Top 20 Best Financial & Stock Market Movies Review

 

The Top 20 Financial & Stock Market Documentaries & Movies of All Time

If you sit in front of a computer all day, and read books in bed, what do you do in your down time during the evening?  Why not watch a financial thriller, stock market movie or a true story.

In this review there are essentially two sections.  The first section focuses on documentaries and true stories, they are the most educational, but also not boring, they have been selected as they are a must see and broadly insightful

The second section covers the Hollywood films that focus on finance and Wall Street, this is something your partner who is not into stocks might be interested in.  Happy watching.

Documentaries & True Stories

 

# Title Category Review Link
1 Inside Job (2011) Documentary Academy award winning documentary and for me the best movie on the Financial crisis made. With high profile interviewees and a fast paced gripping narration by Matt Damon, this film really explains what happened leading up to the financial cCrisis.  I have watch this movie 3 time and plan to do so again, this is not some boring documentary, this is a good movie in it’s own right. This is a definite must see.
2 The Corporation (2003) Documentary An excellent movie showing the rise of the Corporation as a person.  The rise of the corporation accelerated after laws were passed granting the corporation a legal status equivalent to a person. That means the corporation has rights, can buy property, has legal ownnership.  So if the corporation is like a person, what is the psychological status of that person, is that person good for society.  The results of the evaluation are not good, corporations only care about profit and little about the consequences of their products or their impact on society and the environment. This is a great investment of your time.
3 Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) Documentary Greed arrogance, corruption, this movie has it all, or rather the board of Enron did. See how the biggest scam of the 21st century developed and exploded.   If you pay an army of high priced lawyers to stand in the way of investigators and regulatory authorities you can get away with a lot of financial crime.  The insides of this scandal are exposed in this quality movie.
4 Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) Documentary Michael Moore is back and turning his critical gaze on Capitalism itself. Entertaining, thought provoking and ultimately a great watch this movie is highly recommended.
5 Barbarians at the Gate (1993) True Story Focusing on the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco this classic shows what it is like of the inside of these mega merger and acquisition deals that Wall Street firms thrive on.
6 The Ascent of Money (2008) Documentary Niall Ferguson traces the history of money and how it has grown from a tool to be able to trade goods and services easier to a dominating factor in society. How has money transformed the world we live in?  You want to drink a coffee when watching this as the is a lot of information and some of it may be hard going, but ultimately this is a rewarding watch.
7 Chasing Madoff (2010) True Story Based on the great book “No one would Listen” by Harry Markopolis. This is a thrilling acocunt of the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff and how difficult it was for Markopolis himself to get the SEC to take action.  I was on the edge of my seat during the book and exasperated for Markopolis.  You have to see this only to understand the depth of the problem of trying to oversee the companies that take advantage of the lazy money.
8 Wolf of Wall Street (2013) True Story Based on the book with the same name, this film is entertaining and well directed. The book is even better and more insight-fully catalogs the mental, drug and alcohol related challenges of Jordan Belfort in his rise from the street to being a Wall Street hot shot with personal jets, mansions and an empty life.  Top Film.
9 Rogue Trader (1999) True Story Based on the infamous Nick Leeson Book Rogue Trader, showing how Leeson bought down Barings bank by taking huge risks in his role as a star trader for the firm. This film shows you how little governance and risk management there was at the top banks.  Is it better today, a little maybe.  Compelling and fascinating.
10 Too Big to Fail (2011) Documentary A rather depressing realization that the U.S. Financial system is on the edge, this film based on the book with the same name, is critical of Wall Street and the governments that are “supposed” to regulate it.  Strangely since the financial crisis there has been no major changes to reduce the number of too big to fail institutions.  This film allows you to see inside.
11 Freakonomics (2010) Documentary A fascinating collections of filmed documentaries exploring human nature and that how we explain the world around us is rarely linked to the true cause.  These are excellent books and a watchable movie.  It can be dry at times but it does show how taking a different lens to economics and the thought process can show different insights.
12 The Trillion Dollar Bet (2000) Documentary For hardcore students of the financial world this documentary looks at the birth of Options and how the mathematics of options pricing was created.  Options are a relatively new investment vehicle created for risk management.  Learn more about how they came about and the “smart guys” that created them.
13 Floored (2009) Documentary Chicago Options exchange trader alpha males tell it like it is, or at least how it was. The march of technology has made floor trading largely extinct, with most trades happening electronically now.  But floor trading still exists an a lot of money still passed over the counter and on the floor.
14 Wall Street Warriors (2006) Documentary Insights galore here into the different roles on Wall Street and although they earn a lot of money the metal stress and anguish of the jobs can crush a man.  A nice insight into the mentality of the people to whom you entrust your money, your portfolio and ultimately your financial future.  I hope you can sleep after this.

 

Thrillers, Comedies, Fiction

# Title Category Review Link
1 Margin Call (2011) Fiction What happens when over leveraged financial investment firms get a margin call. This film gives us insghts into how fragile our financial system is and how close we can come to shockwaves of fear in the market.
2 Boiler Room (2000) Fiction Focused on the lowest of the low, Pump and Dump scheme operators, this film is excellent and gives an insight to the operations that are still around today. This is a must watch.
3 Wall Street (1987) Fiction Epitomizing the roaring 80’s stock market of corporate raiders this classic must see movie creates an icon that every trader knows “Gordon Gekko”
4 Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) Fiction Quoted by many in the business as a classic in direct sales and the pressure of being on the phone and selling, Pacino, Lemmon, Baldwin and Spacey, whats not to love about this movie.
5 Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps (2011) Fiction Gekko is out of prison and looks to be on the right path with his new book, but all is not as it seems.
6 Arbitrage (2012) Fiction An I am not a big fan of Richard Gere, but this movie does focus on a Hedge Fund Manager trying to cover up his personal misdeeds. The focus is not on hedge fund management but on a scum bag rich guy trying to get out of a crime he committed Hollywood style.


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