Top 5000
Up 187 this week

Syriana (2005)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  9 December 2005 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 103,286 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 624 user | 357 critic | 40 from

A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.



, (book)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns a classy 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 31 Jul 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 11 Feb 2012
a list of 22 titles
created 30 Jan 2013
a list of 31 titles
created 22 Mar 2013
a list of 22 titles
created 18 Dec 2013

Related Items

Search for "Syriana" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Syriana (2005)

Syriana (2005) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Syriana.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife's murder, big business, and corporate corruption.

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé
Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
Capote (2005)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.

Director: Bennett Miller
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Clifton Collins Jr., Catherine Keener
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march -- single file -- to their traditional breeding ground.

Director: Luc Jacquet
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer
Sideways (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment, embark on a week long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson
Crazy Heart (2009)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.

Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Ray I (2004)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicky Henson ...
Sydney Hewitt
Nicholas Art ...
Riley Woodman
Leland Janus
Bryan's Boss


American oil companies Connex and smaller Killen are undergoing a merger, the new company named Connex-Killen. The move is in response to Connex losing a number of oil fields in the Persian Gulf region as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, his country's foreign minister, and the oldest son of the Emir and thus the heir apparent to the throne, signed a contract with the Chinese instead. As Killen somehow managed to get the contract for the oil fields in Kazahkstan, the merger would give Connex-Killen additional control of the industry in the Middle East. Connex's retained law firm, headed by Dean Whiting, assigns Bennett Holiday to demonstrate to the US Department of Justice that due diligence has been done to allow the merger to proceed i.e. that the merger would not break any antitrust regulations. The US government is unhappy with Prince Nasir's decision to award the contract to the Chinese, and in combination with issues around illegal weapons, the CIA assigns field agent Bob Barnes, who has ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Everything is connected


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | | |

Release Date:

9 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

See No Evil  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$374,502 (USA) (25 November 2005)


$50,815,288 (USA) (14 April 2006)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


George Clooney gained 35 pounds on a pasta-heavy diet to play CIA operative Robert Barnes. The actor also shaved his hairline for the right look. See more »


Benett is invited for a ride in a limo with tinted windows. Later on, the windows are clear. See more »


[first lines]
Arash: Bobby, where have you been?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »


References My Two Dads (1987) See more »


Church Scene
(1983) (uncredited)
from The Outsiders (1983)
Written by Carmine Coppola
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Price We Pay
12 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Syriana" is a blistering, powerful film about the degree to which governments and corporate conglomerates place the ambition to control the world's oil supply above the well being of their citizens and employees. In this game, there are only bad guys, and what separates the villains from the protagonists is not a question of who's good and who's bad, but rather how bad each is willing to be.

So maybe "Syriana" doesn't tell us anything new. But that doesn't mean its points aren't worth making again and again. And though it is complicated, and I'm not going to pretend I followed every detail of its intricate plot, it's not *that* hard to follow. Stephen Gaghan is a good writer, and he provides a nice summary of the film's action in its final moments.

What emerges from this tangled puzzle is a web of corruption and self-interest, all fueled by the need for oil. In one plot thread, the men behind two soon-to-merge oil companies will stop at nothing to make the merger go through, since the new company will be one of the most powerful in the world. In another thread, the law firm representing the company proves that it's eager to cash in on the company's new economic success. Meanwhile, a power struggle between the two sons of an aging king in an unspecified Middle Eastern country (though Saudi Arabia is obviously suggested) has attracted the attention of the American government, operating through the CIA. America (read American business) has a vested interest in which of the king's sons succeeds him to the throne: It doesn't want the reform-minded eldest son, whose priorities will be building a country to benefit his own people; it wants instead the younger son, who will continue to relegate his country to a cosy spot in America's hip pocket and take its orders directly from the president of the USA. And in the film's most chilling plot strand, we see how the struggle for oil feeds the radical Islam movement in the Middle East, providing young men with a feeling of brotherhood and righteousness in the face of a region they feel has turned its back on them in favor of big business and Western corruption.

"Syriana" is tense, fast and furious. Following it can admittedly be somewhat exhausting, but if you pay very close attention to the first hour or so, as each story is introduced and the relationships between characters become clear, the second half of the movie is easier to digest.

I disagree with other comments here that the characters aren't developed or that the acting is unimpressive. On the contrary, I think all of the actors create extremely nuanced, compelling characters, a challenging task given the fact that none of them are allowed more than a minute or so at a time to feed us information about themselves. A movie like this could easily fall prey to filling itself with a bunch of stock villains, all cocked eyebrows and facial mannerisms rather than full-bodied characterizations, and the fact that it avoids this is a tribute to both Gaghan and the cast. And hats off to the editor on this movie, who had perhaps the most daunting task of the year.

2005 has been full of terse, important films, fresh in their immediacy. There have been a small number of sensational, tough, thought-provoking films instead of a larger batch of more mediocre ones, as has been the case recently. "Syriana" is one of the best movies of the year: it's angry, yet it's not hopeless. I hope Americans see this movie. At this time of year, when people are trampling each other in malls in order to be first in line for Christmas sales, I hope they remember that the vast wealth of America frequently comes at the sake of people all over the world who will never have a fraction of the comfort those in our country take for granted.

Grade: A

621 of 781 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Similar movies Eric_Mtl
Unrealistic Drowning sadmovies
Too choppy, incoherent, and preachy RazzTheMan
Why is this movie rated 7.1/10? arnabc2003
Meeting by the sea kaelin9003
Bob Barnes + his son.... midwffan
Discuss Syriana (2005) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: