Success. Ambition. Passion. All good words. Right? Yes, they are good words in the right context and under the right mindset. But if they are stretched to a limit where you start using unfair means to get to the place where you want to be, the same success can result in outrageous side-effects. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is a film about a man so consumed with success and money that he was willing to break the laws and go to the extreme. Not all movies on this list are about outlaws, but almost all of them are about success and money.
We have tried to come up with a list of films similar to The Wolf of Wall Street that are our recommendations. If you are interested, you might be able to stream some of these movies like The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix or Amazon Prime or even Hulu.
15. 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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14. 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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13. Quiz Show (1994)
Robert Redford is a revered commodity in the scandalous corridors of Hollywood. And this movie is one of the reasons. Chronicling the the Twenty One quiz show scandals of the 1950s, the rise and fall of the popular contestant Charles Van Doren, the rigged loss of Herb Stempel, and Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin’s subsequent probe. Boasting a stellar cast comprising names like Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, David Paymer, and even Martin Scorcese in a cameo, the film is a winner all the way through. It uncovers the dirty tricks and hoodwinks these scornful-scions use, masqueraded as popular and seemingly innocuous game of luck and wit.
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12. American Hustle (2013)
A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey power-brokers and mafia. Endowed with perhaps the finest actors in the industry, and a director who isn’t hesitant to experiment, ‘American Hustle’ manages to present a glaring vestigial reality of the sham that changed the FBI forever. The retrograde style and the wigs work their charm on the audience like a serpent on a snake. The exuding sexiness and the sultry chemistry between the actors make the film a wholesome entertainment that you can not miss.
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11. Erin Brokovich (2000)
For her portrayal of the titular character, Roberts won her first Academy Award, also going on to win the Golden Globe, SAG and the BAFTA among others. The movie chronicles the journey of a lawyer, Erin Brockovich, and her struggle to bring justice to hundreds and thousands of plaintiffs against the mighty energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The real life Brockovich makes a cameo appearance in the movie as a waitress as well. The film inspired women all around th globe and has been heavily referenced in modern culture.
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10. Boiler Room (2000)
‘Boiler Room’ is a film that had all the potential for a classic but just loses its way out towards the end. Nevertheless it’s an intriguing drama that explores success, guilt, loyalty and greed. Seth Davis is a young college dropout who runs a casino and earns a living out of it. However, his father is disappointed with him. He is then recruited to join a brokerage firm and it changes his life forever. He begins to earn a lot of money and becomes immensely successful and manages to gain his father’s approval. However, things don’t go well as the dirty hands of the business stitch him up in greed and we no longer see him as the person he once was. The film is one hell of a roller coaster ride that portrays the various facets of success and what greed and money could eventually to do to you.
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9. The Aviator (2004)
‘The Aviator’ might not seem like a film about success and money but ambitions, desires and hunger for success make way for one of the most harrowing character studies ever put on-screen. Howard Hughes is a deeply troubled man fighting his own inner demons while turning out to be a massively successful person in his life. Hughes is a manic perfectionist and while he becomes a hugely successful billionaire business man and filmmaker, his inability to deal with himself and his personal turn him into an absolute shell of a person.
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8. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Success is always the result of motivation. Motivation could just be about anything. Desires, ambition, money or perhaps even survival. In ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, survival is the motivation for the employees and it pushes them to succeed. The film depicts two days in the lives of four real estate salesmen who are to generate leads by whatever means possible. A motivator is sent to the office and he announces that except the top two, everyone else will be fired from their jobs. The film is an intriguing look at what drives us to succeed and how often we are pushed to our very best when our survivals are threatened. The world of success and money is indeed a tough one.
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7. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Well, this is certainly not the kind of success one would want to achieve in his life but Frank Abagnale’s life does teach you a lot about having the courage to stand up and face life as it is and then making it your own rather than just taking what comes your way. Frank is a teenager who runs away from his home and when he runs out of money, begins to use his deceptive charm and confidence to con people. His cons increase and he forges cheques worth millions of dollars. He is chased off by the FBI but eventually they turn to him for help in order to catch other frauds and criminals. It’s a lovely tale so full of fun and charm and told in the classic Spielbergian way.
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6. There Will Be Blood (2007)
To make a good film is one thing. To craft a masterpiece is another thing. But bettering your own masterpiece is something only a truly accomplished artist is capable of. Paul Thomas Anderson did exactly that with ‘There Will Be Blood’. The film was quite a bit of a radical shift in style for Anderson. Aesthetically, the film was almost Kubrickian and the visual storytelling was quite an astonishing achievement. The opening 15 minutes alone establishes Plainview’s character without a single word being uttered. We learn about his drive and his hunger for success. The film still is very much ambiguous about his character and we are never really told as to what really drove Plainview to doing the things that he did. Greed and power corrupt him and we no longer see the man brimming with raw ambitions but a man turned into a shell, trying to win a battle he’s already won.
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5. Casino (1995)
Cut straight from the same bloody cloth as ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Casino’ is a riveting tale of success, greed, money, ambition and power. ‘Casino’ is about two mobsters who fight their lives out in an epic battle to gain control over the gambling business. Sam and Nicky were once best friends but in their quest for success and power they betray each other and end up becoming rivals. While the narrative may feel a bit messed up at times, the film works mainly due to the performances, especially Sharon Stone and Scorsese’s command over the medium. It isn’t as clinical and classy as ‘Goodfellas’ but Scorsese still isn’t far from being at his very best.
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4. The Social Network (2010)
David Fincher’s acclaimed biographical drama about the founding of Facebook is quite simply one of the most fascinating films about success, morality, fame and money. The film centres around Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard student who founded a social networking site called Facebook. However, he is later sued by two brothers who accuse him of stealing their ideas. The film then focuses on the events that led to the founding of the sensation it would later go on to become. It raises questions about people’s actions, the choices they make in their journey and blurs the concreteness between the lines separating right and wrong.
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3. Boogie Nights (1997)
A young Paul Thomas Anderson flaunting his virtuosity as a filmmaker. That, to me, is what ‘Boogie Nights’ is. Without any disrespect to the film, it still only serves as a prelude to the genius that would blossom in the coming years. Having said that ‘Boogie Nights’ is one of the more fascinating character studies that explore the themes of greed, success, money and fame. A young high school dropout works at a nightclub where he meets a porn filmmaker who turns him into an overnight sensation. Dirk Diggler is a victim of success and fame and serves as a classic example of what money and greed could do to you. It’s dark, tragic, funny and exhilarating.
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2. Goodfellas (1990)
Okay, now this might seem like a controversial pick because killing people around and making money isn’t really about success. But in the context of the film and from the perspective of its protagonist, the film is very much of a rags to riches story about an ordinary man dreaming to become a gangster one day and turning into a powerful mobster in New York. Henry Hill was a petty criminal who rises the ladder to team up with some of the most feared mobsters in the city. He gets to live the life of his dreams. This is the world of money, power, glamour, women. And Henry sees them all and lands back to where he was, living the life of an “average Joe”.
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1. Wall Street (1987)
This Oliver Stone classic is a riveting tale of success, greed, power and money. ‘Wall Street’ tells the story of a young stockbroker who is taken under his wing by a brilliant, ruthless raider. Bud is young, intelligent and craving for success and money and idolises Gordon Gekko. Morality for him is flexible and he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the top of the ladder. The central morality conflict between Carl Fox, Bud’s father and Gordon Gekko makes way for the film’s thematic explorations of greed, money, power, success, and morality. The film was made by Stone as a tribute to his father who was a stockbroker during the Great Depression.
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