Anyone with access to the internet knows by now the sheer number of media available to us online. And if you’re into streaming shows and movies online, you have surely heard about the streaming giant of Netflix. Although many more streaming platforms are in competition, offering different plans and packages, Netflix is among many that have made its mark in the online streaming market and have a considerable number of people subscribed to them.
And like any other platform, there are many movies to choose from. Sometimes even making it difficult to pick the right one. Luckily, all these movies are set into categories in the app, so it makes it easier to know where to go once you decide on a genre.
For those interested in the financial world of cinema, watching a movie based on finance can be of great help to you. While learning the ins and outs, you can also get a good laugh, be entertained, and let out a sigh of relief when the movie ends with inspiration despite the made conundrums and tragedies.
When you look at the stock market for the first time, you might find it confusing, and it is! It’s a complex topic to even talk about without having in-depth knowledge. So here we have a list of the 20 best movies about finance on Netflix that might help you get a gist of what everyone in the financial world I talking about.
So make use of that Netflix subscription to entertain yourself and learn something about the stock market, wall street, and the different incarnations of the financial world.
1. The Wolf Of Wall Street
Year Of Release: 2013
On the top of our list is, of course, the blockbuster that almost everyone has seen, the Wolf of Wall Street. Many people might not know that this movie is based on a true-life event that happened to a man named Jordon Belfort. Belfort is played by the legendary movie star Leonardo Dicaprio, and he does it perfectly.
Following the story of Belfort as he rose to the top as a stockbroker in the city of New York to launching Stratton Oakmont, his own firm, and then getting entangled in a fraudulent scheme which ultimately leads to his downfall. He’s a relatable character who also goes through the same struggles as anyone who is just starting out in the industry.
The characters in the movies, especially the protagonist’s life, follow a very strong theme about how money and greed for money ultimately bring people to their own tragedy. Not only that, but it also talks about the lack of resources that sometimes obstruct people from getting where they want to go or, worse, lead them astray.
If you watch the movie through a critical lens, you’ll find that it’s full of tactics and strategies that are sometimes used in the real stock market. Perhaps even some methods that you can apply to business planning. In the movie, Belfort is determined to succeed no matter what.
He experiences a lot of losses and struggles throughout his quest for ultimate richness, but nothing can stop him from his goals. In fact, these odds are what drive him to take risks and ultimately become the wolf of wall street.
2. Too Big To Fail
Year Of Release: 2011
Also, another movie relating to the 2008 financial crisis in the United States is Too Big To Fail. This is a movie that covers the story of what happened between the two giants in the financial market at the time.
The Lehman Brothers were on the brink of shutting down, forcing them to seek Warren Buffett’s help. But Henry Paulson, who was the then US secretary of Treasury, refused to use the public’s money to save Lehman, which led to his declaring bankruptcy.
The movie doesn’t do much for those who are unfamiliar with the financial world. In fact, it doesn’t really explain why these two giants were on the verge of dissolving within themselves, but it does show how big and complex the market is and how corruption tends to sneak its way into every nook and corner possible.
3. Rogue Trader
Year Of Release: 1999
Rogue Trader is a great movie for enthusiasts in the stock market. Not only does it cover these concepts in an entertaining story, but it also takes the viewers on a journey through the life of the protagonist, who has one of those classic tales of getting rich overnight but failing dramatically because of the lack of knowledge and resources.
After watching the protagonist make tons of financial errors, viewers are sure to learn from his mistakes and hopefully avoid the mistakes in real life. It also covers important concepts in trading and gives watchers the inside scoop on how the stock market is impacted due to the unpredictable nature of the market.
4. American Psycho
Year Of Release: 2000
If you want to watch a thought-provoking movie that borders finance and drama, this is the one. As a critically acclaimed movie, American Psycho covers the story of Patrick Bateman, who is an executive investment banker.
On the outside, he looks like your typical average man with a stable job and good looks, but many people don’t know that he’s hiding his psychotic alter ego from his friends, family, and coworkers.
Unbeknownst to the outside world, Bateman is feeding his psychopathic ego by indulging in all his hedonistic and violent fantasies. When you look at the movie from a critical point of view, there’s not too much that you can say about the financial aspect of this movie.
But you’ll get an idea about the type of life that people in finance usually lead, specifically with regard to the likes of Patrick Bateman and the rest of his acquaintances who are the industry’s elite class. But as disconnected as they are from the world’s realities, they are also disconnected from themselves.
While they struggle to keep up the public’s opinion of them as sophisticated, clean, well put together, and always with a satisfied grin on their faces, the inside of all of them is the egotistical, narcissistic, greedy monsters like Bateman who not only feels disgusted by things and people whom he regards beneath him but also wanted to wipe them out from the face of the earth.
5. Margin Call
Year Of Release: 2011
After an employee gets fired from his job, his protégé aims to use the current project in the company to tell everyone about the potential downfall of the market, but no one pays any heed to him. Deciding to take the burden upon himself, he sets out to find the real reason why the crisis occurred.
The whole movie is shown in a 24-hour timespan during which the first few stages of the 2008 financial crisis were slowly unfolding within the system. As a movie that has accumulated one Oscar nomination and eight awards, this is definitely a must-watch on anyone’s list of wall street movies.
The whole idea that the movie tries to portray is that the corrupted financial system ultimately caused the downfall of the economy during the 2008 crisis. It also attempts to show the frailty of the system that dips and falls flat on the ground even with the lightest changes in market trends.
6. Money Monster
Year Of Release: 2016
Money Monster stars George Clooney with Julia Roberts as his co-star, who are not the monsters that the title is talking about. Rather, they are the ones who end up suffering the consequences of an enormous amount of money swindle.
Throughout much of the movie, you will find that Roberts plays the role of the superego by being Clooney’s voice of reasoning.
Throughout the span of the movie, you might find that its main theme is centered around the greed of one man rather than focusing on the financial corruption that you might be expected to find. In a way, the movie ends up feeling like a drama- hostage-kidnapping situation rather than tackling the issues of the financial world.
7. Glengarry Glen Ross
Year Of Release: 1992
The movie is about a group of real estate agents who are fed up with their jobs working for a company that demands too much and gives them nothing. Then they get the news that all of them except for the top two performers in the company are getting laid off, which then heats up the frustration within the employees.
Now with their jobs on the line, each salesperson tries their best to bring in as many leads as they possibly can. You also get to see inside the personal lives of these employees, some of whom have sick family members to care for, which becomes a driving force in increasing their productivity.
On the other hand, another employee only works to steal the leads from another so that he can drive up his performance score. Now with everyone unfolding their true colors, the workplace becomes a battleground, and it’s an “every man for themselves” situation.
All in all, you can say that the movie depicts how desperation and greed can manifest themselves in a way that brings out the worst in people. It also sheds light on the tactics that financial companies use within their industry, along with the pressure of meeting targets and goals for the ones doing all the groundwork.
Year Of Release: 2010
Freakonomics is not your typical 1-2 hour long movie, but it is a collection of several documentaries that try to explore a side of human nature that is usually hidden beneath a façade. Unlike typical financial movies, Freakonomics blatantly uses humor and provocation in its examination of human nature through the science of economics.
The film is hosted by Steven D. Levitt, who is a renowned economist and journalist by the name of Stephen J. Dubner. They take a deep dive into the different ways that the human brain works when it comes to motivating factors such as money.
It’s an interesting watch for those who are into the psychology of the human brain when it comes to how different people perceive opportunities.
They tackle many unexplored realms in the financial world and even those that seem far away from anything economic but always typing it back to finance, giving viewers a new perspective on how they perceive things.
9. The Informant
Year Of Release: 2009
Based on a true story, this movie follows the story of the protagonist, who is a biochemist. When he gets caught in the middle of a huge scandal just because he was also working in the same company, he decides to fight back by joining the FBI in divulging sensitive information about the company.
This movie explores the true horrors of greed for money and illegal finances. It captures the ugly truth behind huge corporations that are ready to throw their employees under the bus at their convenience to save face and money.
However, the protagonist, played perfectly by Matt Damon, makes the right choice by fighting back against the company and earning his due diligence.
10. Trading Places
Year Of Release: 1983
If you’re familiar with the children’s story, The Prince and the Pauper, you’ll have an idea of what this movie is about. Featuring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as the stars of the movie, they work together to bring down the Duke brothers, who get them trapped in an unlikely scheme.
Luckily, Billy Ray Valentine, the character played by Eddie Murphy, is a known street con artist who has a few tricks up his sleeve that he uses to bring the dukes down along with his partner, Louis Winthorpe the III, played by Dan Aykroyd.
If you’re looking to get some ideas about finance and the stock market through this movie, you might be disappointed. The thing abut this movie is that it doesn’t show you all that much about trading except for maybe the last 15-20 minutes of the movie.
However, it’s interesting to watch how these two characters, hailing from where they did, get where they do at the movie’s end.
11. Barbarians At The Gate
Year Of Release: 1993
Based on a book by the same name, Barbarians at the Gate movie is based on a real story but with a few fictional inputs that make it a much more interesting watch. However, it still does a good job of showing the audience the gruesome realities of the CEO of Nabisco, F. Ross Johnson, and how his leveraged buyout (LBO) played out behind the scenes.
The movie won 2 Golden Globe awards with almost 16 nominations in the industry. The movie delivers on its promise by focusing on the main theme, which is the LBO and revolves around the main character’s storyline.
It also covers a few key characters in the movie, such as Henry Kravis, with whom a few conflicts and clashes occur, keeping the movie interesting as viewers get more attached to the characters. Barbarians At The Gate is one of the best movies you can watch for anyone looking to gain new perspectives and learn about the realities of the corporate world.
The greed for money is perfectly portrayed in this movie. Along with that, you also see the workings of such billion-dollar deals that go down in the corporate sector.
12. Rising High
Year Of Release: 2020
Keeping with the trend of white-collar movies, Rising High is dramatic in that it captures the essence of a white-collar crime movie and keeps the viewers at the edge of their seats without taking away too much screentime on talks about finance.
You can see how the movie has turned its wheels to show how the rich stay rich while they parade their perfect lives but not without consequences.
13. Wall Street
Year Of Release: 2010
Following a familiar plot of the 2008 financial crisis, this movie acts as a sequel to the original movie that came out more than two decades ago. Even after all this time, the movie significantly inspires financial brokers, bankers, and stockbrokers.
All the characters in the movie have different motivating factors that drive them to come up with their own perceptions about money. This makes the movie so interesting because you get to see the difference in how every person perceives money and success.
Despite these differences, the viewers are given a chance for retrospection as they learn every person’s reason is a good reason for them; hence, there’s no actual cure for greed in this world.
14. The Big Short
Year Of Release: 2015
This movie follows an interesting plot involving three stories that ultimately come together by the end of the movie. As a recurring theme, The Big Short also ends with the plot of the 2008 financial crisis. This movie was considered a Blockbuster and bagged hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.
It even went on to win a few Academy Awards, and rightly so because the movie t only the financial aspects and the well-known wall street greed and the consequences that it carries in everyone’s lives.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this movie. This is the reason why this is the perfect movie for anyone interested in learning the concepts and tactics of the stock market. It does not stray away from its main plot that much and keeps the viewer’s focus latched on to the events that eventually led to the housing crisis in 2008.
15. Money For Nothing: Inside The Federal Reserve
Year Of Release: 2013
This documentary movie seeks to explore the inside workings of the Federal Reserve, what the policymakers do to make these policies, and the consequences of implementing these policies.
In the movie, you’ll find the Federal reserve governors who formerly worked there being questioned about their policy-making system. It also covers interviews with the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volker, and some macroeconomists.
This is one of the most accurate and honest documentary movies in the genre that openly speaks about the US Monetary Policy in the most objective way possible. It truly gives its viewers a lot to think about after hearing what the current and former policymakers have to say about the consequences of their actions.
16. Boiler Room
Year Of Release: 2000
These movies take a long hard look into the life of a college drop-out who somehow lands himself a job as a broker. He works for an investment firm which you will find out is what gets him on the path to ultimate success in his life and career.
But like anyone without a firm hold on reality, he too falters because he becomes blinded by his success, which drives him to take a much darker path to get more. The problem begins when he starts to doubt whether or not the investment firm he is working for is a legitimate firm.
The movie focuses mostly on the rock bottom scheme in the financial ladder, which is a pump and dump system. In essence, it’s just a movie about a man trying to make a lot of money by trying his hands at stockbroking.
It gives you an idea of what to look for and what to expect from the market. You also learn how to differentiate a legitimate company from an illegitimate one.
Year Of Release: 2016
Unlike many financial movies, Equity takes on another path with the lead star as a female stockbroker. Even though men dominate a recurring theme in wall street movies, this new perspective gives viewers a look into the same type of story but through a different lens.
The protagonist, like anyone, wants to become successful following her career as a wall street trader but gets accused of suspected corruption. As she tries to clear her name from the books, she slowly starts to detangle the system tainted with corruption from the top.
While focusing on the financial aspects of the stock market, the movie also highlights the differences in struggles between a male and a female stockbroker. It’s a film that many women who are in the same industry might be able to relate to.
18. Inside Job
Year Of Release: 2010
Inside Job is a documentary film aiming to uncover the corruption brought about in the United States by the policies and practices in the corrupted financial system. It explores the different aspects of systemic corruption that ultimately led to the crisis in 2008 (subprime mortgage crisis).
As a documentary type of movie, you get to understand the causes of the crisis and the consequences that came from it. As an award-winning academy documentary, Inside Job did an excellent job grasping the attention of the world towards the real economic problems of corruption that are faced even in superpower countries like the united states.
This is not a movie for the casual viewer because it has no fictional type of happy or hopeful ending. It captures the financial crisis, the events that led up to it, and the consequences in blatant honesty that frankly feels a little demotivating for a change to come.
However, viewers have accepted this movie in a positive light, claiming that it is what the world needed to see and what the people needed to know.
Year Of Release: 2019
As a young stockbroker, the protagonist of the movie, Il-Hyun, is determined to succeed and make a lot of money. However, because of his ambitious nature, he risks everything when he gets involved with some shady business.
The Ticket is an anonymous entity that drags him into a life-threatening scam when he finds out that the Ticket is the one with control over the whole market.
20. Betting On Zero
Year Of Release: 2016
This is a documentary film that tried to dive deep into Herbalife, a global giant in nutrition. The movie revolves around Bill Ackman’s investment in the company and tries to explore the allegations made by others about how the company is actually a pyramid scheme.
There is nothing too informative about the financial sector or the stock market in this documentary, but it does explore the corruption of players even in “feel good” companies like Herbalife. In the film, Wall Street greed is thoroughly investigated through the declaration that Herbalife scammed many of its distributors.
Regardless of whether you want to pursue something related to finance or the stock market, these 20 wall street movies on Netflix can show you a small glimpse of what life in this industry looks like. While many of the movies tend to lean towards corruption and crime, it’s not to say that everything in the financial world is only about that life.
You can learn about the global market, how some tactics work, and what not to do in case you ever find yourself in such a situation. Pair your entertainment time with education by watching these movies and learning how the stock market works.