series
    This is a good overview and introduction about the oil industy. Much of which I did not know, especially in light of our recent invasion of Iraq. Should be required viewing by all americans. I also recommend the companion book by Daniel Yergin as well, which is more detailed and exhaustive than the video. The video series, while excellent, are more like a cliff notes version of the book....more info
  • Very Well Done with lots of historical footage.
    I was recently at a friends house where we viewed this video. I was amazed at the attention to detail and the amount of historical film footage included. This documentary puts a very different slant on history. There are points of view brought out here that most people have never heard or thought....more info
  • A Must View (revised)
    This movie should be viewed by High School Seniors as a requirement to graduation. The impact the oil industry has had on the modern world is to large to ignore. All who view this movie will have a better understanding of corporations, war, greed, and power in the 20th and 21st centuries. Really a documentry of the industrial revolution and the rise and possible fall of nations. A footnote here; Why is this movie so expensive? It's almost as if it's being censored by the very powers and countries it exposes....more info