“Money makes the world go around” they say, and while there are countless posts and articles on making and saving money (including on this blog 😛 ) it isn’t surprising that there are movies on money as well, and plenty of them. With a long weekend coming up, here’s a list of some of those interesting “money movies” you can watch.
Some are fictional, some based on real events, some are documentaries. The key theme is of course, money and financial markets – and hopefully, each of them will leave you with some key takeaways. They’re arranged in descending order by year of release.
* For some of the movies, viewer discretion is advised, for obvious reasons 😉
1. The Big Short (2015)
IMDb rating – 7.8
With a power packed cast featuring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, this movie is about three different storylines that converge during the financial crisis of 2008. The director explains complex financial concepts in an unusual manner, getting celebrities to talk to camera. The movie is based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis.
2. Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
IMDb rating – 8.2
The movie is an adaptation of the book by the same name by Jordan Belfort about his career as a stockbroker and the rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street that ultimately led to his downfall. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it has Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort. While the movie was a commercial success, it was controversial due to some elements in the film as well as the source of its financing. Another dubious claim to fame is the use of a certain profanity the most number of times in a mainstream film.
3. Margin Call (2011)
IMDb rating – 7.1
Set over a 24-hour period in a Wall Street investment bank in downsizing mode. The head of the Risk Management division is among those let go just as he was working on an analysis. A junior colleague completes it only to realise their company is on the brink of a financial disaster, as other panicked employees are called in to work through the night to see how best the crisis can be managed.
4. Inside Job (2010)
IMDb rating – 8.3
One of the best documentaries on the 2008 financial crisis, detailing the systemic corruption in the financial services industry in the U.S, and the consequences. Narrated by Matt Damon, it seeks to highlight that much of the disaster could have been prevented with adequate regulation and control.
5. Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps (2010)
IMDb rating – 6.2
A sequel to “Wall Street” and based around the financial crisis in 2008. Michael Douglas reprises his role of Gordon Gekko, this time using his daughter’s fiance, an investment banker, to get even with an old enemy.
6. Enron: The smartest guys in the room (2005)
IMDb rating – 7.7
A documentary based on the 2003 bestseller with the same name, by reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, about Enron’s corrupt business practices that caused the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. It is one of the biggest bankruptcies in history and led to suicides, lost jobs and pensions for thousands of employees, besides erosion of over $11 billion in shareholder value.
7. Boiler Room (2000)
IMDb rating – 7.0
This film shows the “pump-and-dump” scheme in action, where stockbrokers create an artificial demand for fake companies or penny stocks and then dump them, leaving those shareholders with worthless stock. A trainee stockbroker is caught in this web of deceit and after seeing someone’s savings go up in smoke due to a tip he gave, resolves to make amends. He’s later arrested by the FBI and agrees to take down the firm in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
8. Rogue Trader (1999)
IMDb – 6.3
Rogue Trader is based on former derivatives broker Nick Leeson’s book. His claim to infamy was breaking all trading rules and generating losses and debts that couldn’t be recovered. Responsible for bringing down Barings Bank in 1995, he was eventually caught and sent to prison, where he wrote this autobiography.
9. Wall Street (1987)
IMDb – 7.4
Easily one of the best known films about the stock market and insider trading. Directed by Oliver Stone, the central character Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, epitomises the “greed is good” way of the wealthy and unscrupulous corporate raiders and stockbrokers of the ’80s.
And here’s No. 10 – a bonus
IMDb – 7.5
There aren’t many Indian movies on money and financial markets, so this is one of the exceptions. “Gafla” means scam, and the story revolves around a man obsessed with money and using the stock market as his vehicle to fame, success and wealth. The fraudulent manner in which he achieves this is reminiscent of the 1992 stock market scam in India involving Harshad Mehta.
Which are your favourite movies on money? Do share them in the comments, and enjoy the long weekend!
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