Are you an entrepreneur stepping into the world of business? Here are twenty-two movies that every new start-up guy or girl should watch. These are movies that tell the story of people who have pursued their dreams and wonderfully succeeded in building up their own life. They can give you some pointers on business while inspiring you to choose your own life goals and fulfill them.
Every film has a different theme but each one of them has one thing in common and that is a valuable lesson for a young and brilliant mind that is trying to make it big as an entrepreneur. I know 22 is a long list but trust me it’s worth it. The list has been curated especially keeping in mind that it must either push people forward with ideas and ambition or it should pause them in order to reflect and question the realities of their world.
Some of the films are also documentaries so that we don’t lose the significance of where the limitations of a human mind and dreams are and how these dreams somehow jeopardize the people close to us and everything that matters to us. Most importantly a big number of these stories are biographical in nature.
22 Entrepreneur Movies You Must Watch in 2024
1. Wall Street (1987)
IMDb : 7.4
Wall Street tells the story of the young stockbroker Bud Fox as he associates himself with the wealthy and shrewd Gordon Gekko. Together, they amass wealth through illegal trades but when Gekko crosses a line, Bud has to do all he could to save hundreds of men from being left unemployed. The film stars Michael Douglas as Gekko and Charlie Sheen as Bud leading the plot.
2. The Social Network (2010)
The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, is a biographical drama based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, and CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg’s life serves as an inspiration to the millions of young entrepreneurs who are setting out with their businesses. The movie tells the beginnings of Facebook, which happened while Zuckerberg was still a student at Harvard University and the allegations of intellectual theft for which Zuckerberg was tried in court by his upperclassmen from Harvard.
3. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
This James Foley film is an adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play of the same name written by David Mamet. The film tells the story of the competition and treacheries in the life of four sakes men who are made to compete against each other at the risk of their jobs. They fool their customers and sell market shares just so they could save their sinking personal lives. The story shall inspire anyone and tell you how hard work pays off.
4. Office space (1999)
Ron Livingston in Office Space plays PeterGibbons a software corporate employee who hates his job. After undergoing hypnotherapy, in the middle of which his therapist dies, Peter refuses to be bullied or to do overtime and plays computer games during office hours. By some lucky chance, he gets promoted by the consultants. Eventually, when downsizing threatens his friends, he plans to take revenge on the firm along with two of his friends. The film was written and directed by Mike Judge. It aspires the viewers to go after their dreams and leave boredom behind.
5. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)
The Pursuit of Happiness is the year-long struggle that entrepreneur Chris Gardner goes through. Gardner and his son are beautifully portrayed by Will Smith and his real-life son Jaden Smith. Chris Gardner goes through a very bad year, with his wife leaving him and his little boy for a better life. As life turns upside down for him, Gardner has to do everything he can to make things right. The film is a biographical drama based on the life of Chris Gardner and was directed by Gabriele Muccino.
6. Pirates of Silicon Valley
This is a biographical television film starring Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Anthony Micheal Hall as Bill Gates. It is based on the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer. It explores the rivalry between Gates and Jobs and how this rivalry affected the development of personal computers. It spans over the years 1971–1997 and is directed by Martyn Burke.
This is a lesson on what not to do as an entrepreneur carefully capsuled in a documentary. It’s based on a true story of the Fyre music festival that was billed as a luxury festival on a posh island but in the hands of amateur organizers, it failed spectacularly. It is directed by Chris Smith.
8. The Big Short
A few financers foresee the US housing market collapse in early 2000, through their research they outline the flaws and corruption in the existing system. The film is based on a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis and the referred financial collapse is the same one that lead the world into a global recession in 2008. Directed by Adam McKay this morose and seemingly boring subject matter is portrayed dramatically and with a lot of humor so the viewers are never bored. It stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and even Christian Bale.
9. The Wolf of Wall Street
Not a lot of entrepreneurs out there, who might have not heard of this film, over the years this film has developed a cult status and for all the right reasons. The Wolf of Wall Street is a fast-paced film about a stockbroker whose life comes to a standstill when Wall Street crashes unexpectedly. The film stars Leonardo Decaprio and Margot Robbie. It is directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese.
10. Boiler Room
This American crime drama was written and directed by Ben Younger. The movie revolves around a college dropout who joins an investment firm as a broker, which puts him on a fast track for success leading his judgment to be clouded, eventually drawing him into the world of corruption and greed. The film stars Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel.
Another documentary that is an absolute must-watch for anyone who is dreaming big, it’s a powerful analysis of how the revolution of the internet has made us want big things without preparing us for the harsh realities of the economic-social structure of the world. It’s directed by Jehane Noujaim and Chris Hegedus. In this documentary, you see crises through the people who were the most affected by it, the storytelling is done very sentimentally without being sappy.
12. The Aviator
Another Scorsese-Leonardo classic, this one is a biopic of the legendary director Howard Hughes who develops a mental illness that is hellbent to ruin his career. This film is about perseverance, something every entrepreneur should know about. The film spanned over the late 1920s to mid-1940s. The cast also includes the brilliant Cate Blanchet.
This film is about using computer-based methods in competitive sports, exciting right? It has also done pretty well all thanks to the director Bennett Miller and the indispensable star cast of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The other big names associated with are Aaron Sorkin who has co-written the screenplay with Steven Zaillian. It is adapted from a book of the same name written by Micheal Lewis.
14. Becoming Warren Buffett
This movie is about a young number obsessed boy in Nebraska and his journey of becoming the richest man in the world. We all know what Buffet has done but how did he get there? This documentary explores just that. This is a must-watch for anyone who is trying to chew more than they can bite. It dwells into the borderline obsessive-compulsive need for numbers with Buffet and how he knew how to use his obsession to his advantage.
15. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
Imagine a young entrepreneur who revolutionizes blood testing technology becomes the youngest billionaire right next to Steve Jobs and then in just two years, her multi-billionaire company is dissolved. This is a true story of Elizabeth Holmes who according to the director Alex Gibney set out to change the world and ended up committing the biggest medical fraud in American history. Don’t take our word for it, watch it the and you will know why they say that truth is way more dramatic than fiction,
The story of Joy is loosely based on an American inventor and entrepreneur known for inventions such as the self-wringing Miracle Mop. The film shows us the journey of a divorced mother of two inventing household items that mother likes. She creates her empire, this story is about necessity being the queen of all inventions. The cast includes Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper with Jenifer Lawrance as Joy. It’s directed by David O Russel.
17. Thank You for Smoking
The film encapsulates the devil’s advocate dilemma at its best. Nick Naylor who is a lobbyist for a big tobacco company is also trying to set a good example for his 12-year-old son. The problem is that he is too good at his job. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his son or that he doesn’t want what every parent wants for their kids. The film is a moral dilemma journey of a father who loves his job and his child rather equally. It’s directed by Jason Reitman and the genre is a dark satirical comedy. This movie too is based on the book by the same name.
18. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
This documentary is about the shocking fall of the Enron Corporation. It shows us what greed and greedy men who are in power for too long are capable of doing to keep their place on the table. This company was linked to several illegal schemes in its time, it was well known for taking undue advantage of California’s energy crisis. The film has real-time audio and videotapes of Enron traders doing illegal activities that caused the very scandal. It was directed by the very talented Alex Gibney.
19. Steve Jobs
This is a dramatic biographical journey of none other than Steve Jobs. It’s directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. It covers 14 years (1984–1998) of Apple Inc. It has Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs and Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman. It also has an important commentary on the subject of work vs family. The dilemma of which comes alive through Job’s relationship with his daughter Liza, It also lets us in on the man himself and how for jobs his family was a muse, even though he had no time for them. It is as moving as it’s inspiring.
20. The Laundromat
It starts from a sweet old lady’s innocent vacation in which she ends up losing her husband. The sweet old lady who is now grieving starts to investigate her husband’s insurance fraud which leads her to the Panama papers scandal. The film is brought to us by genius Steven Soderbergh. It’s a satirical dramatization of one of the biggest financial leaks in history. The cast has heavyweight names like Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas. The main focus of the film is not the old lady or Panama papers but the journey of how we get there. Every business mind should explore this film.
21. The Great Hack
In the wake of the 2016 Presidential elections a data company named Cambridge Analytica came into the spotlight as the darkest reality that social media has to offer. This was initially uncovered by journalist Carole Cadwalladr. The lucrative but evil relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica quite literally manipulated democracy. The film takes us on a journey on how Facebook used the personal data of millions of its users without their knowledge and sold it to companies. It’s a chilling documentary about how stuck we are with social media even though it’s capable of terrible things.
22. The Founder
This film is about the potential a man in South California sees in a burger joint and decides to turn it into the biggest restaurant chain in the world. Ray the protagonist is a visionary and the story revolves around his grit and passion. It stars Michael Keaton who brilliantly portrays the journey of a man turned legend. It is directed by John Lee Hancock Other than being a brilliant film it is also a valuable lesson on copyright and Royalty. It also teaches us that all ideas are valuable as long as we have the vision to make something out of them.
Some other suggestions-
- Erin Brockovich
- Banking on bitcoin
- Jerry Maguire
- Rogue Trader
- The Rainmaker
- Margin Call
These movies are not just entertaining Ways to pass time films reflect what a true business should and should not do. You also learn about the limitations of greed and how dangerous it can be. Every young Businessman should remember what money and the loss for money are capable of. It could be harmful to not just the individual but also to the people around them. These firms are small Journeys but you must learn from them. If there’s anything common in all successful men it’s that they knew how to use their obsession to their advantage and how the smartest man in the room was not enough. Some of the documentaries are also shedding light on the ongoing conversation of accountability. The extra edge individual needs are to be found in the lessons scattered in all these movies.
Another important life goal is to not just focus on world models but also focus on the anti-model people that you don’t want to resemble as an entrepreneur. The value of hard work and how family life can be a challenge once you hustle for your goal is all encapsulated in these films. If we pay attention to the details we can learn more about how the human psyche works and thrives under pressure. Like Carl Jung once said, “Where you fear is, there is your next ”. There is an important critique to be found in some of the films, one has to be careful as to which lessons are to be learned and which have to be understood but never used in action, knowledge is all. There must be a reason why so many of the stories are autobiographical that should not be a reason to be morse and demotivated by how unaccomplished you are but one should watch and learn that all these big names were also equally against the odds, it’s how they set their goals, it’s how they thrived matters. I hope you enjoy watching these films as much as we had while curating them for you.