The subject of finance has long been present in Hollywood, particularly in recent decades. From thoughtful documentaries that shed light on critical issues that affect the U.S. economy to movies that sensationalize Wall Street, these films have provided both entertainment and insight into the financial industry.
In the spirit of the upcoming summer break and every student’s need for some down time, here are our top picks for movies Bachelors in Business Administration Finance students can enjoy.
Based on a book by Michael Lewis, Big Short is a comedy-drama about the financial crisis of 2007-2008, triggered by the collapse of the housing market. The film is credited for its ability to explain complex financial concepts using funny analogies that are easy for anyone to follow. Beyond breaking down what led to the housing market crash, the movie uses a character-driven narrative to explore personal characteristics of those who followed their intuition to uncover what everyone missed despite being doubted all along.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
This film is a 2005 documentary that examines the collapse of Enron Corporation, an energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. Following its collapse, several of the company’s top executives faced criminal charges for unethical trading practices. The film also shows the company’s involvement with California electricity crisis caused by Enron traders who shut down power plants to create a perception of power shortages, thus driving up the cost of electricity to their benefit.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Starring Shia LaBeouf and Michael Douglas, this drama is both a Wall Street story and one of confronting one’s conscience in the climb toward the top. Following his imprisonment for insider trading, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, looks to rebuild his old life while repairing his relationship with his daughter. In an unlikely friendship with his daughter’s fiancé Jake, played by Shia LaBeouf, Gordon’s priorities surface only to show that his time away did little to change who he is deep inside: grand manipulator.
This 2010 documentary film examines how the late-2000s financial crisis came about as well as the role of financial services industry and its systematic corruption. The film is divided into five chronological parts, talking the viewer from how the problem started, through the crisis, and where the country and financial industry stand as of 2010. The film also identifies key political forces and players that have contributed to the problem.