Movies about money have long captured our collective imagination. From tales of financial triumph and the pursuit of wealth, to cautionary stories about the destructive power of greed, these films provide a window into the often complex world of finance. Whether you’re an avid moviegoer or a seasoned investor, there’s a wealth of knowledge and entertainment to be gleaned from these cinematic gems.
The Grandeur of ‘Generation: Freedom’
This 2019 documentary, directed by Christopher Sakr and Michael Hall, tops our list of the best movies about money. ‘Generation: Freedom’ embarks on a cross-country journey to meet ordinary individuals who have broken free from the typical 9-to-5 work schedule that is causing burnout and depression for many. This documentary is a testament to the power of financial freedom and the possibilities it opens up for each of us.
The Provocative ‘Parasite’
The 2019 Korean film ‘Parasite’ took the world by storm with its pointed social commentary on class discrimination and greed. The plot unfolds around the rich Park family and the impoverished Kim family, whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways. The film’s exploration of financial disparity and social inequality earned it the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year at the 2020 Academy Awards.
The Classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a 1946 classic that has stood the test of time. The movie tells the story of George Bailey, a businessman on the brink of despair, who is shown what life would have been like without him by his guardian angel. The film explores the value of human existence beyond monetary worth, making it a timeless piece among movies about money.
The Money Pit
“The Money Pit” is a 1986 comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin. The movie revolves around a couple, Walter (Tom Hanks) and Anna (Shelley Long), who purchase their dream home, only to discover that it’s a dilapidated money pit in desperate need of repair.
Walter and Anna decide to buy a beautiful but neglected mansion at a bargain price, thinking they can fix it up and create their dream home. However, as they begin renovating, they encounter a seemingly endless series of comically disastrous and expensive problems. The house seems determined to collapse, and their efforts to restore it result in one hilarious mishap after another, including plumbing disasters, collapsing floors, and a raccoon infestation.
As the renovations spiral out of control and the costs skyrocket, Walter and Anna’s relationship is put to the test. They struggle to maintain their sanity and their marriage while dealing with the chaos of their never-ending home improvement project.
“The Money Pit” is a slapstick comedy that explores the frustrations and challenges of home ownership and renovation. Tom Hanks and Shelley Long deliver memorable performances, and the film is known for its physical humor and absurd situations. Despite the chaos, the couple’s determination and love for each other ultimately prevail, resulting in a happy ending and a newfound appreciation for the value of a stable home.
The Scandalous ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
A true story of money and corruption, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ recounts the life of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a wealthy stockbroker who falls into a world of crime and becomes a target for the federal government. This Martin Scorsese-directed film takes a hard look at the consequences of uncontrolled greed and ambition.
The Revealing ‘Inside Job’
Matt Damon narrates this 2010 documentary about the 2008 financial meltdown. ‘Inside Job’ features interviews with some of the world’s top economists, providing a detailed examination of the financial crisis and its aftermath. The film was awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Academy Awards.
The Enlightening ‘The Ascent of Money’
‘The Ascent of Money’ is a 2008 documentary by bestselling author and economist Niall Ferguson. The film provides an insightful historical overview of money and its rise to prominence in society. The documentary earned recognition as the best documentary at the 2009 International Emmy Awards.
The Inspiring ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
This film narrates the uplifting story of Jamal, a Mumbai teen who rises from the slums to make a life-changing appearance on the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ showcases the transformative power of ambition and determination, making it a must-watch among movies about money.
The Moving ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’
‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is a heartrending biographical drama based on the life of Chris Gardner. The film follows Gardner’s journey from homelessness to a promising career as a stockbroker, showcasing the power of resilience in the face of financial adversity.
The Insightful ‘The Big Short’
Based on Michael Lewis’s bestselling book, ‘The Big Short’ tells the true story of a group of investors who bet against the U.S. mortgage market before the 2008 financial crisis. The film offers a unique perspective on the world of finance and the individuals who dared to challenge it.
“Jerry Maguire” is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Cameron Crowe. The movie tells the story of Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), a successful sports agent who has a moral crisis and decides to change his ways, leading to personal and professional challenges.
Jerry Maguire is a high-powered sports agent who represents some of the biggest names in the sports industry. However, after a late-night epiphany about the dehumanizing nature of the sports business, he writes a mission statement calling for more personal and ethical representation of his clients. This act of conscience gets him fired from his prestigious job at a major agency.
Jerry starts his own sports agency with the help of Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger), a single mother who shares his vision and leaves her job to join him. Together, they face the challenges of building a new agency from scratch, including the uphill battle of convincing star athlete Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) to stay with Jerry as his agent.
As Jerry and Dorothy navigate the competitive world of sports management, they also develop a romantic relationship. The film explores their struggles, the demands of the sports industry, and the importance of genuine relationships in a cutthroat business.
“Jerry Maguire” is known for its memorable catchphrase “Show me the money!” and its exploration of themes such as loyalty, ethics, and the pursuit of personal happiness. It received critical acclaim and earned several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won Cuba Gooding Jr. the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rod Tidwell. The film is a blend of romance, comedy, and drama that explores both the professional and personal growth of its characters.
The Unsettling ‘American Psycho’
‘American Psycho’ is a 2000 drama that delves into the dark underbelly of the financial world. The film follows a wealthy investment banking executive who leads a double life as a psychopath, demonstrating the destructive potential of unchecked ambition and greed.
The Usual Suspects
“The Usual Suspects” is a 1995 neo-noir crime thriller directed by Bryan Singer. The film’s intricate plot revolves around a complex heist, the mysterious criminal mastermind Keyser Söze, and a group of criminals with shadowy pasts.
The story is told through the perspective of Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small-time con artist and one of two survivors of a devastating fire and massacre on a ship docked in San Pedro Harbor. Verbal is questioned by U.S. Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) about the events leading up to the tragedy.
Verbal narrates the story, revealing that he and a group of criminals, including Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), and Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), were coerced into a heist by a mysterious figure known as Keyser Söze. The criminals are tasked with robbing a corrupt police officer and drug lord. However, as the plan unfolds, they realize they’ve been manipulated by Söze into stealing from him.
As Agent Kujan pieces together the events, Verbal’s narrative begins to unravel, leading to a shocking twist that redefines the entire story. The movie keeps the audience guessing until the very end, with revelations about Keyser Söze’s true identity and motivations.
“The Usual Suspects” is known for its clever and intricate storytelling, memorable performances, and the Academy Award-winning role of Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint. The film’s non-linear narrative and unreliable narrator create an engaging and suspenseful experience, making it a classic in the crime thriller genre.
Whether you’re a finance enthusiast or a casual movie watcher, these movies about money offer an interesting exploration of the world of finance, its allure, and its potential dangers. They serve as a reminder that while money plays a significant role in our lives, it’s not the only thing that matters.