Movies on finances and investments may come across as boring or too technical for many, but it usually isn’t, as there are interesting and enlightening financial movies.
Filled to the brim with suspense, thrills, and sometimes action, financial movies like The Big Short have made names for themselves in the hearts of audiences.
What’s the Big Short about?
The Big Short is a biographical movie released in 2015. After figuring out that some home loans could fail, Michael Burry, who works on Wall Street, decides to put his investors’ money into a credit default swap.
After investing up to 1 billion dollars, the Wall Street Guru is quickly noticed by three other men, who come across as greedy as he is. With thorough research, they can see into the future and predict the housing market crash of 2007.
As they begin to invest more and more, throwing considerable amounts of money into the credit default swap, they soon realize just how corrupt the market is. They also see the unethical and dark side of modern banking, leaving them to doubt everything they thought they once knew.
The movie explores three different stories of different people connected by the steps they took before the housing market crash in 2007. First is the story of Michael Burry and how he figured out that the subprime loans would most likely fail.
Next was the story of Jared Vennett, a character based on Greg Lippmann. He was the first to notice Burry’s actions and understand his analysis. The last is the story of Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller.
This movie stars Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, among other actors. Adam McKay directed it, and it looks at the issue of the 2007 market crash with a different plot line from others. Asides the elements of comedy, attention to detail is one thing that makes the movie stand out.
If you find The Big Short thrilling and are interested in watching more similar movies, especially movies detailing financial crises, then here are 11 movies you should go for.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
English 3h IMDb
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
The Wolf of Wall Street is a biographical movie following the life of Jordan Belfort, whose greed and corruption take him to a stage of great wealth and then to his waterloo. In the official trailer, Jordan is shown as an out-of-control wealthy man sucked into the life of drugs and women.
After losing his job as a stockbroker due to the stock market collapse on Black Monday, he, alongside his friend Donnie starts up a fraudulent firm that tricks investors into paying more for worthless stocks. This doesn’t pass the FBI by as they are soon on his trail.
Although he is warned to take a step back and lay low, his greed doesn’t let him, ultimately leading to his downfall. Critics describe this movie as a comedy that authentically shows how far people are ready to go against the system to be wealthy.
2. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
English 2h 21m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Catch me if you can is a 2002 biographical crime drama, and the official trailer has much to say about how thrilling this movie is. During his young days, Frank Abagnale Jr lived with his mother and father, who was a conman.
When his father struggles with tax problems, his family also has issues, eventually leading to his parents’ divorce. He runs away from home, and in an attempt to survive, he begins to follow in his father’s footsteps and con people.
He impersonated a doctor, pilot, and even a lawyer. While he does this, he is trailed by agent Carl Hanratty from the FBI, a man determined to get him. Although he outsmarts the agent most of the time, he is eventually caught.
To those who watched this movie, it is a fun movie that gives an outstanding visualized narrative of Abagnale Jr.
3. The Founder (2016)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch
Although The Founder is not a movie on financial crime, it still connects with The Big Short as more than a biography. It explains the story of a man determined to make it to the top.
The film began in 1954 and focuses on Ray Kroc, a milkshake salesman who, despite his sufficient savings, still wishes to have more. An encounter with the original owners of McDonald’s is what he needs to start his journey to the top.
Although they have a pleasant and friendly start and help him with their franchise journey, things don’t end up well as he eventually takes over their business.
Critics have said that The Founder looks at the journey of one of America’s top enterprises and how it honestly got to where it is, something that not many knows. Watch the official trailer to get a whiff of how inspiring the movie is.
4. Wall Street (1987)
English 2h 6m IMDb
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Tamara Tunie
Bud Fox is a junior stockbroker who idolizes Gordon Gekko, a man known for being one of the best Wall Street players. He goes out of his way to get an interview with Gekko, even going as far as buying him his favorite contraband cigars as a birthday gift.
When this doesn’t work, Bud gives the legendary player insider’s information, leading to a budding alliance between the two. The official trailer shows the excellent coordination between the two.
The duo takes the stock market by storm with Fox’s insider information and Gekko’s wits, earning them enough money. However, things begin to go south at the possibility of a betrayal from both parties.
Many have described Oliver Stone’s movie as effectively depicting how much greed and corruption revolved around. 20th century New York
5. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
English 2h 13m IMDb
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Carey Mulligan
The official trailer will show you how this movie is a thrilling sequel to the original Wall Street. While Wall Street revolves around the Great Depression, this movie is set during the 2008 financial crisis.
When Gekko, supposedly changed, is released from prison, he tries to reconcile with his wife and estranged daughter as hard as he can. Jake, his daughter’s boyfriend, who is intent on green energy, works for KZI.
When KZI is met with a loss that devalues the company and leads its owner to commit suicide, Jake seeks Gekko’s help to get back at the person who caused it all. Gekko also sees it as an opportunity to win a score against the person who had led to his arrest.
While most sequels do not meet up to expectations, critics comment that this movie does. Once again, Oliver Stone can engage the viewers’ minds with such a fantastic depiction of what goes on behind the walls of the skyscrapers.
6. Margin Call (2011)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: J.C. Chandor
Stars: Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey
This movie follows the efforts of employees of an investment bank to keep the company afloat during the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis. After Eric Dale and his other colleagues are laid off from work, he tries to warn the investment bank of impending doom.
However, when no one seems to heed him, he results in giving a flash drive containing his model to Peter Sullivan. After going through this, Sullivan realizes that the company was on the road to bankruptcy due to some over-leveraged assets.
He reaches out to some essential firm workers, and together they try to sell these assets and stop the bank from going bankrupt. For viewers, Margin Call shows the events of the 2008 financial crisis in a more thought-provoking light.
It shows that things aren’t only black and white but also in between. The official trailer will have you itching to watch the film immediately.
7. Boiler Room (2000)
English 2h IMDb
Director: Ben Younger
Stars: Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long
Boiler Room is similar to Wall Street, even alluding to the 1987 movie. Seth David, a 19-year-old college dropout and owner of an illegal casino, is recruited by Greg Weinstein to work at a brokerage firm called J.T Marlin.
He and other recruits are given the hope of being millionaires three years after their day of employment. At first, it seems that all they have to do is make cold calls to potential investors, but Seth soon realizes that J.T Marlin is a fraudulent company that tricks investors into buying expired and fake shares.
He also finds out that the founders of the company plan on shutting it down and starting up the same scheme under the name of a new firm. Filled with guilt, Seth decides to work with the FBI to bring Greg and the company down.
Watch the official trailer first to know what you are getting into. Viewers believe the movie is good with the elements of a grace-to-grass story.
8. Too Big To Fail (2011)
English 1h 39m IMDb
Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: James Woods, John Heard, William Hurt
The official trailer is enough to show you that Too Big To Fail is not like other financial crisis movies, which show the actions of firms and the impact the crisis had on them. This movie tells the audience about the crisis from the point of view of Henry Paulson, the then US.
Treasury Secretary. At the early stage of the crisis, when some firms began to fail and crash, Paulson tried his hardest, including taking loans to stop a financial crisis that could have been worse than the Great Depression.
However, even with his attempts, the stock market still crashed, leading to the 2008 financial crisis. Those who have watched the movie speak of how involving the film is, despite the scenes involving dull-looking offices. To them, the movie is not disposable.
9. Money Monster (2016)
English 1h 38m IMDb
Director: Jodie Foster
Stars: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell
After Kyle Budwell invests all of his money and life savings into IBIS when Lee, a television financial expert, endorses the firm, things don’t go as planned as IBIS Capital Stock suddenly crashes, leaving all investors at a total loss of $800 million.
Frustrated by the turnout of events, Kyle, disguised as a delivery man, goes on set to the Money Monster, a show hosted by Lee, and he holds Lee hostage, demanding answers.
Attempt to appease him proved abortive, and although Lee tries to convince him that it was a glitch in the algorithm, the financial expert doesn’t believe this, and together, they try to uncover what went wrong.
Watch the official trailer to see how much of a roller coaster this movie is. Critics have tagged the film as a must-see thriller filled with superb performances and an engaging storyline worth your time.
10. Arbitrage (2012)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Stars: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling
A hedge fund manager, Miller is approaching retirement, but retirement doesn’t come easy for him as he has to fix a problem before leaving.
To cover up a loss, Miller had borrowed $412 million, and while trying to pay off the debt before being called out, Miller decided to sell a fund he manages with his daughter.
The official trailer shows as he tries to sell the fund while covering his trail from the police after accidentally killing his mistress and a gallery owner, Julie.
In the long run, he is left contemplating what exactly to do – whether to turn himself in or wait till he completes the sale. Critics have described the movie as filled with suspense, thrill, and deep meaning.
11. Laundromat (2019)
English 1h 36m IMDb
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, AJ Meijer
The movie has Mossack and Fonseca, two lawyers, narrate the different stories of victims affected by fake trusts and shell companies.
After Ellen’s vacation with her husband leaves her widowed with no compensation and a 20 million worth of shares leads to a shell company, investigations are made to get to the bottom of what could be a massive scam.
Although mixed with a bit of fiction, the biographical movie still talks about Mossack Fonseca, the law firm in the middle of the shell company scandal.
While viewers acknowledge that it doesn’t quite meet up to The Big Short’s standard, it is still very entertaining and educational, giving an insight into what truly happened. Watch the official trailer on YouTube to know what you are getting into.
Most financial movies are biographies, and it is no wonder why people might consider them a waste of time.
However, after watching one movie from those mentioned above, you’d get to understand just what the thrill and suspense are about. You’d almost sit at the edge of your chair! Ensure you catch the lessons in all the movies too.