Each of us will have our own favorite movies. We cherish certain movies forever. No matter how many times we watch them, we don’t get bored. We will not miss the chance to watch them again. I’m sure many of you will be like me 🙂
If there is one passion I truly have then that is watching movies. Finance, Investing, Business only come a distant second. This is an opportunity to combine both my passions and I loved writing this. Here is my list of Top 10 best movies on business, investing, finance.
Compared to others, business movies are few and far in between. You will watch countless love movies, horror flicks, and the cop movies before getting a decent movie on business. Most movies on business lack the excitement of car chases or the heart-wrenching love story.
However, some of the critically acclaimed movies are about business or investing. While compiling this list was far from daunting, one element did emerge. Most of them have portrayed businessmen as bad guys to some extent.
I tried to find movies that depicted business men as good people. Surprisingly, only Citizen Kane and The Wonderful Life fit this bill. All others in the list were on the other side.
Also one should note the fact that none of the movie depictions of businessmen and investors took the time to suggest how the industry should be fixed.They just showed the problems but never the solution.
This made it quite the impossible to come up with a list of top 10 enjoyable and informative movies on business and investing. All the same, below is a list you will thoroughly enjoy watching, and learning. It is not 1 to 10 but the top 10 business movies in no particular order.
The list goes through everything, from an insider’s perspective of futures trading to leveraged buyouts, and even the slow-motion collapse of a global investment bank. Hope you enjoy them as we did!
Top 10 best movies on Business, Finance, Investing
It was hardly surprising that Citizen Kane was unanimously chosen as the best movie on business. Directed in 1941 by Orson Welles, the film has continuously been cited as the best.
Jack Mathews, a film critic for the New York Daily News hails it as “the definitive look at the megalomaniac-as-mogul.” We take that as film critic lingo for a Grammy Award nominee.
In the entire film, Kane comes off as a modest businessman, although the fact that he runs a couple of newspapers gets the better of him. His legacy never jumps to unrealistic heights of an eccentric billionaire who likes hanging in bat caves or worse, dressed up in a metallic suit.
Kane was a real life legacy, a businessman and investor whose demeanor makes him the perfect movie subject. No Henry Ford, Walt Disney or Ray Kroc movies you might ask? Well, they are just not cut out for immortality on the silver screen.
Citizen Kane tells the story of an empire builder and the price he and others pay to build that empire. Ever since the movie premiered, every media mogul is inevitably compared to Charles Foster Kane. Kane was, and for that simple reason, Citizen Kane is a must watch movie.
Okay, so we fibbed a little in the beginning. The Godfather series is full on Hollywood mayhem. Car chases, explosions, and bullets. How did we then rank it as a business movie, you might ask? Well at the core, The Godfather series is all about business, even though its muddled around criminal activities.
In our defense, Michael Corleone predicts that the Corleone family will go legit in five years. In the Godfather: Part II he tries to direct the family to go legitimate, but his efforts come to naught.
The Godfather: Part II is ultimately a family-business movie as a veteran film critic, Judith Crist puts it. In Godfather: Part II the Corleones are less adorable. Michael is all about business, going to the extent of proving that water is thicker than blood. The Godfather is one of my favorite movie of all time. Also one of good movies on business though not finance or investing.
If a single sentence could describe Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room it would be one of the best business documentaries ever captured on film. The movie documents the story of Enron’s rise and fall from global dominance.
It even captures the bizarre tales of the corporation’s executives Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Timothy Belden and Andy Fastow. It is an informative masterpiece that takes you inside the energy and hedge markets with interviews from former global players such as Jim Chanos.
As a comical and satirical piece, Trading Places compares finance professionals to bookies. Yes, watching this one will sting a bit, but you will be surprised how readily some investment professionals gamble with client’s portfolios.
The movie plots the story of how two brothers running a commodity futures brokerage firm bet so as to settle an argument. The argument is whether heredity or a person’s upbringing defines the person’s character. The two brothers then design an experiment to test their hypothesis.
They take a street hustler and an elite executive and switch their circumstances. The executive falls apart as he cannot manage life on the street. On the other hand, the hustler thrives in his new environment.
Later on the hustler and the executive discover the mischievous plans plotted by the two brothers and decide to exact revenge. At this point, you will learn a lot about futures trading, and how to develop a rock-solid trading philosophy.
The fifth pick on our list is the only movie with a cheerful perspective on business and investing we could find. Here, the good guy wins unlike other titles on the list. As a bonus, the movie is claimed to have averted more white-collar crime than any other American movie.
It has also been a stimulus for more business losses than any other film. Michael Lewis, the author of Liar’s Poker and the New New Thing, made these claims, and we are baffled. If you know how the film pulled this off, leave us a comment. Undoubtedly one of easy picks for best movies on business and finance.
Another documentary that fits nicely in our list, Trillion Dollar Bet coveys everything in between Black-Scholes-Merton options pricing formula to physics envy in finance. Later on, it takes you to the front seat of the collapse of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM).
Overall, the knowledge and insight you gain from this documentary is worth more than a month in as a trader. The combination of math and finance, as the narrator puts it, put capitalism on the match. When LTCM began to collapse gradually, the implications were so dire that it had to be bailed out.
It was essentially a global systemic threat that brought embarrassment and financial losses to its owners, which still linger on today. A must watch movie on finance, investing.
Wall Street is the platitude of finance movies. Everyone in business or finance is supposed to know it. The debate on whether it is good or wrong is no longer the point.
Basically, the film is about making money, making fast money and tons of it. The methods of making the money are not necessarily legal or moral.
Most of the traders in the film rely on insider trading. However, the film’s depth and intensity makes it stand out from all other finance films. The adoration of the movie’s villain, Gordon Gekko, raises troubling questions about the investment industry.
The most famous line from the film is “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” The FBI reiterated these words during a recent insider-trading public service announcement that has Michael Douglas, who played Gekko on Wall Street.
Check NASDAQ’s similar listing of business movies here
Another comedy, Other People’s Money is a clash between the real economy and the financial market. It pits the corporate raider with his free market ideals on family business ethos and values against the real economy.One of low rated movies on IMDB but many insider guys feel it deserves better.
In the film, the manufacturing industry faces obsolescence raising the question whether the unit and jobs created need be liquefied to satisfy stakeholders of the industry.
The plot offers several finance lessons such as company valuation. Similar to Gekko in Wall Street the villain in the film demands that the person who has the most when he dies wins.
In one memorable line, the main villain tells stakeholders that if they want to make money, they should not care if the manufacturing industry manufactures wire and cable, fried chicken or grows tangerines.
When it came out, Rogue Trader, it was obvious the film was a testament to Nick Leeson, the slayer of Barings Equity, Britain’s oldest investment bank.
Since the movie premiered, a whole boatload of traders have followed Leeson’s footprints. Is this becoming a trend where traders sink institutions and then make money by telling people about it?
Rogue Trader is based on Leeson’s book, Rogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World. Then a star trader at Barings, Leeson lost billions of dollars through unauthorized trading on Singapore’s exchange market.
The film shows how superiors delude themselves into thinking star traders earn them huge profits by implementing boardroom talk into action, which they don’t do by the way.
Leeson says in the film that the finance market is nothing more than a giant casino trading numbers, not real money. This statement is true to some extent but not fully 🙂 It is subtle dialogue that makes this one of the best business movies of all time.
Keeping up with the trend of the last part of this list, Boiler Room shows finance at its worst. A group of professionals in the industry lie, cheat, and steal their way into billions.
They sell worthless stock to investors through high-pressure sales calls. If Wall Street is a depiction of insider-trading, then Boiler Room takes a crack at the pump and dump stock broking. None of which is particularly desired practices in business and finance industries.
Hardly could I find Indian movies on business, finance or investing. Atleast not what I’m aware of. Some that came to mind are Guru, Sarkar tec., but they dint make up a list.
Do you know some Indian movies about finance, business that we could add to the Top 10 Finance Films-Best Movies on Business, Investing . Let me know in comments section and I will try to include them.