Entrepreneurs are quite popular these days. The advancement in technology has created several platforms for this budding tycoons to come and set up shop. But even in this golden age for entrepreneurship, people find it difficult to publish their ideas and get recognized. The world is tough enough and too crowded. However like always, there are a handful who breakout from the masses and rise up above the others.
Some filmmakers have often chronicled their journeys on the silver screen and sometimes created history with their films. Others have drawn parallels to the real world with well-crafted out characters for their stories. We, at the Cinemaholic, take a look at the list of top business movies ever made. You can watch some of these best entrepreneur movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu.
10. Boiler Room (2000)
Ben Younger’s crime drama is one under-appreciated movie. Basing the story on a fictional college dropout Seth Davis, Ben weaves in an intricate story, pitting ambition against moral conscience and the results on that eternal struggle. The glamor of quick money in the Wall Street, the crooked schemes that run behind the money-making, and the willingness to sacrifice human goodwill in order to achieve the goals is well documented in this crime drama. Every entrepreneur is not a shining example of ideology and goodness. The brokerage is a ‘Boiler Room’, the heat from the various schemes and processes makes the office unspeakably hot. Conscience wins in the end satisfyingly and a lesson is learnt in never submitting overwhelmingly to ambition. ‘Boiler Room’ is a fine piece of American crime drama and it would be a shame to miss this quality film.
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9. The Aviator (2004)
Howard Hughes was an enigma. One of the most recognized entrepreneurs, one of the most financially successful men ever, film tycoon, flying magnate – he had done it all. But all these came at a terrible cost, with his personal life in shambles due to his eccentric behavior and OCD. Who better to document this colorful persona than the legend Martin Scorsese himself? ‘The Aviator’ is a gem of a film, one of the truest biopics ever made in history. Howard Hughes entire story was drafted exceedingly well, showcasing his rise to fame and his countless love lives, especially the one with legendary actress Katherine Hepburn. If Leonardo DiCaprio was outstanding as the quirky entrepreneur, Cate Blanchett stole hearts with her rendition of the iconic star. Martin Scorsese proved his genius yet again and one can only wonder how the golden statuette shirked past him. The road to the future is long and tough and only the strong can stay in its path.
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8. Office Space (1999)
The life trapped inside an office cubicle is frustrating and all the corporate employees can easily relate to the characters’ lives in Mike Judge’s ‘Office Space’. The limited opportunity of growth, the personal troubles and stuck up lives are too much to handle and the protagonists of the story decide to rebel in their own unique ways against the practices of the company. From breaking the cubicle walls and smashing printers to embezzling funds, the brilliant minds exact revenge on the white-collar anarchy of the corporate world, which many of us dream of doing. The tale is told hilariously and each comic turn is bound to leave the audience clutching their sides. The movie also narrates the change of heart and the twist in the end is just too funny. ‘Office Space’ has become a cult classic and merits a watch certainly.
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7. Wall Street (1987)
The Wall Street is a dirty place and strewn with lots of money. All a person needs to do it to catch it. But that leap involves devious means which are the direct antithesis to a man’s good conscience. Oliver Stone’s ‘Wall Street’ depicts just that through the life of the ambitious entrepreneur Bud Fox, a junior stockbroker as he joins forces with the morally dead legendary Wall Street player, Gordon Gekko. The rise to fame and the constant battle between the good and bad conscience lead Bud to taking the honest route, even though it meant harming himself and his career. The tough choices are difficult to make and this film captures just that. ‘Wall Street’ is one serious narrative on the money making business and explores the labyrinth of dirt it holds. Michael Douglas earned his Oscar as Gekko and Charlie Sheen rose to prominence as the new player Bud. Money doesn’t ever sleep indeed.
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6. Jerry Maguire (1996)
The life of a sports agent wanting to stay true to his job isn’t all that easy and Jerry Maguire’s life proves just that. His commitment to stay true to his ideals and develop a personal bond with his client is a respectable decision for many, but is a loss in the eyes of the businessmen. Cameron Crowe narrates this conflict of interests with utmost precision. The life of Jerry was superbly chronicled. His passion, his personal heartbreaks due to his fixation with his job and the ultimate reward for his hard work was told expertly. An entrepreneur must always stay strong in his path, no matter what happens and Jerry’s life story tells just that. He was ridiculed and had to suffer two heartbreaks but he never gave up, scratching and clawing his way to success. Tom Cruise put in the performance of a lifetime along with Cuba Gooding Jr. as the erratic client Rod Tiddle who won the Academy Award for his honest efforts.
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5. Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Every man engages in the pursuit of happiness, the feeling being elusive and illusive. Chris Gardener was the owner of a multimillion dollar brokerage firm but the road to happiness was a tough one indeed. From spending homeless nights with his son to seeing his wife walk out on him, life wasn’t smooth at all for the hard-working entrepreneur. He faced an uphill task while achieving his life’s goals and the taste of victory got sweeter as a result. Gabriele Muccino makes a solid film out of Chris Gardener’s life moving the audience to tears with the emotional struggle and making them shed tears of joy at the wonderful victory in the end. ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ is one of the most moving stories in modern cinema. Will Smith as the protagonist and his real life son, Jaden as the Christopher Jr. put in a couple of enchanting performances making the audience connect to the story even more.
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4. Steve Jobs (2015)
Apple is the dream tech gadget for every single electronics user in this planet; such is the popularity of the brand name. Like all success stories of entrepreneurs, Apple wasn’t formed overnight. It had to travel a tough road strewn with obstacles to cross the finish line. Danny Boyle, the underrated genius, documents the difficult choices the face behind the bitten apple had to take behind the scenes. ‘Steve Jobs’ is true to the facts and Michael Fassbender as the turtle-neck sporting co-founder is surprisingly convincing despite the dissimilarities in appearance. The launching of the iMac was a revolutionary step in the history of computers, and ‘Steve Jobs’ is a fantastic narrative of the backstory. The respect for the enigma rises a notch higher after this.
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3. Wolf of the Wall Street (2013)
Scorsese loves digging into the dark world, patronizing the colorful characters who scratched and clawed their way to the top only to be buried by their arrogance and greed, in a Macbeth way. While Casino and Goodfellas accounted the hardened underworld of America, The Wolf of the Wall Street was a nod to the ever existent white collar crime and Scorsese prepared a nice meal of black comedy out of it. Filming a biography takes a lot of background work, for you have to stick to the facts as long as possible. In the end the viewer is served with a serious account of the protagonist’s life, sometimes flavored with a dash of salt and spice. Scorsese takes it up another notch. Not only does he showcase the life of the crazy stock broker with pinpoint accuracy, taking capitalism by the throat, but also manages to pack a perfect comic punch to it. Jordan Belfort was THE entrepreneur in the financial circles and it was about time he came on to the silver screen.
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2. The Social Network (2010)
Facebook is a revolution in our lives and Mark Zuckerberg is the shining revolutionary, smiling at the end of it all. David Fincher in his brilliant style chronicles this person’s early days in ‘The Social Network’. The struggle, the endless sleepless coding nights at Harvard coupled with the pangs of early adulthood summed up a journey which spelled heroic in every syllable. The entire path was devoid of bloodshed but passed through a war-zone, riddled with accusations, politics and betrayal. He came out strong in the end, and Mark Zuckerberg became a household name all over the world. The king of all the modern day entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg’s life may be taken as a lesson. The pitfalls, the desire and the willingness to loosen the strings of the idealist purse a bit are documented expertly. ‘You really don’t get to make 5 million friends without making a few enemies’. True that.
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1. Citizen Kane (1941)
The greatest film ever made needs no introduction. Orson Welles’ debut feature broke barriers and revolutionized filmmaking in many ways. Amongst others, it gave the insight of the life of a newspaper magnet who began his journey as an idealist but became consumed by the power in his pursuit of greatness. Sheer political play proved to be the boon and the bane for the protagonist as he was reduced to a mental wreck in the end. Citizen Kane is essentially the best handbook of what to do and what not to do for the budding entrepreneurs. Powerfully narrated with flashbacks, Citizen Kane trod on the lines of a Shakespearean tragedy whilst staying true to its own origin story. It was visually enhancing and took the audience to a whole new level of realization through the life of the protagonist. Truly, it is the very best film of all time. Rosebud?
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