From Oliver Stone’s epic Wall Street to the hilarious Trading Places and Scorcese hit The Wolf of Wall Street, the topic of finance has inspired many a classic film. It’s no surprise when you ponder on the varied world existing within finance, which takes in everything from making ends meet to making personal millions.
Consider the colourful characters often found within these situations and you’ve got a blueprint for classic drama. Think Gordon Gekko. Think Patrick Bateman. Think of Enron’s story and it’s hard remember where fiction ends and fact begins.
Find the 10 Best Films about Finance below.
Boiler Room (2000):
Boiler Room is a 2000 crime drama film directed by Ben Younger. The story follows a college dropout named Seth Davis (played by Giovanni Ribisi), who runs an illegal casino from his apartment. Seth is recruited by a brokerage firm that promises him wealth beyond his wildest dreams.
However, he soon discovers that the firm is running a pump and dump scheme, and he is caught up in a web of greed and deception. The film explores the high-pressure world of finance and the ethical dilemmas that arise when money becomes the ultimate goal.
Wall Street (1987):
Wall Street is a 1987 drama film directed by Oliver Stone. The story follows a young stockbroker named Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen), who is desperate to succeed in the cutthroat world of finance. He becomes obsessed with a ruthless corporate raider named Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) and is eventually drawn into a web of insider trading and corporate espionage.
The film explores the darker side of capitalism and the moral compromises that individuals make in pursuit of success.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013):
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 black comedy directed by Martin Scorsese. The story follows a stockbroker named Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who rises to fame and fortune in the 1990s through a series of fraudulent penny stock schemes.
The film is a wild ride through the excesses of Wall Street, with scenes of drug use, sex, and debauchery. The movie explores the corrupt nature of capitalism and the allure of the American Dream.
Trading Places (1983):
Trading Places is a 1983 comedy film directed by John Landis. The story follows an upper-class commodities broker named Louis Winthorpe III (played by Dan Aykroyd) and a street-smart hustler named Billy Ray Valentine (played by Eddie Murphy).
The two men are unwittingly switched in a social experiment conducted by two wealthy brothers. The film explores the class divide in America and the impact of social status on people’s lives.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992):
Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1992 drama film directed by James Foley. The story follows a group of real estate salesmen who are given an ultimatum: sell more properties or lose their jobs. The film explores the cutthroat world of sales and the pressure that salespeople face to perform. The characters’ ethics are tested as they resort to underhanded tactics to make sales. The movie features an all-star cast, including Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Alec Baldwin.
The Big Short (2015):
The Big Short is a 2015 comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay. The story follows a group of financial investors who saw the impending housing market crash of 2008 and bet against the market. The film explores the inner workings of the financial industry and the events that led to the global financial crisis.
The movie features a star-studded cast, including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt.
Inside Job (2010):
Inside Job is a 2010 documentary directed by Charles Ferguson that explores the global financial crisis of 2008. The film exposes the corruption and unethical practices that led to the collapse of major financial institutions and the devastation of the global economy.
Through interviews with economists, academics, and industry insiders, the documentary shines a light on the greed and misconduct that fueled the crisis.
Inside Job is a sobering look at the consequences of deregulation and the need for greater oversight of the financial industry.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005):
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 documentary directed by Alex Gibney that examines the rise and fall of Enron Corporation, one of the largest and most respected companies in America.
The film explores the corporate culture at Enron, which was characterized by deceit, greed, and corruption. Through interviews with former employees and experts, the documentary uncovers the complex financial schemes and accounting fraud that led to the company’s bankruptcy.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a cautionary tale about the dangers of corporate greed and the need for transparency and accountability in business.
Rogue Trader (1999):
Rogue Trader is a 1999 drama film directed by James Dearden that tells the true story of Nick Leeson, a trader who caused the collapse of Barings Bank, one of the oldest and most respected financial institutions in Britain. The film explores Leeson’s rise to power within the bank and his increasingly risky trading strategies, which ultimately led to the loss of over a billion dollars.
Rogue Trader is a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked ambition and the need for oversight and regulation in the financial industry.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010):
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a 2010 drama film directed by Oliver Stone, a sequel to his 1987 film Wall Street. The story follows Jake Moore (played by Shia LaBeouf), a young trader who seeks revenge against Bretton James (played by Josh Brolin), the man he believes is responsible for his mentor’s suicide.
Meanwhile, the notorious Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) is released from prison and seeks to reconnect with his estranged daughter Winnie (played by Carey Mulligan) while also trying to rebuild his career in the financial world.
The film explores the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the impact it had on the lives of individuals within the industry.
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