6 Best Wall Street Movies of All Times
Movies about Wall Street attract people from all over the world who are interested in the stock market and finance. That’s not surprising considering all the stories about people who have made enormous amounts of money on Wall Street. After all, it’s the number one hot spot to trade stocks in the United States.
Best Wall Street Movies
1. Trading Places (1983)
Nominated for 1 Oscar (1984). Another 3 wins & 4 nominations
Eddie Murphy plays a homeless man named Billy Ray Valentine, who becomes a financial manager following a bet between two successful stockbrokers. His predecessor, Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) of Duke and Duke Commodities Brokers is the initial loser.
Ultimately, the two team up and plot a payback against the stockbrokers, who earlier used them both as pawns in their bet. In the end, they drive the financial jugglers into ruin by dealing with orange juice contracts. A very entertaining and funny comedy based on a short story by Mark Twain: “The Million Pound Bank Note”.
Billy Ray Valentine: “Hey, we’re losing all our damn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain’t gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip! And my wife ain’t gonna f… my wife ain’t gonna make love to me if I got no money!”
2. Wall Street (1987)
Won 1 Oscar (1988). Another 9 wins and 4 nominationsIt is the pre-eminent stock market movie that shows the glamorous, but also dirty side of trading with stocks. Michael Douglas plays financial shark, Gordon Gekko.
He convinces the young stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) to get insider information about the company in which his father is employed. As befits a Hollywood blockbuster, the story picks up speed. Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox are superbly directed and the movie is undoubtedly worth watching more than once.
Thanks to its cinematic perfection, the film inspired many young people to get involved in the stock market. However, critics berated director Oliver Stone for overplaying the game of stocks and focusing too much on the beautiful, glamorous side of the people involved.
Gordon Gekko: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that 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.”
3. The Big Short (2015)
Won 1 Oscar (2016). Another 37 wins & 79 nominations
The film by Adam McKay describes in great detail the events that led to the Financial Crisis in 2007 and 2008 when about 8 million people lost their jobs and about 6 million lost their homes.
In the U.S. real estate market a huge bubble burst with mortgage loans, which were awarded to virtually anyone. The film shows that it was even possible to borrow money in the name of one’s own dog.
Hedge Fund manager Michael Burry, played by Christian Bale, recognizes the situation and foresees the financial crisis coming. He uses his findings to his advantage and soon the entire house of cards collapses as predicted.
The financial film is based on one of the best stock trading books by Michael Lewis “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine”.
Ben Rickert: “If we’re right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions. You know what I hate about f***ing banking? It reduces people to numbers. Here’s a number – every 1% unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die, did you know that?”
4. Boiler Room (2000)
1 win & 9 nominations
With an outstanding cast from the year 2000, the dark side of Wall Street and stock market trading are impressively directed in this film. The 19-year-old college dropout, Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) opens an illegal casino in his apartment.
After one of his buddies tells him to contact J.T. Marlin brokerage, he senses big money and sees his dream of becoming a millionaire closer than ever. Barely settled in his job, he soon discovers that his employer is involved in illegal activities and the firm is an epicenter for unscrupulous greed and immeasurable profits.
Jim Young: “They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the f***ing smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby.”
5. Margin Call (2011)
Nominated for 1 Oscar (2012). Another 8 wins & 23 nominations
The high-finance thriller Margin Call entered movie theaters in 2011 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) works as an analyst in risk management at a New York investment bank and receives a USB flash drive containing explosive material from Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci).
The mechanisms of the financial industry are revealed in an impressive way and the anticipatory moments make the stock trading movie worth watching until the end. Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons were well-received by audiences everywhere for their outstanding performances.
John Tuld: “There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.”
6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Nominated for 5 Oscars (2014). Another 38 wins & 165 nominations
Using ingenious selling methods, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) made a $200 million fortune by persuading 1,500 investors to invest in worthless, cheap securities that he had previously bought. His clients’ investments drove prices higher and higher, Belfort sold his holdings with high profits, and eventually the investors lost their money after the price collapsed.
The true life of Jordan Belfort served as the basis for Martin Scorsese’s most successful film to date and is definitely a “must-see” for any movie lover. Every viewer should consider the stock trading movie itself as a warning. I’m sure the private investors who were cheated out of their savings would have given a lot to have seen the film before they blindly invested out of greed and naively trusted in an unknown individual.
Jordan Belfort: “Still, give them to me young, hungry, and stupid. And in no time, I will make them rich.”
See Also: Jordan Belfort Net Worth
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