Movies with Workplace Safety and Health Themes

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The 33

2015, Patricia Riggen

IMDb rating: 7.0

From IMDb: Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.

42nd Street

1933, Lloyd Bacon IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: The film has an interesting final image: a drawing of a theatre curtain that has come down, marking the end of the musical. In large letters across the curtain is the word “ASBESTOS.” A safety curtain is used in large theatres to prevent uncontrolled fires on stage from reaching the audience. It can be lowered at any time in an emergency. Until the 1970’s, those curtains were made of asbestos. The appearance of the word “asbestos” on such a curtain may have been an indication to audiences in the 30’s that they were in a safe facility. That may explain why it appears in the film.

From IMDb: A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star…

Keywords: asbestos, injuries

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968, Stanley Kubrick

IMDb rating: 8.3

From IMDb: Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Alice in Wonderland

2010, Tim Burton IMDb rating: 6.7

From our readers: The Mad Hatter is “mad” because of mercury exposure.

From IMDb: 19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.

Keywords: hatmaking, mercury, neurologic effects


1979, Ridley Scott

IMDb rating: 8.5

From IMDb: The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.


1989, Steven Spielberg

IMDb rating: 6.4

From our readers: Depicted the extreme dangers aerial firefighters face.

Any Given Sunday

1999, Oliver Stone

IMDb rating: 6.8

From readers: It highlights the risks of injury for professional football players and includes many topics recently in the news — concussions, playing when injured.

Apocalypse Now

1979, Francis Ford Coppola IMDb rating: 8.6

From our readers: During filming, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and Francis Ford Copola lost 100 pounds; both were attributed to the stress of the production.

From IMDb: During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has set himself up as a God among a local tribe.

Keywords: stress

Apollo 13

1995, Ron Howard

IMDb rating: 7.6

From IMDB: NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

Arsenic and Old Lace

1944, Frank Capra IMDb rating: 8.1

From our readers: For toxic references, you should include “Arsenic and Old Lace,” with Cary Grant.

From IMDb: A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.


1991, Ron Howard

IMDb rating: 6.7

From our readers: Provide insight into the hazards that firefighters face.


Bagh Bahadur [Tiger Man/Tiger Dancer]

1989, Buddhadev Dasgupta IMDb rating: 8.6

From our readers: A village dancer dressed up as a tiger (Bagh in Bengali) to earn his livelihood; an age old tradition in rural India. Eventually the man faces steep competition from the circus tiger (resembling urbanisation of the rural India). Finally out of frustration he challenged the tiger in a dual and got killed. The film faithfully portrays the occupational stress associated with performing arts in a changing world where the concept and value of ‘entertainment’ changes.

Keywords: stress, workplace violence, underserved worker population

A Ballerina’s Tale

2015, Nelson George

IMDb rating 6.7

From IMDb: A feature documentary on African American ballerina Misty Copeland that examines her prodigious rise, her potentially career ending injury alongside themes of race and body image in the elite ballet world.

The Big Blue [Le grand bleu]

1988, Luc Besson IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: A movie about professional divers and risks of their trade.

From IMDb: Enzo and Jacques have known each other for a long time. Their friendship started in their childhood days in the Mediterranean…

Keywords: injuries, divers

Black Hawk Down

2001, Ridley Scott IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: A close explosion leads to an immediate hearing loss.

From IMDb: 123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Keywords: hearing loss, noise

Blackboard Jungle

1955, Richard Brooks IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: Teacher sexual assault.

From IMDb: A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

Keywords: workplace violence

Blazing Saddles

1974, Mel Brooks IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: A comedy ‘western’, which had a sequence in which Hedley Lamarr is assembling a massive gang of roughnecks to demolish the town of Rock Ridge, which stands in the path of a railway that he is hoping to build. The recruiting advertisement bears the legend ‘Hedley Lamarr, an Equal Opportunity Employer’!

Blood Diamond

2006, Edward Zwick IMDb rating: 8.0

From our readers: A heart-wrenching account of workers in Africa who are forced to mine for diamonds for rogue militants trying to make money on the backs of workers.

From IMDb: A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Keywords: underserved worker population, injuries

Blood on the Mountain

2015, Mari-Lynn C. Evans, Jordan Freeman

From IMDb: ‘Blood on the Mountain’ focuses on the environmental and economic injustice and corporate control in West Virginia and its rippling effect on all American workers.

Blue Collar

1978, Paul Schrader IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: An autoworker (played by Yaphet Kotto) dies from spray paint inhalation.

From IMDb: Three car plant workers are drinking beers together one night when they decide to have some fun by robbing the local union’s bureau safe.

Keywords: chemical, inhalation

Blue Skies

1946, Stuart Heisler, Mark Sandrich

IMDb rating: 6.6

From our readers: During the filming of the famous dance scene ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers dance routine, a worker on the set had to polish the floor between takes to remove the scuff marks. Apparently there were over 200 takes (Ginger Rogers said later that her feet were bleeding by the wrap). The worker got chemical hepatitis and may have died (I’m not sure): the cleaning agent was carbon tetrachloride.

A Boy and His Dog

1975, LQ Jones IMDb rating: 6.6

From our readers: Sci-fi movies inspire us to seek out better ways of life, before the dystopia evolves.

From IMDb: Post-apocalyptic underground society with reproduction issues uses a young man for impregnation purposes.

Keywords: reproduction, sex workers

Breaking Away

1979, Peter Yates IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: The story of a lovesick competitive bicycler. Saddles with a nose imperils sexual function in men and women bicycle patrol police and competitive & recreational bicycle riders.

From IMDb: A small-town teen obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.

Keywords: bicyclist, injuries, reproduction

Bringing Out the Dead

1999, Martin Scorsese IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: This movie with Nicolas Cage depicts EMT/Paramedic work. Serious back problems and/or injuries occur on a regular basis in these workers despite training, causing this field to have a life span of about 5 years. Injuries often occur due to lack of bariatric equipment to handle the large increase in morbidly obese patients, short staffing, car accidents and violence from patients. Recently, someone I used to work with ended up with a crushed pelvis while attempting to lift a 500+ plus patient into the bariatric stretcher with his team.

From IMDb: Frank Pierce is a paramedic working Gotham’s Hell’s Kitchen. He’s become burned out and haunted by visions of the people he’s tried to save.

Keywords: EMT/Paramedic work, injuries

Captains Courageous

1937, Victor Fleming IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: It’s a wonderful film using a story written by Rudyard Kipling, and it highlights the dangers of commercial fishing (in addition to the main theme of curing a spoiled rich brat by making him reallize what’s really important in life). Make sure you see the original B&W with Spencer Tracy. A remake was horrible.

The Charcoal People

1999, Nigel Noble IMDb rating: 5.9

From our readers: Amazing Brazilian movie (available in the US).

From IMDb: Documentary about the rural population who earn their living as coal miners, thus helping to keep metallurgic activity going and contributing to the forest devastation in South America.

Keywords: Deforestation, Charcoal

Children of Men

2006, Alfonso Cuarón IMDb rating: 8.1

From our readers: Women stop getting pregnant all at once and humanity faces the prospect of its own extinction.

From IMDb: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which humans can no longer procreate, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea, where her child’s birth may help scientists save the future of humankind.

Keywords: reproductive issues

The China Syndrome

1979, James Bridges IMDb rating: 7.3

From IMDb: A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Keywords: nuclear power

Cinema Paradiso

1988, Giuseppe Tornatore IMDb rating: 8.4

From our readers: When highly flammable cellulose film catches fire, the projectionist at the local cinema in post-War Sicily saves his young apprentice, but suffers horrible injuries himself. In addition to an occupational safety hazard, there may be a child labor violation in there, too!

From IMDb: A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist.

Keywords: fire, injuries, child labor

A Civil Action

1998, Steven Zaillian IMDb rating: 6.4

From our readers: The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyer.

From IMDb: The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyer.

Keywords: toxic waste

A Clockwork Orange

1971, Stanley Kubrick IMDb rating: 8.5

From our readers: Another movie industry related occupational hazard is violence in the society. Only yesterday in S. Florida, a 16 year old girl was beaten by a 15 year old boy style ‘Clockwork Orange.’

From IMDb: In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and later volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem… but not all goes to plan.

Keywords: workplace violence

The Company Men

2010, John Wells IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: Describes the stress and disruption on workers and their families and communities in a climate of workplace downsizing. The story centers on a year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company – and how that affects them, their families, and their communities.

Keywords: workplace stress, downsizing


2015, Peter Landesman

IMDb rating: 6.4

From IMDb: Accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

1954, Jack Arnold IMDb rating: 6.9

From IMDb: Not since the beginning of time has the world beheld terror like this! A scientific expedition traveling up the Amazon River encounter a dangerous humanoid amphibious fish creature.

Keywords: injuries, scientists

The Crow

1994, Alex Proyas IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: Brandon Lee was fatally wounded during a shooting scene; it’s thought shortcuts were taken with the ‘weapons’ being used (although not confirmed). It was such a popular film when I was in high school, and all my friends talked about the accident, so it has always stuck with me.

In addition, there were issues/red flags leading up to Lee’s death, including non-fatal injuries to both a carpenter (bodily burns) and a stuntman (broken ribs), as well as some equipment catching on fire. A brilliant film on screen, but clearly all was not sound on set.

A Days Work

2016, David M. Garcia

A documentary on the death of 21 year old Day Davis on his first day as a temporary employee.


Deep Jweley Jai [To Light A Lamp]

1959, Asit Sen IMDb rating: 7.3

From our readers: A health care worker (nurse) in a mental hospital is exposed to psychological stress and eventually turned into a patient herself.

From IMDb: A nurse at a psychiatric ward gets a bit too involved in the well being of a patient.

Keywords: stress, health care

The Devil’s Miner

2005, Kief Davidson, Richard Ladkani IMDb rating: 7.5

From our readers: A documentary about child labor in a Bolivian silver mine (1985). Near the end of the film, an older worker acknowledges the dangers of his work, but expresses pride in that he does his work well. The story of 14-year-old Basilio who worships the devil for protection while working in a Bolivian silver mine to support his family.

Keywords: child labor, silver mines

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

1931, Rouben Mamoulian IMDb rating: 7.8

From IMDb: Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that changes him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.

Keywords: chemical

Dukes of Hazzard

2005, Jay Chandrasekhar

IMDb rating: 5.1

From IMDb: Boss Hogg has evicted the Dukes from their farm. Bo and Luke set out to save their farm at the Annual Hazzard Road Race rally.

Earth and the American Dream

1992, Bill Couturié

IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: This is the ALL-TIME BEST film that takes one through the industrial growth of our country from the time of Columbus up to now. This film is the most BEAUTIFUL look into the consequences of a LACK of safety and focus on environment that has landed us where we are today. It highlights perfectly our environmental safety and health dilemma!

Easy Street

1917, Charles Chaplin IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: Chaplin was hit across the bridge of his nose by a streetlamp while filming his Tramp’s struggle with the lamp and the movie’s Bully. The injury required his hospitalization, and shutting down production for several days.

From IMDb: A reformed tramp becomes a police constable who must fight a huge thug who dominates an inner city street.

Keywords: police, injuries

Erin Brockovich

2000, Steven Soderbergh IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. Movies like this open our eyes to the dangers with dealing with these chemicals.

From IMDb: An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.

Keywords: chemical waste

Falling Down

1993, Joel Schumacher

IMDb rating: 7.6

From our readers: shares the extremes that job stress can take people to.

Food, Inc.

2008, Robert Kenner

IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: explicitly highlights the mess our food safety industry is in.


2000, Gregory Hoblit

IMDb rating: 7.3

From our readers: provide insight into the hazards that firefighters face.

The Full Monty

1997, Peter Cattaneo IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: redundant manufacturing workers forced into contingent labor. Also with the following priceless dialogue while their watching a video of ‘Flashdance’ with Jen Beals welding:

“I hope she dances better than she welds. Look at that. It’s like Bonfire Night. That’s too much acetylene. Them joints won’t hold f%$# all.”


1997, Andrew Niccol IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: This had a near-future dystopic storyline highlighting some possible adverse consequences of workplace genetic testing as well as ways of cheating this. It also managed to be a well-acted and absorbing movie.

From IMDb: “In the not-too-distant future, a less than perfect man wants to travel to the stars. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To move ahead, he assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow, a perfect genetic specimen who is a paraplegic as a result of a fall. With some professional advice, Vincent learns to deceive DNA and urine sample testing.”


1993, Claude Berri IMDb rating: 7.0

From our readers: Coal mining in 19th century in northern France.

From IMDb: It’s mid 19th century in northern France. The story is about a coal miner’s town. The workers are exploited by the mine’s owner. One day, they decide to go on strike, and the authorities repress them.

Keywords: Mining, coal

The Ghost Writer

2010, Roman Polanski IMDb rating: 7.6

From our readers: Performance evaluations can be brutal.

From IMDb: A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

Keywords: workplace violence

Glengarry Glen Ross

1992, James Foley IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: Stress in the workplace. Real estate salesman cope with the prospect of getting fired.

From IMDb: An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.

Keywords: stress

The Godfather

1972, Francis Ford Coppola

IMDb rating: 9.2

From IMDb: The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.


2013, Alfonso Cuarón

IMDb rating: 7.9

From IMDb: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

The Green Mile

1999, Frank Darabont IMDb rating: 8.4

From our readers: The violence which occurs in the prison system. Officers and employees are faced with a multitude of dangerous situations which could cause serious injury, illness and death.

From IMDb: The story about the lives of guards on death row leading up to the execution of black man accused of child murder & rape, who has the power of faith healing.

Keywords: workplace violence, prison, prison guards, injuries, stress

Gung Ho

1986, Ron Howard IMDb rating: 5.8

From our readers: Movie deals with the culture clash (nationally & occupationally) that comes when a Japanese car manufacturer takes over a U.S. auto factory. One scene…was a worker getting his arm entangled in some machinery and the conflict that arose from having to stop the line to deal with the injury.

From IMDb: When a Japanese car company buys an American plant, the American liaison must mediate the clash of work attitudes between the foreign management and native labor.

Keywords: injuries, stress, cultures

The Handmaid’s Tale

IMDb rating: 6.0

1990, Volker Schlöndorff

From our readers: An insightful look into sterility due to environmental contamination.

Heaven and Earth

1994, Oliver Stone

IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: Heaven and Earth brings to light what our Vietnam Vets experienced and still struggle with in terms of PTSD.


1968, Andrew V. McLaglen IMDb rating: 6.8

From IMDb: The adventures of oil well fire specialist Chance Buckman (based on real-life Red Adair), who extinguishes massive fires in oil fields around the world.

How Green Was My Valley

1941, John Ford IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: Set in a Welsh mining village against a background of mining disasters and diseases. A young boy, after suffering an illness, gets a chance at an education and a life not spent working in the mines.

Keywords: mining

Human Trafficking

2005, Mini-series

IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: is a poignant, heartbreaking look into the extreme suffering this new illegal market has generated.

The Hurt Locker

2008, Kathryn Bigelow IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: That the tremendous mental and physical stress that the military faces in Iraq and in other parts of the world has been depicted in such poetic manner is unbelievable.

From IMDb: Iraq. Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

Keywords: mental stress, physical stress, military, international

If You Could See What I Hear

1982, Eric Till

IMDb rating: 6.7

From our readers: The movie is a wonderful, comedic journey into the world of blindness and its challenges and frailties.

I’m All Right Jack

1960, John Boulting

IMDb rating: 7.4

From readers: Something to do with labor organizing–but there is a scene in a candy factory that is unforgettable.

Immortal Beloved

1994, Bernard Rose IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: The film portrays Beethoven composing his masterpieces while suffering progressive hearing loss, and his aggressive behavior which was probably due to lead poisoning. In fact, exposure to lead poisoning during childhood, may cause hearing loss.

From IMDb: The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Beside all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved and the movie tries to find out who this beloved was. Not easy as Beethoven has had many women in his life.

Keywords: lead, hearing loss

In The Heart of The Sea

2015, Ron Howard

From IMDB: Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a giant whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.

The Insider [El informante]

1999, Michael Mann IMDb rating: 8.0

From our readers: The true story of a tobacco company legally convicted of adding substances to tobacco to increase its addictive power.

From IMDb: A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a “60 Minutes” expose on Big Tobacco.

Keywords: chemicals


1975, Steven Spielberg IMDb rating: 8.3

From IMDb: When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

Keywords: fishing, injuries, workplace violence

Jurassic Park

1993, Steven Spielberg IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: A worker is pulled into a cage and killed in the opening scene.

From IMDb: During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Keywords: injuries, workplace violence

Last Man On Earth

1964, Ubaldo Ragona IMDb rating: 6.9

From our readers: Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only survivor of a devastating world-wide plague due to a mysterious immunity he acquired to the bacterium while working in Central America years ago. He is all alone now…or so it seems.

From IMDb: When a disease turns all of humanity into the living dead, the last man on earth becomes a reluctant vampire hunter.

Keywords: biological, virus, disease

Last Train Home [La teta asustada]

2009, Lixin Fan IMDb rating: 8.4

From our readers: The devastating impact of occupational stress on migrant workers in a present-day China caught between its rural past and industrial future.

From IMDb: A family embarks on an annual tormenting journey along with 200 other million peasant workers to reunite with their distant family, and to revive their love and dignity as China soars as the world’s next super power.

Keywords: work-place stress, migrant workers

Love Serenade

1996, Shirley Barrett

IMDb rating: 7.0

From IMDb: While filming the scene when the Ken Sherry character is pushed off the grain silo, stuntman Collin Dragsbaek, doubling for actor George Shetsov, died when he fell onto a faulty airbag.

The Machinist

2004, Brad Anderson IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: Christian Bale’s character is suffering from mental health issues which cause him to be distracted at work. This results in him being involved in an incident that causes his coworker to lose his arm. Besides that, Christian Bale starved himself for 4 months for the role, eating only an apple and a cup of coffee a day. He lost over 60 lbs to get down to 120 lbs (he wanted to drop down to 90 lbs but his doctor discouraged him). After that film, he quickly bulked back up to play his role in “Batman Begins.”

From IMDb: An industrial worker who hasn’t slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Keywords: injuries, stress

Manufactured Landscapes

2006, Jennifer Baichwal IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: A documentary about Edward Burtynsky’s large-scale photographs. The first scene is particularly memorable as the camera takes a very long walk down an industrial aisle past multiple assembly lines in a Chinese factory.

From IMDb: Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.

Keywords: manufacture, chemical waste, stress, child labor, international

Margaret’s Museum

1996, Mort Ransen

IMDb rating: 7.3

From our readers: An indy Canadian film starring Helena Bonham Carter, is a dense and mordant study of Irish immigrants to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and the dangers of the coal industry. Great sociological insights as well as treatment of OHS issues. Caution: ending is very intense.

The Martian

2015, Ridley Scott

IMDb rating: 8.2

From IMDB: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Mary Poppins

1964, Robert Stevenson IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: Highlights the very first occupational cancer attributed to a chemical. In 1775, “scrotal cancer of chimney sweeps” was attributed to soot.

From IMDb: A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker’s unhappy family.

Keywords: scrotal cancer, soot, chimney sweep, nanny


1987, John Sayles IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: For realism underground, James Earl Jones teaching a rookie how to test the roof when underground. A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

From IMDb: A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

Keywords: workplace violence, union organizing

The Matrix

1999, Andy & Lana Wachowski IMDb rating: 8.7

From our readers: Sci-fi movies inspire us to seek out better ways of life, before the dystopia evolves.

From IMDb: A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.

Keywords: computer hacker, technology

Men of Honor

2000, George Tillman Jr. IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: The movie discusses the hazards of underwater construction and salvage, but ultimately a Navy salvage diver (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is severely injured while standing on the deck of a barge in a “safe” situation.

From IMDb: The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.

Keywords: injuries, divers, construction


1927, Fritz Lang IMDb rating: 8.4

From our readers: This silent science fiction movie is placed in the future city of Metropolis. It expands on the industrial revolution depicting the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. There are two social groups: above ground management and below ground workers. Many issues of worker violence and injury occur, such as when a massive machine (M-Machine) explodes killing many workers. Workers are depicted very much as dehumanized cogs in the machine. The pace of work is grueling and completely machine-driven. The machines are not designed to fit people, so over-reaching and other ergonomic issues abound.

From IMDb: In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Keywords: industrial revolution, workplace violence, stress, injuries, ergonomics

Michael Clayton

2007, Tony Gilroy IMDb rating: 7.5

From our readers: A ‘fixer’ is brought in to remedy a situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar business with toxic fertiliser.

Keywords: chemicals, stress


2008, Gus Van Sant IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: Harvey Milk, a San Francisco city supervisor, and George Moscone, the San Francisco mayor, get shot by Dan White, another city supervisor.

From IMDb: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.

Keywords: workplace violence, sexual preference, politician

The Milk of Sorrow

2009, Claudia Llosa IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: The title refers to the belief by indigenous people that the trauma of sexual abuse is passed through the mother’s milk to her children. The film’s protagonist, Fausta fears this fate upon the death of her mother, and is exploited by her employer as she works as a maid in Peru to pay for her mother’s funeral.

From IMDb: Fausta is suffering from a rare disease called the Milk of Sorrow, which is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped during or soon after pregnancy. While living in constant fear and confusion due to this disease, she must face the sudden death of her mother. She chooses to take drastic measures to not follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Keywords: workplace violence, workplace exploitation

Modern Times

1936, Charles Chaplin IMDb rating: 8.5

From our readers: Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp contends with the hazards in his workplace. Film inspired by production line system in Detroit, which was turning its workers into nervous wrecks.

From IMDb: The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Keywords: machinization, stress

The Molly Maguires

1970, Martin Ritt IMDb rating: 6.8

From IMDb: Life is rough in the coal mines of 1876 Pennsylvania. A secret group of Irish emigrant miners, known as the Molly Maguires, fights against the cruelty of the mining company with sabotage and murder.

Keywords: coal mining, injuries, union

The Navigators

2001, Ken Loach IMDb rating: 6.9

From IMDb: Five Yorkshiremen try to survive after the British Rail is bought out by a private company.

Norma Rae

1979, Martin Ritt IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: A southern textile worker employed in a factory with intolerable working conditions struggles to unionize her factory.

From IMDb: A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved.

Keywords: textile worker, factory, union

North Country

2005, Niki Caro IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: Story about extreme sexual harassment of women miners in the taconite mines on Minnesota’s Iron Range. I’ve read a nonfiction account of the story more recently than I’ve seen the movie, so don’t recall if the movie addressed this, but there were some serious workplace safety issues caused by the treatment of the women.

From IMDb: A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States — Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.

Nothing Sacred

1937, William A. Wellman IMDb rating: 7.6 Available on

From our readers: Carole Lombard is a dial painter who finds out she does NOT have radium poisoning (but she pretends to, to garner sympathy and gifts).

From IMDb: To redeem himself after a hoax, reporter Wallace Cook proposes a series of stories on doomed Hazel Flagg. Hazel discovers she really doesn’t have radium poisoning, but still accepts the big fling in New York that Cook offers her.

Keywords: radium

October Sky

1999, Joe Johnston IMDb rating: 7.7

From our readers: Dangers of coal mining.

From IMDb: The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes.

Keywords: coal mining

Office Space

1999, Mike Judge IMDb rating: 7.9

From our readers: Workplace stress.

From IMDb: Work sucks! Comedic tale of company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.

Keywords: stress

Omega Man

1971, Boris Sagal IMDb rating: 6.7

From our readers: Due to an experimental vaccine, Dr. Neville is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves “The Family.” The plague has caused them to become sensitive to light, and homicidally psychotic.

From IMDb: Robert Neville, a doctor, due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons…

Keywords: biological, virus, disease

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

1975, Milos Forman IMDb rating: 8.9

From our readers: Violence in the workplace when dealing with challenged patients.

From IMDb: Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.

Keywords: workplace violence, healthcare, stress


1995, Wolfgang Petersen IMDb rating: 6.4

From IMDb: Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?

Keywords: biological, virus, disease

Pacific Heights

1990, John Schlesinger

IMDb rating: 6.3

From our readers: can potentially scare anyone out of becoming a landlord.

Pandemic Disease in Three Minutes (or the evolution of a skeptical scientist)

2008, Mark Catlin Available on YouTube

Summary: A short film clipped from the 1965 Vincent Price movie “The Last Man on Earth.” The Omega Man in the 1970s and the current I AM Legend were remakes of this film. Sadly, healthcare workers worldwide are often not getting the protection they need from airborne disease, such as the current swine flu. In this current swine flu outbreak, CDC began suggesting that surgical masks will do to protect healthcare workers (without the nylon stockings mentioned in this song). Much evidence regarding airborne transmission and the need for true respirators has accumulated since this video was made. A recent report by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers in the Workplace against Novel H1N1 Influenza A supports that health care workers who interact with patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with novel H1N1 influenza A should wear fitted N95 respirators, which filter better than looser medical masks. However, wearing N95 respirators should be only one element of workers’ and health care organizations’ infection control strategies.

Keywords: biological, virus, disease

The Perfect Storm

2000, Wolfgang Petersen IMDb rating: 6.2

From IMDb: An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

Keywords: fishing, injuries, workplace violence, stress

Pushing Tin

1999, Mike Newell IMDb rating: 5.9

From our readers: Air traffic controllers.

From IMDb: A feud develops between two air traffic controllers: one cocky and determined while the other is restrained and laidback, which inevitably affects their lives.

Keywords: air traffic controllers, stress

Radium City

1987, Carole Langer IMDb rating: 9.9 Available from and

From IMDb: The story of young women hired for the prestigious jobs during depression of painting glow-in-the-dark clock faces using their fine painting skills while licking the paint brushes with their tongues to get a fine edge. They all later died of horrendous cancers as the paint was radioactive.

Keywords: radium, cancer

Return of the Secaucus Seven

1980, John Sayles

IMDb rating: 7.0

From our readers: ”Although there are no OHS issues explicitly raised in it, “Return of the Secaucus Seven” (one of my favorite movies of all time, much better than “The Big Chill” IMHO) features the divergent pathways and work lives of its characters after they graduate and disperse, including the relationship between the medical student and the gas station attendant, who had been friends since high school and then find themselves on opposite sides of a class divide but are still attracted to each other.


1991, Ken Loach IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: A British film by Ken Loach about construction workers and the dangers they face.

From IMDb: The story of Stevie, a construction worker, and his girlfriend, an unemployed pop singer, serves to show the living conditions of the British poor class.

Safety Last!

1923, Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor IMDb rating: 8.3

From our readers: Country boy (Lloyd) heads to the big city to seek success. While working as a clerk in a department store, he talks the manager into offering $1000 to anyone who can bring more customers to the store. He then arranges for a friend, a “human fly,” (Strothers) to climb the face of the store building as a publicity stunt. Unfortunately the “human fly” is a wanted man, and when “The Law” (Young) shows, our hero must make the climb, himself. At each ledge he encounters new difficulties, climaxing in the famous ‘clock scene.’

The Shawshank Redemption

1994, Frank Darabont IMDb rating: 9.2

From our readers: The violence which occurs in the prison system. Officers and employees are faced with a multitude of dangerous situations which could cause serious injury, illness and death.

From IMDb: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Keywords: workplace violence, prison, prison guards, injuries, stress


1983, Mike Nichols IMDb rating: 7.1

From our readers: Movies like this open our eyes to the dangers with dealing with these chemicals.

From IMDb: The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.

Keywords: whistleblower, metallurgy, plutonium processing, stress, workplace violence

Silver City

2004, John Sayles

IMDb rating: 6.1

From our readers: Depicts an occupational fatality in a meat packing plant in Colorado.

The Soloist

2009, Joe Wright IMDb rating: 6.7

From our readers: Actors frequently put themselves at risk for physical and mental health issues while preparing for roles. Jamie Foxx suffered panic attacks and bouts of paranoia because he feared he was losing his mind preparing for his role in this movie.

From IMDb: A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Julliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper.

Keywords: acting, stress

Sometimes a Great Notion

1970, Paul Newman IMDb rating: 7.0

From our readers: About a family logging company in the Pacific Northwest. The film shows how dangerous logging was and still is.

From IMDb: A family of fiercely-independent Oregon loggers struggle to keep the family business alive amidst changing times.

Keywords: logging, forestry, injuries, workplace violence

Song of the Canary

1979, David Davis rating: 10.0

From IMDb: The powerful story of the hidden dangers in the American workplace. During the making of this film, the furor set off by the filmmaker’s discoveries about some practices in the Ag Chem Department of Occidental Chemical Company, at a plant in California, resulted in a nationwide ban on the production of the pesticide DBCP. The filmmakers discovered that every one of the plant’s employees involved in the production of that chemical had become sterile. Other abuses are also brought to light. The second half of the film reveals the sorry conditions that workers must endure in textile plants in the American South. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

Available on (VHS). Running time 58 min New Day Films Library 190 Route 17M, Harriman, NY 10926 Tel: 888.367.9153 Email: URL:

Keywords: textile workers, DBCP, reproduction

St. Elsewhere (TV)

Season 3, Episode 5: Breathless

1984, Eric Laneuville IMDb rating: NA

From our readers: In the “then” segment, the hospital administrator was advising the custodian/handyman not to scrimp on that lifesaving fire insulation, saying “be sure to spread it nice and thick up there” as he walked under the worker with his head in the ceiling crawlspace. In the “now” segment the same worker was back, being treated for asbestosis, and declaring “I thought I could trust you to keep me safe!”

From IMDb: Auschlander feels negligent when a long-term maintenance worker develops asbestosis. White desperately attempts to locate his children. A mental health patient admits to the hospital rapes. One of the firefighters develops complications in his treatment. Ehrlich’s bid to meet the new nutritionist turns into a disaster.

Keywords: healthcare workers, asbestosis, custodial workers

Star Trek: First Contact

1996, Jonathan Frakes IMDb rating: 7.6

From our readers: I’m sure that the wonderful actors in “First Contact” were subjected to rashes, and respiratory and other mucous membrane damage from the demanding costumes and make-up they had to endure, to create the sci-fi magic of the Star Trek Universe.

From IMDb: Capt. Picard and his crew pursue the Borg back in time to stop them from preventing Earth from initiating first contact with alien life.

Keywords: chemical, dermal

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

2015, J.J. Abrams

Harrison Ford broke his ankle while filming and director JJ Abrams broke his back while trying to lift the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon that fell on Ford.

Silver City

2004, John Sayles IMDb rating: 6.1

From our readers: Silver City by John Sayles depicts an occupational fatality in a meat packing plant in Colorado.

From IMDb: The discovery of a corpse threatens to unravel a bumbling local politician’s campaign for governor of Colorado.

The Stone Merchant

2006, Renzo Martinelli

IMDb rating: 4.4

From our readers: “The Stone Merchant” opens a window into the new world of Terrorism that is so easy to walk through the door of the workplace.

Tank Girl

1995, Rachel Talalay IMDb rating: 4.7

From our readers: Sci-fi movies inspire us to seek out better ways of life, before the dystopia evolves.

From IMDb: Based on the British cult comic-strip, our tank-riding anti-heroine fights a mega-corporation, which controls the world’s water supply.

Keywords: chemical waste


1954, Gordon Douglas IMDb rating: 7.4

From our readers: Nuclear tests in the desert result in the growth of gigantic mutant ants who menace cities in the American south-west as a team of investigators and the Army search for a way to control their spread in this Cold War-era monster film.

From IMDb: The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.

Keywords: nuclear, radiation, scientist

There Will Be Blood

2007, Paul Thomas Anderson IMDb rating: 8.2

From our readers: A film about the oil boom in the early 1900’s in Southern California. The movie portrays the awful conditions under which oil workers had to work at the time. Worker fatalities (such as an oil well worker being crushed by falling equipment) and injuries (hearing loss due to explosions) are themes throughout the film.

From IMDb: A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Keywords: oil workers, worker fatalities, injuries, hearing loss, workplace violence

Tommy Boy

1995, Peter Segal IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: Chris Farley gets hit in the head as he’s walking through a factory and he’s trying to weave through moving machinery and doesn’t quite make it and gets knocked in the head. It just goes to show how not taking safety seriously in a manufacturing setting can lead to harmful consequences!

From IMDb: An incompetent, immature, and dimwitted heir to an auto parts factory must save the business to keep it out of the hands of his new, con-artist relatives and big business.

Keywords: manufacturing, injuries

The Towering Inferno

1974, John Guillermin & Irwin Allen IMDb rating: 6.8

From our readers: Depicts hazards faced by firefighters battling skyscraper fires.

From IMDb: At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

Keywords: firefighters, fires, injuries

The Toxic Avenger

1984, Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman IMDb rating: 5.8

From IMDb: Melvin, the Tromaville Health Club mop boy, inadvertently and naively trusts the hedonistic, contemptuous and vain health club members to the point of accidentally ending up in a vat of toxic waste. The devastating results then have a transmogrification effect, releasing his alter ego, birthing the Toxic Avenger.

Keywords: chemicals, janitorial, workplace violence

Twilight Zone: The Movie

1983, Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller & Steven Spielberg IMDb rating: 6.3

From our readers: Actor Vic Morrow and two young Vietnamese immigrant children died on the movie set when pyrotechnic explosions caused a helicopter to lose control and crash on them. As a result of this tragedy, State of California child labor laws and safety regulations on movie sets were reformed.

From IMDb: Four horror/sci-fi segments directed by four famous directors which are their own versions of classic stories from Rod Serling’s landmark television series.

Keywords: actor, underserved worker populations, fatalities, injuries, child labor, legislation, safety regulations

Under the Same Moon

2007, Patricia Riggen IMDb rating: 7.4

From IMDb: The parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again.

Up In the Air

2009, Jason Reitman IMDb rating: 7.8

From our readers: An expert, hired by multinational companies to sack employees. You can see subtle techniques of ‘breaking bad news’ with sometimes detrimental consequences. Loneliness and emotional effects of the job.

From IMDb: With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

Keywords: stress, travel, jetlag, evaluations, job loss


1999, John Bruno IMDb rating: 4.5

From our readers: An electronic alien lifeform takes over a research vessel, and plans to wipe out humanity.

From IMDb: When the crew of an American tugboat boards an abandoned Russian research vessel, the alien life form aboard regards them as a virus which must be destroyed.

Keywords: biological, virus, disease

The Wages of Fear

1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot IMDb rating: 8.3

From our readers: Transportation hazards…

From IMDb: In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Keywords: truck, driver


2008, Andrew Stanton IMDb rating: 8.5

From our readers: Cartoon about the future of the human race.

From IMDb: In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Keywords: mechanization

White Christmas

1954, Michael Curtiz IMDb rating: 7.2

From our readers: As Bing Crosby sang the signature song in “White Christmas” a stage hand was overhead dumping asbestos on him.

From IMDb: A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

Keywords: asbestos, asbestosis

With Honors

1994, Alek Keshishian IMDb rating: 6.2

From our readers: Joe Pesci’s character worked in Baltimore shipyards and on the Merchant Marine ship where he was exposed to asbestos and developed asbestosis as a result, which was weakening his heart and lungs.

From IMDb: Convinced he’ll graduate with honors because of his thesis paper, a stuffy Harvard student finds his paper being held hostage by a homeless man, who might be the guy to school the young man in life.

Keywords: asbestos, asbestosis, shipyard workers, ship workers

The Wizard of Oz

1939, Victor Fleming IMDb rating: 8.3

From our readers: Buddy Ebsen, originally cast as the Tin Man, had to be replaced after coming down with severe shortness of breath which was diagnosed at the time to be an “allergy” to the aerosol (powder) application of his tin oxide makeup. The film had several other workplace injuries: Margaret Hamilton, the actress playing the Wicked Witch of the West, was severely burned in a scene where she disappeared in a puff of smoke. Toto was even injured and unable to work for two weeks after he was stepped on by a crew member. And like “White Christmas,” the snow in “The Wizard of Oz” was asbestos sprinkled over the actors.

From IMDb: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Keywords: respiratory illness, allergy, metals

World Trade Center

2006, Oliver Stone IMDb rating: 6.2

From our readers: Movies like Silkwood, World Trade Center, and Erin Brockovich opened our eyes to the dangers of dealing with chemicals. In a way it enables the average Joe to understand the gist. Make-up used to contain mercury, lead and other chemicals, from ancient Egypt until the 1950’s when make-up was marketed in a big way and popularized by the golden age of Hollywood actresses.

From IMDb: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Keywords: terrorism, rescuers, chemicals

The Wrestler

2008, Darren Aronofsky IMDb rating: 8.2

From our readers: Shows the wear-and-tear athletes put on their bodies.

From IMDb: A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.

Keywords: professional athlete, wrestling

The Yearling

1946, Clarence Brown IMDb rating: 7.5

From our readers: The deer-loving son’s father suffers farm work-related injury from back-breaking farm labor.

From IMDb: Jody convinces his parents to allow him to adopt a young deer, but what will happen if the deer misbehaves?

Keywords: farmers, injuries

You Are My Sunshine

Available from NIOSH

2002, NIOSH

From our readers: This NIOSH video tells the story of the events surrounding the Sunshine Mine Disaster of 1972 that killed 91 silver miners through the eyes and interviews of 27 people who survived. The video explores what happened, what went wrong, and what were the lessons learned. The Sunshine Fire was the catalyst for the Metal/Nonmetal Health and Safety Act of 1977, which put in place the MNM regulations we currently have in this country. This video describes in vivid detail what happened during this tragic and historic event.

Keywords: miners, silver, fatalities, injuries, fire, regulations

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Page last reviewed: March 15, 2016
Page last updated: March 15, 2016