Wall Street, the famous section of New York City, the home of the New York Stock Exchange, also holds a key subject to many Hollywood movies. Sometimes some movies can inspire us to chase our dreams. So, if you are a movie lover or if you are interested in Investment Banking, Stock Exchanges, Brokerages, Underwriting firms, or you are passionate about finance or wish to be inspired, here is a list of films to look out for.
1. Wall Street (1987)
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Wall Street directed and written by Stanley Weiser and Oliver Stone starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Daryl Hannah is a 1987 drama. It is a compelling movie about corporate America. The movie tells us about the story of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), a younger stockbroker who becomes involved with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a wealthy corrupt corporate leader. Sheen is ready to do anything to get to the top
The film was well received amongst the major film critics. Douglas won the Oscar Award for the Best Actor for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko and the film was taken as the ideal portrayal of 1980s success, with Douglas’ character declaring that “greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” This film also proved influential in inspiring people to work on Wall Street, and Douglas, Sheen and Stone still say over the years how people approach them and say that they became stockbrokers because of their respective characters in the film.
2. Rouge Trader (1999)
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Rogue Trader is a British biographical drama movie written and directed by James Dearden which was released in the year 1999. The movie stars Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel. The film was based on Leeson’s 1996 book “Rogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World ” and it revolves around the life of former derivatives broker Nick Leeson and the 1995 collapse of Bank. It tells us the story of Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), an ambitious investment broker who single handedly bankrupted one of the oldest and most important banks in Britain. The movie additionally shows us how the desire to earn more money can blind us.
3. Trading Places (1983)
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Trading Places is a film directed by John Landis. The movie is a 1983 American comedy movie starring Dan Aykroyd, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy, Eddie Murphy, Don Ameche, and Jamie Lee Curtis. It tells us the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street con artist whose lives cross paths when they unknowingly become a part of an intricate bet. The storyline is seen as a modern intake on Mark Twain’s classic 19th-century novel “The Prince and the Pauper”. Jamie Lee Curtis and Denholm Elliott and won the awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and the Best Actor in a Supporting Role respectively, at the 37th British Academy Film Awards.
4. The Associate (1996)
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The Associate is a 1996 American movie directed by Donald Petrie and written by Nick Thiel. It stars Whoopi Goldberg, Eli Wallach, Tim Daly, Dianne Wiest and Bebe Neuwirth, alongside Lainie Kazan and Austin Pendleton. The movie unfolds around Laurel (Whoopi Goldberg) , a very bright businesswoman who gets discriminated against only because she is not a man. So, she creates a fictitious man as her invisible partner and gives in all her ideas and thus becomes successful. The undaunted male-dominated hierarchy of the business world is pinpointed here in the movie.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
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The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy crime film, based totally on the 2007 ‘Memoir of the Same’ name by Jordan Belfort and directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Terence Winter. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who was also a producer of the film, Jonah Hill, Naomi Lapaglia and Kyle Chandler. It tells us the true story of Jordan Belfort from his rise as a wealthy stockbroker in New York city to his ultimate fall because of corruption and crime. The film was controversial for its lucid sexual content, morally obscure depiction of events, extreme blasphemy and depiction of hard drug use, and its use of animals during production. The film even set a Guinness World Record for the most instances of swearing in a movie.
6. Boiler Room (2000)
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Boiler Room an American crime movie written and directed by Ben Younger which was released in 2000. The movie stars Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck, Nicky Katt, Nia Long, Scott Caan, Ron Rifkin, Tom Everett Scott and Jamie Kennedy. The film was conceived when screenwriter Ben Younger was interviewed for a job at a brokerage firm named Sterling Foster. Younger later says “I walked in and immediately realized that ‘This is my movie’. The film’s story tells us about a College dropout who in order to live up to his father’s high standards, gets a job as a broker for a rural investment firm which puts him on the fast track to success, but the job is not too genuine as it appeared to be at first.
7. Margin Call (2001)
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Margin Call is a film which was written and directed by J. C. Chandor which was also his feature directorial debut. The film is a American drama thriller shot in 2011. The principal story takes place over a 24-hour period during the initial stages of the financial crisis of 2007–08 that happens at a large Wall Street investment bank. The movie focuses on the actions taken by a group of employees of the bank during the subsequent financial collapse. The cast features Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley and Stanley Tucci. Margin Call explores investment fraud, greed and capitalism. The director and screenwriter, J. C. Chandor, himself being the son of an investment banker; the screenplay was partially inspired by Chandor’s own descent into real estate investments in New York City soon before the financial crash.
8. The Big Short (2015)
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The Big Short, a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama movie based on the 2010 book by Michael Lewis “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. The movie showcases how the financial crisis of 2007–2008” was triggered by the United States housing bubble. The film was written by Adam McKay and Charles Randolph and directed by Adam McKay. The film stars Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and with Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, and Marisa Tomei in supporting roles.
“The Big Short” is about how several traders and hedge fund managers who made fortunes because they saw that the housing market’s decline would cause a collapse of bonds created from subprime mortgages. The film is famous for the unorthodox techniques it employs to explain financial instruments. The Big Short also features cameo appearances by chef Anthony Bourdain, economist Richard Thaler, actress Margot Robbie and singer-songwriter Selena Gomez. Another unique feature of the film was that several of the film’s characters directly addresses the audience among which is Ryan Gosling who serves as the narrator throughout the film. The film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
9. To Big to Fail (2011)
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The film “Too Big to Fail” was adapted from the 2009 non-fictional book “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System and Themselves written by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Too Big To Fail is an American biographical drama film which was first broadcasted on May 23, 2011 on HBO. Curtis Hanson was the director of the film. The cast of the movie included William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, Ed Asner, Cynthia Nixon, Topher Grace, James Woods, Tony Shalhoub, and co-star Rovi, Jason Buchanan.
As the U.S. economy hits the skids, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (William Hurt) finds himself caught up in a critical battle of wills between the powers of the Washington, D.C. and key players on Wall Street. With just weeks to go before the country plunges into the most devastating financial crash since the Great Depression, the power brokers on both sides scramble to pull the failing economy back from the brink of disaster.
10. Hummingbird Project (2019)
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In 2018 director Kim Nguyen made a Canadian Belgian drama thriller about the ultra-low recess direct market access and high-frequency trading named “The Hummingbird Project”. It was written and directed by Kim Nguyen produced by Pierre Even at Item 7. It starred Alexander Skarsgard, Jesse, Salma Hayek, Eisenberg and Michael Mando. It was world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2018. Kim Nguyen tries to expose the vindictive edge of our increasing digital world of technology in this modern Epic film. The story involves two cousins from New York, Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) and Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) who are the high-players in the game of High-Frequency Trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream is to build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey thus making them millionaires. But nothing goes straightforward for this flawed pair. The movie was not well accepted by the audience and so was not a big hit.
If you are planning to have a career in finance, then these movies are a must watch for you. These movies can provide a lot of insight into the wild and sometimes absurd world of finance, even if you aren’t thinking of a career in the field.