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.
Stock Market Documentaries & True Story Movies
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 crisis. High profile interviews and great cinematography wrapped up in a gripping true story.
I have watched this movie 3 times 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 and is easily the best movie on the list.
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 ownership.
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 movie is a great investment of your time and a good addition to your education.
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 deepest insides of this scandal are exposed and laid bare for all to see in this high quality movie.
4 – Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) – Documentary
The thing I like about Michael Moore, is he fights for a cause and never shirks away from challenging the status quo.
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.
The historical aspects to the movie and the implications of what he depicts is powerful.
An Example Quote: Rep. Dennis Kucinich: “Is this the United States Congress, or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?”
You really should not miss this one.
5 – Barbarians at the Gate (1993) – True Story
A bitter battle ensues to take over this conglomerate. Ross Johnson the CEO wants to make a killing by purchasing the undervalued company from shareholders, however the Wall Street investment professionals he hires start to become his competition in the buy out.
It is a “Greed is Good” grab for riches at its worst.
This classic shows what it is like on the inside of these mega merger and acquisition deals that Wall Street firms thrive on.
6 – The Ascent of Money (2008) – Documentary
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 and gives us a deepened perspective on how and why our modern society’s are structured and behave as they do.
7 – Chasing Madoff (2010) True Story
Based on the great book “No one would Listen” by Harry Markopolis. This is a thrilling account of the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff and how difficult it was for Markopolis himself to get the Securities & Exchange Commission 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.
Respect to Markopolis, a great book and outstanding movie.
8 – The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – True Story
Won: 38 Awards + 5 Oscar Nominations
Based on the book with the same name, this film is entertaining and well directed – a real Hollywood blockbuster. It focuses on the excesses of the character charismatic ally played by Dicaprio, but that somewhat misses the point.
The book (and audio book) is even better and provides more insight into the catalog of mental issues, 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 & Great Book
9 – Rogue Trader (1999) – True Story
This film shows you how little governance and risk management there was (and still is) at the top banks or in fact most banks.
A compelling and fascinating insight into the mind of a trader and why we need strong oversight and controls as the psychology of any individual can be ruinous.
10 – Too Big to Fail (2011) – Documentary
Won: 5 Awards + 3 Golden Globe Nominations
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, try not to be shocked.
11 – Freakonomics (2010) – Documentary
Won: 1 Nomination Warsaw International Film Festival
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
Options are a relatively new investment vehicle created for risk management but often abused by beginners and the experienced alike looking for some quick bucks.
Learn more about how they came about and the “smart guys” that created them.
13 – Floored (2009) – Documentary
The march of technology has made floor trading largely extinct, with most trades happening electronically now.
But floor trading still exists and a lot of money still passed over the counter and on the floor.
14 – Wall Street Warriors (2006) – Documentary
A nice insight into the mentality of the people to whom you entrust your money, your portfolio and ultimately your financial future.
If there was ever a lesson to trust only yourself, then this is it, I hope you can sleep after this.
Stock Market Thrillers, Comedies, Fiction Movies
1 – Margin Call (2011) – Fiction
Won: 8 Awards + 1 Oscar Nomination
What happens when over leveraged financial investment firms get a margin call. This film gives us insights into how fragile our financial system is and how close we can come to utter devastation during the shock waves of fear in the market.
Filmed in a 24 hour time window of chaos during the 2008 financial crisis this is a real roller coaster ride you do not want to miss.
2 – Boiler Room (2000) – Fiction
This is a must watch for those who want to experience how intoxicating the promise of huge wealth is and how it can corrupt anyone and devastate to investors who get caught up in it.
I have watched this movie many times and still love it.
3 – Wall Street (1987) – Fiction
Oliver Stone’s Academy Award Winning blockbuster epitomizing the roaring 80’s stock market of corporate raiders this classic must see movie creates an icon that every trader knows “Gordon Gekko”.
“greed is Good” is the mantra and this cunning, ambitious and morally vacant stock broker will do anything to rise to the top and cash in the wealth.
4 – Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) – Fiction
Won: 5 Awards + 1 Oscar Nomination
Quoted by many in the business as a classic in direct sales and the pressure of being on the phone and selling. Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey make up this all star cast.
Whats not to love about this movie, apart from the fact it is dour, depressing and down to earth.
A timeless cult classic.
5 – Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps (2011) – Fiction
A Gekko cannot change it’s stripes and he is planning an almighty return to the top to fuel his ego and self superiority.
Can he sacrifice his relationship with his family to get what he wants?
6 – Arbitrage (2012) – Fiction
The focus is not on hedge fund management but on a scum bag rich guy trying to get out of a crime he committed in typical Hollywood style.
We hope you enjoyed the review, please leave you comments or favorite film feedback below.
Rather than buy all these movies try out Amazon Prime, they are probably already included.