Imagine settling into your comfiest chair after a long day, the screen before you flickers to life—it’s showtime. But this isn’t just any movie night; as a business owner, you’re on the hunt for more than entertainment.

You’re scouting for insights, strategies, the untold tales of corporate titans and the scrappy start-ups that soared. Well, you’ve struck gold.

In a blend of Hollywood drama and real-world savvy, the best business movies offer us more than just a couple of hours of escape; they pack powerful lessons, mirror the hustle of our daily grind, and serve up a platter of motivational delicacies.

Through these cinematic masterpieces, witness the raw tenacity of entrepreneurs, the cutthroat world of corporate leadership, and the unwavering spirit of innovation—all wrapped in compelling narratives.

You’re about to discover a curated collection that’ll sharpen your acumen and stir your ambitions.

From the bull runs of Wall Street to the sharp minds in Silicon Valley, these films are more than flickers on a screen; they’re windows into the essence of success. Let’s dim the lights, the lesson is about to begin.

The best business movies

Movie TitleYear ReleasedMain Business ThemeLead Actor/ActressBased on True Events
The Founder (2016)2016Fast Food Industry, FranchisingMichael KeatonYes
Pursuit of Happyness2006Sales, Stock MarketWill SmithYes
The Wolf of Wall Street2013Stock Market, FraudLeonardo DiCaprioYes
The Social Network2010Tech Industry, StartupsJesse EisenbergYes
Fyre Festival2019 (Doc)Event Planning, FraudDocumentaryYes
Joy2015Entrepreneurship, InventingJennifer LawrenceYes
Boiler Room2000Stock Market, BrokerageGiovanni RibisiNo
The Big Short2015Financial Market, CrisisChristian Bale, Steve CarellYes
Pirates of Silicon Valley1999Tech Industry, Apple & MicrosoftNoah Wyle, Anthony Michael HallYes
Steve Jobs2015Tech Industry, InnovationMichael FassbenderYes
The Corporation2003 (Doc)Corporate Power, LawDocumentaryYes
American Hustle2013Scams, FBI StingsChristian Bale, Amy AdamsLoosely
The Game1997Business, Thrill SeekingMichael DouglasNo
Trading Places1983Stock Market, Commodities TradingDan Aykroyd, Eddie MurphyNo
The Billionaire2011Entrepreneurship, Food Supplement BusinessPachara ChirathivatYes
Moneyball2011Sports Management, StatisticsBrad PittYes
Casino1995Gambling IndustryRobert De NiroYes
Catch Me If You Can2002Check Fraud, ImpersonationLeonardo DiCaprioYes
Glengarry Glen Ross1992Real Estate, SalesAl Pacino, Jack LemmonNo
Wall Street1987Stock Market, Insider TradingCharlie Sheen, Michael DouglasNo
Startup.com2001 (Doc)Dot-com Bubble, EntrepreneurshipDocumentaryYes
The Aviator2004Aviation Business, FilmmakingLeonardo DiCaprioYes
Margin Call2011Financial Market, Investment BankZachary Quinto, Kevin SpaceyNo
Erin Brockovich2000Legal Fight, EnvironmentalismJulia RobertsYes

The Founder (2016)

McDonald’s is a renowned food chain business across the globe. But though many have eaten their meals at the fast food store, few know about its history.

The Founder follows the biographical story of two McDonald’s brothers and Ray Croc who proved to be their demise. The slick salesman claimed their business idea as his own—all without paying them any royalty. And the moral of the story? Everyone has their own agenda and you shouldn’t trust them easily.

Pursuit of Happyness

Based on a true story, this movie follows the journey of Chris Gardner and his son. The homeless salesman rejects an unpaid internship offer and decides to take control of his own fate.

And he succeeds. In just a year, he becomes a millionaire. The pursuit of Happyness reminds us how hard decisions and sacrifices now can lead to a much better life later.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street follows the transition of Jordan Belfort from a poor nobody to a rich stockbroker. He achieves this meteoric career rise thanks to his skills of persuasion (or perhaps deception would be more accurate).

Though crude at times, the movie perfectly captures how business cultures come to be in such fast-growth companies.

The Social Network

We’re sure everyone’s heard of this famous business movie. The Social Network is a biography of Mark Zuckerberg who became the world’s youngest billionaire. He managed to do so by creating Facebook, one of the most successful networking sites out there.

The story is a great source of motivation for young entrepreneurs. It reminds us that we’re never too young to achieve greatness, as long as we try our hardest. When he created Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was still just a student.

Fyre Festival

Fyre Festival reminds us that while passion and desire are strong driving forces behind success, they alone are not enough. To make a breakthrough, you’ll need to think strategically and work hard.


Joy is a very relatable character. Though she is teeming with great ideas, she is too scared to see them through. Once she finally overcomes the first obstacles, she begins her long march toward success. And though she faces many challenges, she overcomes them.

Joy also shows us that it is possible to balance our professional and personal lives, no matter how difficult it may be. At the time of launching her career, she was already a divorced mother of two.

Boiler Room

One of the best business movies, Boiler Room tells us how to make money out of nothing. At the same time, it acts as a salutary reminder of how high the cost of success can be. And we don’t mean financially.

The protagonists of this movie are young but unrelenting, taking the no-holds-barred policy on their route to success. Boiler Room does a wonderful job of exploring the darker side of the business world.

The Big Short

Based on the eponymous book, this biographical drama draws inspiration from the US’s mortgage housing crisis back in 2005.

A group of brave investors denounces the American mortgage market, declaring it corrupt. They claim that it will soon crumble, which truly happened.

The movie is perfect for those who wish to explore the inner workings of various market sectors.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

The movie focuses on the competition between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates from 1971 to 1997. It draws inspiration from the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer.

Though Bill Gates emerges victorious at the end of the movie, things took a much different turn in real life.

Regardless, both tech-moguls are a great source of inspiration for any young entrepreneur. Learning about their stories can help you lead your own business.

Steve Jobs

Apple has become one of the leading brands in technology. All the more reasons to learn about its journey to success.

The movie focuses on Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. It tells us how he overcame the challenges he faced when building iconic brands, both personal and professional.

This remains one of our favorite entrepreneur movies of all time. Make sure you watch it at least once, you won’t regret it.

The Corporation

To make a business a legal person, you have to turn it into a corporation. However, such corporations often forget where they came from. Whereas initially, they strived to manifest a certain ideal in this world, they soon start making money just for the sake of making money.

The movie explores how such an attitude can harm our world and create a bleak future for our children.

American Hustle

This true crime story delves into various topics. Though it teaches us many lessons, these are more often than not shrouded in humor. It is this balance of education and entertainment that landed it a spot on our list.

The movie warns us that the mistakes we make in the past will catch up to us at some point. When this happens, we often have to pay a high price to fix them.

The Game

The Game follows the story of Nicholas Van Orten, a successful banker from San Francisco. But his success came at a price – he has no personal life. This changes the moment his brother gives him a life-altering gift for his birthday.

The movie forces us to reflect on our values in life. Is money truly worth everything? Or perhaps there are some other things that make life just as worth living if not more?

Trading Places

True to its name, the movie focuses on two people, one rich and one poor, trading places. The movie culminates in the switched pair meeting at last.

Much like the Game, this movie poses questions such as what truly matters in life. Can money truly buy happiness? Or is it more about the attitude we take toward life?

The Billionaire

you’re suffering from a dry spell in your business endeavors, this movie can help you get right back on track. The true-life story follows the protagonist as he works his way through innumerable hurdles that block his path to success.

His biggest obstacle is posed by those closest to him. The Billionaire reminds us that following our own intuition instead of bowing to the opinions of the masses can help us achieve our dreams.


Starring Brad Pitt, Moneyball teaches us how to react to the changes in life. To succeed, we must first move past our fears and apprehensions. Only then can we taste the fruits of our labor, often even with limited starting resources.


Casino tells a story of a gambler who works with a mafia. Together, they manage a Las Vegas casino.

The movie explores how greed and lust for power can lead to moral corruption. To avoid seeing our hard work undone, we must never give in to these inner demons.

Catch me If You Can

The movie stands out above the rest of our best business movies on this list. Instead of focusing on a legitimate business, it tells the tale of a conman who’s impersonated countless professions.

Despite his less-than-legal endeavors, we’ve got much to learn from Frank Abagnale Jr. Even with the conditions being far from favorable, he managed to pull through. Adopting this kind of resilience can certainly be useful.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross is a film adaptation of the eponymous award-winning play.

The movie follows four real estate agents who must survive a difficult sales period. To keep their jobs, they must use every skill they have to surmount this challenge. Their perseverance should be an inspiration for us all.

Wall Street

Wall Street is a cautionary tale of how ruthlessness doesn’t always pay off. The young protagonist seeks rapid success, no matter what it costs him. Unfortunately, he soon learns that he can flout the law for only so long before it catches up to him.

Unlike the previous business movies on our list, this one is a documentary. provides invaluable insight into managing a business. It covers several topics, from creating a friendly workplace to properly managing your employees.

The Aviator

This movie is a biography of Howard Hughes’s life. During his life, he had to overcome many obstacles, such as his OCD. Despite this, he became a mogul in the film industry. Later, he also founded his own aircraft company.

If you seek motivation, look no further than the Aviator. It shows us that even the worst obstacles can be overcome, provided we try hard enough.

Margin Call

Set in 2008 during an economic crisis, the movies follow Wall Street’s top managers. They have to make a difficult decision and choosing wrongly means bankruptcy.

The movie teaches us that to succeed in the business world, we must be ready for the worst-case scenario situations all the time. If we keep our cool, we can come out of them unscathed.

Erin Brockovich

This movie will stand mostly to female audiences, though everyone can find inspiration in its story. The main protagonist is Erin Brockovich, a woman who must win the biggest lawsuit the world has ever known. Thanks to her unrelenting attitude, she manages to win.

The movie is incredibly inspiring. It shows us just how much hard work can achieve, even if the whole world seems to be set against us.

What makes a business movie worth watching?

Business movies can be a great way to pass your time. Whether you want to relax or learn new business techniques, they can provide you with both. We recommended going through each movie at least once. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your new comfort movie.

The best business movies are those based on a true story. It’s one thing to write a compelling story and it’s another one to live it. When we know the tale of success is real, the movie’s motivation and inspiration suddenly become greater. Such movies can often compel us to be more driven and resilient, even amidst a crisis.

Watching a good business movie can help us in the following 4 ways:

  • They open our minds to new ideas: Humans are creatures of habit. We often end up entombing ourselves in that which we know. This includes the way we think too. But in the ever-changing world of business, conservative thinking can work against us. Business movies often open us to new ideas and teach us about topics we’ve never even imagined before.
  • They are a good way to wind down after an exhausting day: All work and no play… you know how the saying goes. But jokes aside, building a successful career can be incredibly exhausting. You’ll often find yourself focusing solely on your work to the exclusion of everything else. But such workaholism can become counterproductive in the end. By watching a business movie, you can both relax and learn something new to help you with your career.
  • They are vital parts of our culture: These movies are excellent conversation topics. Many people might expect you to know. To avoid appearing boorish and uneducated, you should watch each at least once. Who knows, maybe they’ll come in handy as an ice-breaker one day.
  • They can be a source of inspiration and motivation: Managing your own business can be overbearing at times. Not a single entrepreneur is immune to doubts and misgivings here and there. At times, we might even be tempted to quit. While doubts are natural parts of our mindset, we still need to work our way through them. And business movies smash through even the hardest ones. Few things are as motivating and empowering as a story in which hard work leads to success. 

FAQ On The Best Business Movies

What are some must-watch business movies for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Watch ‘The Social Network’ for a deep dive into the birth of a tech giant, alongside ‘Steve Jobs’ to get into the mind of an iconic innovator. ‘Wall Street’ is timeless, and ‘The Big Short’ explains financial thrillers like no other.

These films offer a masterclass in ambition and strategy.

Which business movie is the best for learning about leadership?

Without a doubt, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ showcases both the highs and lows of leadership in the extreme, whilst ‘Moneyball’ demonstrates how unconventional thinking can lead to groundbreaking success. They explore corporate leadership amidst the chaos of high stakes.

What movie gives the best insight into corporate America?

‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ paints a vivid picture of sales pressure and ethics or lack thereof.

It’s raw, real, and resonates with anyone who’s been in the trenches of corporate sales. The dialogue is practically a course in market pressures.

Are there business movies based on true stories?

Plenty! ‘The Founder,’ based on the story of McDonald’s, is a masterclass in franchising with a side of moral complexity. ‘Joy’ is the spirited journey of an entrepreneur’s rise from garage inventor to home-shopping magnate. True stories often hit hardest.

Which films would you recommend for someone interested in finance?

Dive into ‘The Big Short’ or ‘Margin Call’ for a gripping look at economic movies and the intricacies of the financial world.

These delve deep into the complexities of the market and the people who navigate it every day.

Can you suggest a movie that portrays the struggle of startups?

‘’ is a real gem – it’s a documentary, unfolding harsh truths of the dot-com bubble with an up-close look at the startup rollercoaster.

Then there’s ‘The Social Network’ – while Hollywood-dramatized, the core of a startup’s rocky road to success is all there.

Are there any business movies that are also comedies?

Sure thing. Take ‘Office Space’ – it’s a scathing, hilarious poke at office culture and management.

For a more lighthearted take, ‘The Intern’ tells a compelling story about mentorship and the fashion industry with laughs and heart.

What is a good film about women in business?

‘Joy’ tells the formidable tale of a matriarch’s willpower to dominate a man’s world, making her entrepreneurial mark.

It’s empowering, showing the business ingenuity of women, with Jennifer Lawrence adding depth to every scene.

Which business movie would help in understanding marketing strategies?

‘Syrup’ gives you the flashy world of marketing, sex, and betrayal, focusing on the lengths one would go to market a product.

Alternatively, for more of a strategic angle, ‘The Joneses’ cleverly introduces stealth marketing – when life itself becomes a selling platform.

Is there a movie that deals with business ethics and social responsibility?

‘Erin Brockovich’ – it’s about the quest for justice against corporate neglect, with ethics at its core.

This movie isn’t just about business; it’s the epitome of corporate social responsibility and the impact businesses have on communities.


So, we’ve been through a whirlwind tour of the best business movies out there, carving through tales of financial thrillers, entrepreneurial journeys, and strategic masterminds at play. You’ve got a watchlist now that’s more than just a buffer against boredom—it’s a treasure trove, rich with insights and primed to fuel your own narrative as a mover and shaker in the business arena.

  • Themes of ambition
  • Corporate conflict
  • Ethical quandaries
  • These flicks have it all.

Call it a night in? More like signing up for an uncredited course in business mastery.

Whether you’re drawing parallels from the Wall Street wolves, threading through the legal webs spun by Erin Brockovich, or just needing that push to innovate from the stories of Silicon Valley’s best, remember this: it’s not just about the popcorn or the plush seats.

It’s about those lightbulb moments in the dark; the kind that might just echo through the hallways of your own business venture. Lights out!

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I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.