Our Top 10 Favourite Finance Films
1. It's a wonderful life:
Tops our list, because it is the ultimate family holiday film and has been for 60 years. Hats off to a classic. On a separate note, prominent economist Laurence Kotlikoff in his 2010 book Jimmy Stewart Is Dead, argued for the implementation of limited-purpose banking, : Both the good-guy and the bad-guy bankers are working in a regulatory system designed in the 1930s for Bailey Savings & Loan, not for todays world of global finance, exotic financial securities, computerized electronic trading, and enormous trade volume that George Bailey could not begin to fathom.
2. Trading Places - 1983:
Having watched this film over a dozen times in the last 10 years, one question remains: how can it not have aged a day since it release? Is it Jamie Lee Curtis? sassy call girl, Aykroyd s impeccable side parting in his tennis whites, or the villainous Duke brothers? Urban legend has it that the film was inspired by real-life social experiment of trading partners William Eckhardt and Richard Dennis. The two Chicago traders set out to settle a dispute over whether successful trading could be taught. The film was a commercial and critical success? so much so that in his 2010 testimony before Congress, CFTC chairman Gary Gensler proposed the Eddie Murphy rule, banning trading on non-public information from government sources.
3. Wall Street:
If you want a friend, get a dog', and 'Greed is good' ? iconic phrases from this 1987 film where Michael Douglas steals the show. Lookout for briefcase-sized mobile phones and black & white computer screens for the retro touch.
4. The pursuit of happiness:
Another entry based on a real-life story: underdog Chris Gardner, rose from being homeless to become a stock market tycoon is played by an inspired Will Smith. Likeability (an unusual trait in finance film characters) and hustle help him reach the top, in this heart-warming family tale. Special mention to Will's 80s look.
5. Boiler Room 2000:
Corporate corruption on a Dot-com bubble scenery, this drama may have been a precursor of problems to come. In it, a young and ambitious college dropout goes to work in the boiler room of a stock brokerage, only to find himself entangled in the firm's culture of corruption. Boiler Room is a thrilling, profanity-laden look at the consequences of greed and hubris in the financial world.
6. Working Girl - 1986:
Nominated for Best Picture at the 61st Academy Awards, this classic comedy stars Melanie Griffiths soaring through the ranks of an investment bank ? mullet and all. Sigourney Weaver, chilling as the boss from hell, and a fantastic screenplay make it an outstanding holiday family film for finance buffs.
7. Margin Call 2011:
36 hours to save a bank on the brink of collapse. A subtle exploration of the ethical and moral dilemmas confronting each character, from the flash traders to the charismatic but Machiavellian CEO. With such an impeccable cast (Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Paul Bettany), it is impossible not to be totally engrossed despite a title which could lead you to think otherwise.
8. Limitless - 2011:
Not a film about finance as such but on this list nevertheless thanks to its focus on greed and speed. On a search for a cure to writer s block, a down-and-out Bradley Cooper comes across a drug which allows him to tap into previously neglected areas of his brain, the process inevitably involving a sting on a trading floor, making zillions and punching the air. A fun and energetic fable hinged on Bradley Coopers' charm and comic timing.
9. 21 (2008):
Again, not technically a finance film, but if we go by the clicw, gamblers and high-rollers cant be too far off.. Kevin Spacey co-wrote and starred in this dark tale of brains taking on Vegas dealers.
10. Inside Job (2010):
A documentary about the financial crash of 2008. Tempted? You should be. Gripping as any thriller, with the extra bonus of Jason Bourne as narrator, fascinating interviews and insightful commentary have viewers hooked throughout. Bankers come across shifty and far from remorseful ? not exactly an ode to deregulated capitalism.
Prefer reading? Check out our Top 10 Books on Investment Banking.
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