7 Best Investment Movies of All Time
The world of finance is always an interesting movie plot. It has everything that you are looking for in a movie – catastrophe, romance, ingenuity, comedy, tragedy, and redemption. It’s no wonder finance films are always a hit in the movie theater.
If you’re looking for investment movies to watch to get your finance and investment game on, we have made a list of the best investment movies of all time. Grab a bowl of popcorn and be entertained by these films that feature money, scams, stock markets, and Wall Street.
The Big Short (2015)
This Oscar-winning movie is adapted from Michael Lewis’s best-selling book of the same name, The Big Short. Directed by Adam McKay, this film centers on the lives of several American financial professionals who made a prediction and profit from the build-up and subsequent collapse of the credit bubble and housing in 2007-2008.
The Big Short does not just focus on the events that lead up to the financial crises. This character-driven piece also touches the conflicted morality of some of the characters who predicted the crisis well in advance. This movie stars Hollywood A-listers Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Christian Bale.
The story centers around the work of hedge fund manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale) and his belief that the U.S. housing market of the early 21st century is an asset bubble. He designed a credit default swap that allows him to short the housing market. Hedge fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) joined forces with Burry in putting an investment in the credit default swap market. He foresees that the housing bubble will bring down the U.S economy.
Two other investors, Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Charlie Geller (John Magaro) made a series of successful bets against the housing market. This made retired banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) furious that they made a profit off the downfall of the U.S economy.
While some investors bailed out due to moral hazard and the amount of risk taken, Burry managed to produce almost 500% returns for investors who stayed with him during the entire duration of the collapse of the housing market.
Inside Job (2010)
In the Fall of 2008, the world has experienced a financial meltdown which caused millions of citizens to lose their jobs and homes. This also brought the United States into a deep economic recession.
Directed by Charles Ferguson, this documentary film sheds light on this economic collapse. He says the film is about “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption”.
The voice of Matt Damon narrates the documentary. This film examines all the elements that contributed to the economic crisis. Split into five parts, this documentary examines how banking practices and changes in the policy environment helped create the financial meltdown.
Inside Job received high praise from critics and movie-goers. It won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Margin Call (2011)
Written and directed by J. C. Chandor, this 2011 American drama film centers around a large Wall Street investment bank during the initial stages of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The plot takes over a 24-hour period as it focuses on the actions taken by a group of employees during the financial crisis. It features an ensemble cast of Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, and Kevin Spacey.
This entangling thriller starts on a day when an unnamed investment bank starts a mass layoff. Amongst the employees fired is senior risks analyst Eric Dale (Tucci). Before Eric left the office, he managed to slip a USB drive to a younger analyst Peter Sullivan (Quinto).
Sullivan realizes that the market, as well as the firm, is trembling on the brink. He arranged an all-night emergency meeting with chief risk management officer Sarah Robertson (Moore), division head Jared Cohen (Baker), other senior executives and CEO John Tuld (Irons). The burden of making the margin call was in John’s hand.
What’s great about this film is that you don’t need to know a lot of things about the financial market to understand the movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy that is based on the memoir of stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
Leonardo DiCaprio received positive reviews for his performance as Belfort. The film centers on the perspective of Belfort as he recounts his career as a stockbroker in New York City. It also shows how his firm, Stratton Oakmont, participated in rampant fraud and corruption on Wall Street. This misconduct ultimately led to Belfort’s downfall.
The film also stars Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, and Kyle Chandler. Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese creates an outrageous true story that involves money, sex, drugs, and power.
Boiler Room (2000)
This drama centers around Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi), an ambitious and intelligent college dropout who operates an illegal casino in his apartment. His father, a judge, finds out about it and got really disappointed. To prove to his father than he can succeed, he joined a small stock brokerage firm with the hopes to become a millionaire.
This firm uses the technique of cold calling investors to sell stock. As a stockbroker trainee, Seth is placed in the company’s “boiler room” to make cold calls to prospective clients. He managed to close 40 accounts and pass a Series 7 Exam. Eventually, he gained his father’s admiration and his supervisor’s approval.
Unfortunately, as Seth climbs the firm’s ladder, he has to participate in the company’s dirty dealings. He even broke the law just to make his bosses happy.
The Boiler Room also features Ben Affleck, Nicky Katt, Jamie Kennedy, Scott Caan, and Tom Everett Scott.
Rogue Trader (1999)
Written and directed by James Dearden, Rogue Trader is a 1999 British biographical drama film. It centers on the life of ambitious investment broker Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor). The film also shows how he managed to bring Barings Bank into bankruptcy.
This film is based on the true story of a former employee of Barings Bank. He has a series of successful spell working for the firm’s office in Indonesia. He was sent to sent to Singapore as General Manager of the Trading Floor on the SIMEX exchange. The movie shows how Leeson became one of the best traders of Barings Bank.
Although he made large profits for the bank, everything isn’t as it appears. Leeson was covering up losses and illegally breaking trading rules. The bank’s losses mount up to well over £800 million. Eventually, he and his wife had to escape to Malaysia. This huge amount of loss caused Barings to go into bankruptcy.
Quicksilver is a 1986 American drama film stars Kevin Bacon as he portrays the character of a young floor trader Jack Casey. He lost all of his family’s and company’s savings on a risky business decision. As a result, Casey quits his job and became a bicycle messenger.
Despite his parent’s and girlfriend’s disappointment with his new job, Casey is enjoying the freedom that comes with little responsibility. As it turns out, bicycling the hilly streets of San Francisco can be dangerous. He crossed paths with Gypsy (Rudy Ramos), a street pusher who uses messengers to distribute his drugs.
Wall Street (1987)
A list of investment movies would not be complete without the godfather of all investment movies, Wall Street.
Directed by Oliver Stone and starring an incredible cast of Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah, Martin Sheen and James Spader, the film depicts the greed and market corruption of the 1980s.
The story line speaks of a young stockbroker named Bud Fox (Sheen), who becomes involved with a wealthy corporate raider named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Bud is hungry for success and wealth and when he gets caught up in the glamour of it all, takes a turn down a dark immoral paths that involves insider trading.
Douglas won the Academy Award for best actor. In 2010, a sequel came out called Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps which generated a lot less fan fare.
Clearly, each of the movies on this list showed as the glamorous and conflicting lives of those who are in the world of investment and trading. The finance world is not all about money and power. These movies tell us that for you to become a successful investor, you must have sheer will and perseverance.
If you’re looking for an investment movie that will increase your understanding and knowledge in the world of the financial market, then we recommend that you must see Inside Job. This comprehensive analysis of the 2008 global financial crisis will give you insights on what mistakes to avoid and become a successful investor.