Best Stock Market Movies
Stock market movies fascinate people across cinemas around the world. Stories of steep careers and bitter defeats centered around trading stocks, options, commodity futures, and the rule of money have shaped the finance movie landscape for years.
Best Stock Market Movies
1. Edison, the Man (1940)
Nominated for 1 Oscar (1941)
In this stock market movie, the life and work of Thomas Alva Edison are biographically presented. In the main role, Spencer Tracy plays businessman Thomas A. Edison.
He causes a worldwide sensation with his developments and start-ups, especially in the electric supply sector. Incidentally, Edison had been involved as a shareholder in many companies, including General Electric.
Thomas A. Edison: “Funny thing about mistakes- they don’t have to be permanent. I had to find that out myself when I was a boy.”
2. Citizen Kane (1941)
Won 1 Oscar (1942). Another 9 wins & 13 nominations
Orson Welles shines in his unforgettable role as New York newspaper magnate, Charles Kane. The movie begins with the death of Kane in his castle Xanadu, where he mumbles his last word: “Rosebud”.
A reporter searches for meaning behind Kane’s last enigmatic word by taking us through his past as he developed into a newspaper magnate, who manipulated people and stock prices with his printing works.
Loosely based on the life of newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, Welles’ masterpiece has become, what some have called, the greatest film ever made.;
Despite Hearst’s attempts to ban the film from ever being seen, Citizen Kane continues to be celebrated for its artistic and technical innovations.
Charles Foster Kane: “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.”
3. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)
Nominated for 1 Oscar (2007). Another 11 wins and 24 nominations
Based on a true story, this 2006 film starring Will Smith is loaded with emotions. The single father, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) strives for happiness and freedom.
After his wife, Linda separates from him, Chris must take care of his son Christopher alone. The film realistically shows how hard it is to gain a foothold in investment banking.
Homeless and devoting time to an unpaid internship in an investment bank, Chris and Christopher have to fight for their bare survival.
Will the strong willpower and hard work ultimately pay off? Find out!
Christopher Gardner: “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”
4. Arbitrage (2012)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe (2013). Another 4 wins & 4 nominations
The movie Arbitrage, from 2012, is meant to be a criticism of the purely profit-oriented financial world. Robert Miller (Richard Gere) has everything one could want at first glance.
Robert is a successful hedge fund manager, who is about to sell his investment company for a lot of money. But suddenly $400 million are missing after Robert has speculated on a copper mine.
All attempted cover-ups do not help and problems in his private life start to arise.
Robert Miller: “When I was a kid, my favorite teacher was Mr. James. Mr. James said world events all revolve around five things. M – O – N – E – Y.”
5. Barbarians at the Gate (1993)
Won 2 Golden Globes (1994). Another 6 wins & 16 nominations
Barbarians at the Gate is about one of the biggest enemy corporate takeovers in US history. For $31 billion, KKR took over tobacco and food giant RJR Nabisco after a spectacular takeover bid.
Based on the well-received, non-fiction book of the same name, the film was made by HBO in 1993. With 2 Golden Globes and an IMDB rating of 7.3, Barbarians at the Gate is one of the most popular films among viewers.
Ross Johnson: “We’re not talking just f*** you money. We’re talking f*** everybodys money.”
6. Working Girl (1986)
Won 1 Oscar (1989). Another 8 wins & 17 nominations
Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is waiting for her big break in the business world. Working as a secretary, she gets her big chance when her boss Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) breaks her leg on a ski vacation.
With a big deal on the horizon, Tess teams up with investment banker Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), but after her boss’ return, things get more complicated. The film had big success with a large turnover. In addition, the film received many Academy Award nominations in 1989.
Tess McGill: “I have a head for business and a body for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?”
7. The Bank (2001)
Won 1 AFI Award (2001). Another 8 wins & 21 nominations
This 2001 movie is about a financial software that can predict stock market trends. A young mathematician, Jim Doyle is hired by a corrupt investment banker Simon O’Reilly. He wants to use the software to his own advantage and the plot takes its course. Produced in Australia and Italy, the film has mixed reviews, but won the 2001 Australian Film Institute Award for its script.
Wayne Davis: “I guess if there’s a problem, the bank will let us know…”
8. The Wizard of Lies (2017)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes (2018). Another 3 wins & 17 nominations
This film brings up, once again, the spectacular financial fraud of Bernie Madoff. Barry Levinson directs Oscar winner, Robert De Niro as the dazzling big swindler in the field.
In 2018, the film was nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Other roles in this HBO film are played by Michelle Pfeiffer, as his wife Ruth and Nathan Darrow and Alessandro Nivola as his children. The film also shows how the family of Bernard L. Madoff falls apart amidst the scandal.
Bernie Madoff: “I took money from some people, I gave it to others and I’ll never… now there’s nothing left. There’s supposed to be 50 Billion, there’s absolutely nothing, it’s all gone.”
9. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Nominated for 1 Oscar (1993). Another 8 wins & 12 nominations
Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the top-rated financial films in our in-depth review. Starring Al Pacino as Ricky Roma, Jack Lemmon as Shelley Levine and Alec Baldwin as Blake, the characters are intensely charismatic and extremely well-acted.
The struggle for power and influence between the staff of the real estate office is fanned after top manager, Blake calls a sales competition. The loser should be fired and the winner rewarded with a luxury car.
Suddenly, all means are allowed and a merciless fight for the customers begins. Plots of land are sold at high pressure to customers and resorted to the fear of existence by methods that previously seemed unthinkable.
Ricky Roma: “What you are hired for, is to help us… does that seem clear to you? To help us, not to… F*** us up… to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living… You fairy. You company man.”
10. Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (2013)
We have always wanted to take a look behind the facade of the U.S. Federal Reserve and finally the movie Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve gives us that insight.
The film explains the structures and tries to promote investors’ confidence. Ultimately, the film serves to show the viewer that the FED is helping to stabilize the American financial system.
However, the interviews with Paul Volcker (Chairman of the FED from 1979 to 1987) and Janet Yellen (Chairman of the FED from 2014 to 2018) show a critical perspective of what happened in the context of the economic crisis in 2008 and following.
Of course, movies about the stock market, about entrepreneurs and enormous wealth are extremely interesting to the public. Who doesn‘t dream of juggling millions or even billions and simply being able to afford everything beautiful and exquisite in this world? Accordingly, all stock market movies are set in the world of high finance, with the scenery corresponding to the income of the main players.
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