My Favourite Movies on Finance

Published: December 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Last Updated on

I am a movie buff. Here is a list of my favourite movies with a financial theme.  This is an off-beat listing and is obviously non-exhaustive. When  I ask myself to make a list, many wonderful movies escape my memory. This is all I could muster. All posters are from Wikipedia and all storylines and from IMDB.

Feel free to list your favourite finance-themed movie in the comments section.

All posters are from Wikipedia and all storylines and from IMDB.

To reiterate, this is an off-beat listing. I enjoyed watching too big to fail, the wolf of wall street, Wall Street 1 and 2, the inside job, boiler room, but I don’t feel like listing them here.

Double Indemnity (1944) – Life Insurance

Storyline:  An insurance rep lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator’s suspicions.

An extraordinary jaw-dropping film noir which has not its sheen one bit. Might make you a bit paranoid about how the claims settlement department works though!
Double indemnity.jpg


It’s a wonderful life (1946) – Real Estate Loans

Storyline: An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

Features my favourite actors James Stewart and Donna Reed. Saw it for the first time more than 20 years ago. When the movie ended, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed inconsolably in joy! A truly cathartic experience. It is a holiday season fav. So it should play in Star Movies this month.

Its A Wonderful Life Movie Poster.jpg

Margin Call (2011) – Value At Risk

Storyline: Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the  (2008) financial crisis.

Not exactly a classic but I saw it at a time when I had given up on movie watching and it revived the habit for me. So it is special.

Margin Call.jpg

Arbitrage (2012)  –  price convergence

Storyline: A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.

Many people believe that the title is incorrect and confusing, but I think it is absolutely brilliant.

Arbitrage 2012 Poster.jpg
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) Real Estate, Salesmanship

Storyline:  An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.

An Extraordinary movie about selling pressure. A favourite.



The Pursuit of Happiness  (2006)

Storyline:  A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavour.

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Not exactly a ‘finance’ movie but shows the struggles of a driven man with a dream, who has trouble meeting ends.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Ashal Jauhari

Storyline: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Don’t ask me why, but this movie remains me of Ashal Jauhari! It is the second most cathartic movie I have ever seen (Its a wonderful life, is the first, the dark knight is the third).


The Big Short – The housing bubble

Some great movie making. The story of how six investors bet against the market in anticipation of the US housing bubble to burst. This is the way complex financial terms should be served to the general public.

Babette’s Feast – True Devotion

A Danish gem released in 1987.  What brings you happiness? Is it money? Is it devotion to god? What is the difference between being religious and being pious?  The movie answers such deep questions in a subtle way that fills you with a strange sense of joy or melancholy depending on when you view it.  What is extraordinary is that these answers become clear over the course of an exquisite feast prepared by Babette. It also offers fantastic points of view on love, missed opportunities and spiritualities.

Food is central to the climax of this movie. I have seen many movies centred on food (I love to watch people cook), but I cannot think of any in which food plays a crucial role in the climax.

I saw it again a couple of days back and realised that the movie is also about money or to use a much better term, It makes you ask, ‘What is true wealth?’

Here is a fantastic write-up about the movie: Babette’s Feast – A Fable for Culinary France

Have you seen this movie? If not, I strongly recommend you to watch this as soon as possible.

Here is the movie trailer and a short montage of food scenes from the film.




Food Scenes:

I will stop here with an uneasy feeling that this list is woefully incomplete. More such lists to come.

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M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Linkedin
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  1. Thanks for sharing sir. I haven’t even heard of those 1942 and 1944 movies. Will see them.
    Just to add my favorite movies to the list:

    Other People money – 1991
    Rogue Trader – 1991
    The wolf of wall street – 2013
    Boiler room – 2000

  2. Thanks for sharing sir. I haven’t even heard of those 1942 and 1944 movies. Will see them.
    Just to add my favorite movies to the list:

    Other People money – 1991
    Rogue Trader – 1991
    The wolf of wall street – 2013
    Boiler room – 2000

  3. can watch pursuit of happyness & shawshank redemption a million times & still not get bored. awesome movies.

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