Wall Street movies offer insightful perspectives into the worlds of business, finance and power. They also emphasize how vital creativity, risk-taking and tenacity are to success. Viewers can learn more about the financial sector and its effects on society by watching these films. They can also serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration for people wishing to pursue a profession in business or finance.
Here are the top seven Wall Street movies that individuals keen on learning about the financial sector must watch.
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who becomes wealthy through fraudulent practices. The film, which is based on Belfort’s memoir of the same name, tells the story of his rise and fall in the financial industry as well as his outlandish conduct, drug use and eventual arrest and fraud conviction.
The film’s direction, script and acting won praise from critics; DiCaprio even garnered an Oscar nomination. It has generated controversy due to its graphic content and humorous depiction of Belfort’s actions.
Wall Street is a 1987 drama film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a wealthy and unscrupulous stockbroker who takes a young and ambitious stockbroker named Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, under his wing.
As Gekko manipulates the stock market for his own gain and Fox gets drawn into his schemes, the movie examines the greed and corruption of the financial world. The iconic and well-known phrase from the movie, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” has come to represent the excesses of the 1980s. Wall Street was critically acclaimed and garnered Douglas an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Margin Call is a 2011 drama film that takes place over a 24-hour period at an investment bank during the early stages of the 2007–2008 global financial crisis. As the bankers become aware that their investments are unsustainable and would cause a financial disaster, the movie investigates the ethical and moral ramifications of their behavior. A stellar cast for the movie includes Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci.
“The Big Short”
The Big Short, released in 2015, is based on Michael Lewis’ book of the same name and follows a group of investors who predict the collapse of the housing market and decide to bet against it. The movie, which stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, has received accolades for its levity and clarity in presenting difficult financial ideas.
The movie was nominated for Best Picture and won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. This movie presents provocative and critical perspectives on the financial sector and the events that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
Boiler Room is a 2000 crime drama film directed by Ben Younger and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck. The story revolves around Ribisi’s character, Seth Davis, a college dropout who is hired by a brokerage firm that turns out to be a pump-and-dump scheme.
As Davis becomes more closely connected with the company and its dubious tactics, he is forced to face his own moral principles and choose between continuing down the route to success and fortune or taking a chance on doing the right thing. The movie was met with mixed reviews when it first came out, but it has since developed a cult following and is seen as a warning about the high-stakes world of banking as well as the perils of greed and corruption.
Trading Places is a 1983 comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. The film centers on two affluent and dishonest brothers who wager on the outcome of a life-for-life swap between a successful trader named Louis Winthorpe III, played by Aykroyd, and a streetwise con man named Billy Ray Valentine, played by Murphy.
The two men discover a scheme by the brothers to manipulate the stock market for their personal gain as they try to adjust to their new situation. During its initial release, the movie was a critical and financial hit and has since gone on to become a comedy genre classic. Jamie Lee Curtis and Denholm Elliott both gave excellent performances.
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Inside Job is a 2010 documentary film directed by Charles Ferguson that explores the global financial crisis of 2008 and the events leading up to it. The movie examines topics such as deregulation, conflicts of interest and the power of big money in politics as it critically examines the role of the financial sector and government regulators in the crisis. The movie mixes archive footage and visuals to teach difficult financial topics and includes interviews with economists, financial experts and political leaders.
Inside Job won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and received accolades for its sharp analysis and understandable informational flow. The movie is credited with increasing public awareness of the causes and effects of the financial crisis, and it is still relevant in light of ongoing discussions about economic inequality and financial regulation.