Not too long ago we reviewed what the hit film The Big Short can teach us about value investing. (See the original post here.) The blog post prompted us to take a look at what other finance and investment themed movies are out there. We at our FinTech start-up CityFALCON and London Value Investing are always looking to learn from every possible source.
With that said, here is a list of the top 15 movies, TV shows, and documentaries every trader and investor needs to watch.
1. Wall Street
Although Oliver Stone’s epic film was released in 1987, the lessons of morality and doing what is good and right (not to mention legal) are timeless. Watch Charlie Sheen’s character Bud Foxx cross the line between good and bad to satisfy the wants of billionaire investor Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas).
2. The Big Short
Based on the book by the same name, the 2015 comedy-drama follows multiple storylines with one common theme: how to take advantage of the looming financial crisis while most of the world will suffer the deadly consequences.
3. Becoming Warren Buffett
For the first time ever you can follow billionaire investor Warren Buffett in this 2017 documentary. Fun fact: Buffett never spends more than $3.17 on breakfast despite his net worth which is north of $70 billion. We can all learn a thing or two about his humble lifestyle.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
Leo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jordan Belfort tells the real life story of the criminal’s rise from a shady stock broker to a criminal enterprise.
5. Boiler Room
Hard work and dedication towards a legitimate job doesn’t appeal to Giovanni Ribisi’s character. He learns the hard way that living of a life of scamming people out of their hard earned money has real consequences – both moral and legal.
6. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
This 2005 documentary offers a glimpse of how Enron’s management team was able not only to lie about its business practices, but how easy it was to get away with it. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before the next “Enron” presents itself.
7. Inside Job
The 2010 documentary about the 2007/2008 financial crisis boasts perhaps the most impressive line-up of expert interviews of any financial documentary.
8. Margin Call
Based at a fictional company during the very real 2007/2008 financial crisis, the 2011 film offers a behind-the-scenes look at how a major investment bank dealt with the reality of a looming financial crisis before anyone else saw it coming.
9. Too Big to Fail
The made-for-TV film chronicles the inside dealings of some of the biggest names on Wall Street and Main Street during the financial crisis, including Richard “Dick” Fuld, aka ‘the most hated man in America’.
10. Capitalism: A Love Story
Michael Moore is one of the most left-leaning directors in Hollywood – but that doesn’t mean his work should be ignored by those who disagree with him ideologically. It is always important to keep an open mind and question your own beliefs, and this 2009 documentary will help you accomplish exactly that.
11. Trading Places
Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy’s more than 30-year-old comedy tells the story of a wealthy commodities broker and a homeless man. While good for a few laughs, there are certainly many life lessons and morals to be learned from this movie.
The concept of a physical trading floor becomes less and less important by the day. This 2009 documentary follows traders and businessmen whose livelihoods are affected by the constant swings in the Chicago trading pits.
13. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
The 2010 follow-up to Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” failed to live up to the original. However, the same lessons of morality, greed and money can be learned.
14. Glengarry Glen Ross
One of the more quoted business themed movies, the film focuses on the enormous pressure many people face in their jobs and how far they will go to bring home that large commission bonus.
15. Billion Dollar Day
This old-school documentary is three decades old and shows that although the technology used by forex traders has changed, their thinking hasn’t changed at all.
16. Betting On Zero
The much anticipated 2017 documentary follows billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s large short bet against Herbalife. Ackman believes that Herbalife is operating as a pyramid scheme and is selling a dream of riches to the most vulnerable minorities looking to live the American dream.
Let us know in the comments section below if you’d recommend any other movies or shows to fellow investors/traders.
About the author
Ruzbeh Bacha is the founder and CEO of CityFALCON, and runs value investing meet-ups in 10 cities. He has been investing and trading in the markets for the last 15 years, is a qualified accountant and has an MBA from University of Oxford.