40 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

#21 // Joy

This is a story of an energetic young woman, who despite living in a household filled with distractions, decides that she wants to do something with her life.

Using her creative mindset she designs & manufactures a revolutionary new cleaning mop set to sweep the nation (sorry, an awful pun I know).

Can Joy overcome the chaos of living with her ex-husband and divorced parents, and make a success out of her new invention?

“Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing.”

Joy, Joy

#22 // Nightcrawler

Desperate for work and residing in the life of crime, Lou Bloom stumbles upon a late-night crime scene and decides to take a shot at crime journalism.

Getting access to a cheap video camera and police scanner, giving him the lead position on accidents, robberies and fires.

With his growing experience, he looks to expand, hiring a young assistant, however, it becomes clear that Lou will do anything for the next news story.

“Why you pursue something is as important as what you pursue.”

Lou Bloom, Nightcrawler

#23 // The Devil Wears Prada

Perhaps a surprise entry on this list of entrepreneur movies, however, I felt it was necessary inclusion given its lesson of how work can take over your life, and potentially ruin personal relationships – if you let it.

The movie sees a young, naive journalist land an unlikely assistant role for the ruthless fashion editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly.

There’s no hold barred as Priestly’s cruel nature demands the very best from her new assistant, and even manipulates her employees into making decisions based on their personal progression – albeit at a moral cost.

“Details of your incompetence do not interest me.”

Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

#24 // Rogue Trader

Here’s a story of how investment broker, Nick Leeson, single-handedly brought down one of the oldest and most reputable banks in the UK, Barings Bank, due to his eagerness to reverse his own losses.

After being assigned to Singapore by Barings, in a management role on the trading floor, Nick found success with questionable (and at times illegal) decisions, but after his luck begins to change, he finds himself digging the financial hole deeper and deeper.

Whilst cleverly disguising his losses, his continued persistence to turn his fortunes around ended up losing the company over 1 billion dollars and was a crucial part of Barings’ eventual demise.

“Despite rumours of secret bank accounts and hidden millions, I did not profit personally from my unlawful trading. To be absolutely honest, sometimes I wish I had.”

Nick Leeson, Rogue Trader

#25 // Boiler Room

Seth Davis is a college dropout, looking for a job and to succeed following in his father’s footsteps.

Desperate to make his father proud, he joins a suburban investment firm that are producing crazy results, promising each employee that they’ll make over 1 million each within the first year alone.

After some late-night investigation, Seth realises that the firm is selling stock companies that don’t even exist, ruining the lives of many of their clients (and their families) – all for their own personal gain.

“Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.”

Jim Young, Boiler Room

#26 // Thank You For Smoking

Tobacco lobbyist, Nick Naylor, makes a living out of talking. Regularly meeting up with his best friends, of the alcohol and guns trades respectively, they’re often found disputing which industry has killed off more people – making Thank You For Smoking one of many enjoyable movies I would recommend to any entrepreneur.

Confronted by growing concerns over the health hazards of smoking, Nick using his quick wit and experience to spin any debate to his benefit, all whilst trying to be a good role model for his 12-year-old son.

The biggest problem?

A beautiful news reporter who has broken his trust.

“That’s the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.”

Nick Naylor, Thank You For Smoking

#27 // Flash of Genius

A true story about Robert W. Kearns, who when out driving in a rainstorms questions why his windshield wipers don’t quite operate like the human eye, wiping away the rain as and when it would fall, and therefore being able to function at various speeds when needed.

As a keen inventor, Kearns got to successfully designing his revolutionary windshield wiper and looked to license it out to popular car brands, such as Ford.

After initial interest in his product, Ford then proceeds to ignore Robert’s calls, only for him to find out that they’ve stolen his idea and decided to make the wipers themselves.

Outraged by this news, Robert takes the automobile powerhouse to court – but will he be successful in doing so?

“Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?”

Robert W. Kearns, Flash of Genius

#28 // The Godfather

Has there ever been a more iconic movie than the Godfather? But how does it fit into the list of best entrepreneur movies?

Well, in a world where nothing is more important than family, one man steps in to protect himself following the attempted murder of his father, and mafia boss, Vito Corleone, this epic teaches us to network, keep our business private, keep our friends close and your enemies closer.

That last part may be from the second chapter of the Godfather trilogy, but the lesson is certainly evident in the original.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather

#29 // Jerry Maguire

This 90’s classic follows the life of successful sports agent Jerry Maguire, who after being confronted by the child of his injured client, questions the morality of his business and more specifically the agency he works for.

After staying all night writing a mission statement looking to make a positive change in the company, he gets fired and despite his efforts is soon left with only one client as he looks to go it alone.

“Show me the money!”

Jerry Maguire & Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire

#30 // Inside Job

The third and entry on this list of entrepreneur movies focus on the 2008 financial disaster.

Inside Job gives us a closer look at how the United States plunged into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Not limited to the US, the financial disaster almost resulted in a worldwide financial collapse, of which Inside Job traces the journey of how corrupt politics, regulation and finance, in general, has become.

This crime documentary makes for some scary watching.

“You’re gonna make an extra $2 million a year, or $10 million a year for putting your financial institution at risk. Someone else pays the bill, you don’t. Would you make that bet? Most people on Wall Street said, ‘Sure, I’d make that bet.'”

Frank Partnoy, Inside Job

#31 // The Call of the Entrepreneur

The Call of the Entrepreneur is a movie about the journey of three workers; a failing dairy farmer, a merchant banker & a refugee from China.

The theme of the movie is about how creative, optimistic & persistent a true entrepreneur can be.

Brad Morgan, the former went on to become the owner of a million-dollar composting operation.

Frank Hanna goes on to explain how financial engineering played a crucial role in the discovery of America and what it’s become today.

Jimmy Lai went on to build two successful companies, retail outlet Giordano and media company Next Media.

“You put your butt in the corner, you’d be surprised what you can achieve.”

Brad Morgan, The Call of the Entrepreneur

#32 // The Company Men

Amidst the recession in the late 2000s, the GTX corporation is in dire need of dramatically downsizing its staff in order to balance the books.

One of the unlucky few (few being over a thousand) is Bobby Walker, a high-flyer in the business who is now facing a reality he’s never known.

The story shows how Bobby and his family can cope following their loss of income, shelter, security and confidence, as he takes on more manual labour during these tough times.

“We work as hard in here every day as we did when we were trying to get a job, we’ll be alright. What’s the worst thing they can do, fire us?”

Bobby Walker, The Company Men

#33 // The Startup Kids

The Startup Kids takes a look at young entrepreneurs behind successful online companies, such as Dropbox, Vimeo, Soundcloud and more, showing the journey from idea, to web development, launch and growth of the businesses.

The film interviews the successful web developers of the aforementioned companies and gets their alternative take on the newfound startup culture.

“You’re always kind of just on the edge of your comfort zone, and everything you’re doing is basically something you’re just barely qualified for or not qualified for. It’s like jumping off a cliff and having to build your own parachute.”

Drew Houston, The Startup Kids

#34 // Scarface

One of my favourite films of all time, Scarface is a thrilling crime drama about Cuban-born Tony Montana, who heads to the US in pursuit of the American dream.

Whilst residing in Miami It isn’t long before Tony begins working for a drug lord, Frank Lopez, making deals on Lopez’s behalf & spilling blood in the process.

Scarface is a great example of how absolute power corrupts absolutely, and a must-watch for any Al Pacino fan.

“I never fucked anybody over in my life didn’t have it coming to them. You got that? All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don’t break them for no one.”

Tony Montana, Scarface

#35 // The Corporation

This entry is a business documentary that takes a psychological viewpoint of the concept of corporations, and how it fits into the world that we live in today.

Providing insight based on historical events all the way back to the 18th century.

The film analyses the importance of every facet of the corporation, from the pundits and pawns all the way to the CEOs, revealing the corporation’s inner workings, history, controversies and potential impact in the future.

“Again and again we have the problem that whether you obey the law or not is a matter of whether it’s cost effective. If the chance of getting caught and the penalties are less than it costs to comply, people think of it as just a business decision.”

Robert Monks, The Corporation

#36 // The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

The Inventor dissects the rise and fall of the multi-billion dollar tech company, Theranos.

Founded by Elizabeth Holmes, who would become the youngest self-made female billionaire following her contributions to the company, Theranos promised to provide a revolutionary way of testing blood, however, fraudulent activity resulted in the tech company being dissolved & despite being heralded as the next Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Holmes being indicted for her illegal claims.

“I don’t have many secrets… errm”

Elizabeth Holmes, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
40 Movies That Every Business Owner / Entrepreneur Needs To See
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#37 // Limitless

Limitless is an interesting film that centres around a failing author (Eddie) who can’t seem to get any momentum going.

After bumping into an old friend who recognises his troubles, he offers Eddie a unique pill that hasn’t even been approved for mass production yet.

With nothing else to lose, he takes the pill and finds that his productivity shoots through the roof.

With the aid of the drug he manages to write an entire book, learn new languages & conquer the stock market – but at what cost?

“I don’t have delusions of grandeur, I have an actual recipe for grandeur.”

Eddie Morra, Limitless

#38 // The Intern

Age is just a number right?

Well, that’s certainly the case for Robert De Niro as he plays a 70-year-old widower who’s bored of the retired lifestyle.

Looking to get back into the workforce, he decides to mix it up by applying for a senior intern role at an online retail agency.

Despite his age, he manages to lend some wisdom and even gain the friendship of his fellow peers.

“I just know there’s a hole in my life and I need to fill it… soon.”

Ben, The Intern

#39 // The Internship

If we’re gonna mention The Intern, we might as well mention The Internship too right?

In this flick, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up (again) as two old-school salesmen, who despite being fairly successful in their younger days, had become the victims of redundancy.

Desperate to turn their fortunes around, they manage to secure internships at Google and soon find that the newfound digital era has completely passed them by.

If you’re looking for something easy to watch before bed, this would be a great choice.

“Here’s the deal. I’m pretty terrific on the phones. I could sell prosciutto to a rabbi. And I have.”

Billy McMahon, The Internship

#40 // Office Space

Ending this post on a lighter note, Office Space is a great comedy about the miserable life of office workers in the ’90s.

Having worked in finance myself for over six years, I could certainly enjoy the vicarious feeling of smashing up a faulty printing machine with a baseball bat.

“So, I was sitting in my cubicle today and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So, that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”

Peter Gibbons, Office Space

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my list of entrepreneur movies, I tried to include an eclectic mix of styles, genres & lessons to be learnt from each.

As mentioned previously, although many of these movies revolve around characters working a 9 to 5 lifestyle, the lessons that can be learnt from these movies can often also be applied to you as an entrepreneur when running your own business.

Which of these entrepreneur movies was your favourite? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below!

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