Movies can be a powerful illustration for business owners. There are movies where the star of the movie was the villain and then others where the star of the movie was the hero. I find that most movies about business can teach us something. Of course, movies are “Hollywood”. Unless they’re a documentary there’s literary exaggeration liberally thrown into every movie. If you haven’t seen these movies, maybe it’s time to take a break and watch (or rewatch) your favorite “business” movie.
- The Social Network (2010): This film directed by David Fincher tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s founding of Facebook and the subsequent legal battles he faced with those who claimed he stole their idea. It’s a compelling look at the birth and growing pains of one of the most influential tech companies.
- Wall Street (1987): A classic film directed by Oliver Stone, it shows a young stockbroker eager to succeed becoming involved with a wealthy, unscrupulous corporate raider. The movie is known for the famous quote “Greed is good,” capturing the excess of the ’80s.
- The Big Short (2015): This movie tells the true story of the 2007-2008 financial crisis from the perspective of several different financial professionals who predicted the collapse. It’s both an educational and entertaining look at a pivotal moment in economic history.
- Moneyball (2011): Based on a true story, this film follows the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane who, with the help of statistical data analysis, builds a competitive baseball team despite a tight budget. It’s a film about innovation, thinking outside the box, and how to win with limited resources.
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): This film, directed by Martin Scorsese, tells the rise and fall story of Jordan Belfort, a wealthy stockbroker living a life full of excess and corruption. It offers an exaggerated, yet sobering portrayal of Wall Street culture.
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): A film adaptation of David Mamet’s play, it focuses on a group of desperate real estate salesmen who are prepared to go to any lengths to close deals. The film is famous for its intense dialogue and powerful performances, particularly Alec Baldwin’s motivational sales speech.
- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005): This documentary explores the fall of the Enron Corporation, how they were able to hide losses, and the culture of corporate corruption that ultimately led to their downfall. It’s a cautionary tale about unchecked corporate greed and corruption.
- Margin Call (2011): Set in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis, this movie follows a group of employees at a large Wall Street investment bank who discover their firm is on the brink of collapse. The film is known for its intense atmosphere and its portrayal of moral and ethical dilemmas in a crisis.
- Steve Jobs (2015): Directed by Danny Boyle, the film provides a look at the life of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, through three product launches. It delves into the entrepreneur’s professional and personal life, and the impact he had on the tech industry.
- Erin Brockovich (2000): Based on a true story, this film follows Erin Brockovich, a legal assistant who brings a small utility company to court for contaminating a city’s water supply. It’s a film about perseverance, corporate negligence, and the power of the individual to affect change.
- The Founder (2016): This film tells the story of Ray Kroc, a struggling milkshake machine salesman, who discovers the McDonald brothers and their innovative fast-food restaurant. Kroc maneuvers himself into a position to buy the company and creates a billion-dollar empire, often at the expense of the original founders.
- Joy (2015): Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Joy Mangano, a single mother of three children, who becomes a self-made millionaire after inventing the Miracle Mop. Despite the numerous challenges and setbacks she faces, Joy perseveres and creates a successful business empire.