12 Must-See Movies For Entrepreneurs
As a busy entrepreneur running the day to day activity of your business, you ask yourself “what time do I have to see a movie?”, “is seeing a movie even important at this point in my career?”, probably “are there any movies for entrepreneurs that I can watch?”, or just whatever comes to your mind.
Well, some movies are important to see as they develop you mentally and help you grow due to the message they send out to viewers and, as an entrepreneur, you have to learn from notable people, what mistakes they made, how they strive to achieve success and basically everything they did that either made them or break them.
Want to find out important life lessons from Chris Gardner? Or how to avoid making the mistakes Bud Fox made? Want to know the best business skills to acquire? Want to see female entrepreneurs succeed despite all odd? Keep reading to find out what movies can inspire and turn you into a successful entrepreneur.
This post was inspired by Connect Nigeria
Startup.com (2001) is a documentary that shows the startup, growth and failure of media start-up company govWorks.com founded by Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman.
Both founders, at age 15 had a dream, just like any other kid their age, to develop their own computer technological company and become rich. In their late 20s, they come of with the idea to make them very rich; an online revenue collection web site for people to carryout their business with municipal governments (GovWorks.com); a way of paying public bills.
They launch their business and although it seems promising at first, things don’t go as planned as everything ends in folly when the company falls into its death due to a lot of things failing for example, their competitors being ahead of them, their stolen marketing strategy, lack of trust between Tuzman and Herman, Tuzman’s failed attempts to secure funding, etc.
Although the business crashed, and failed, it became a lesson learned; through failure than success and it shows how, when threatened by business partnerships, friendships can end and lead to lack of trust.
2. Catch Me if you Can:
Catch Me If You Can (2002) is a biographical crime movie that details the life of former impostor, con man and check forger, Frank Abagnale who, between the age of 15-18 had successfully conned millions of dollars by impersonating an airline pilot (stealing over $2.8 million), a doctor, and a lawyer. He was so good the FBI began using him to catch other check forgers.
A year after running away from home following his parents’ divorce and his conning, he falls in love with Brenda while impersonating a doctor, asks for her father’s permission to marry her and eventually reveals the truth about himself. Unfortunately he is unable to live out his love story as Carl, an FBI bank fraud agent who has been investigating Frank shows up at his engagement party. He escapes to Europe two days later and continues forging checks all over western Europe. Carl later traces Frank to to France, where he is arrested by the French police.
Years later, he finds out of his father’s death upon his return home from prison, and after a series of events, he surrenders to the police and gets a prison sentence of 12 years (he spends less than 5 years), where Carl visits him. On one visitation, he identifies an evidence with Carl (a check) as being fake.
Carl then makes an offer to Frank where he has to live the rest of his life working under the FBI, in their bank fraud unit, which he accepts. In the end, Frank is seen to have been married for 26 years, with 3 sons. He also earns millions of dollars from catching money forgers, and remains friends with Carl.
This movie is for those who have no idea what they want to do in life, as well as those who think the only way to make money is through “quick money” or illegal means.
Fyre (2019) is a documentary about con artist Billy McFarland and the disastrous Fyre Music Festival of 2017. It shows how the festival which had support from influencers and celebrities went from an exclusive event to a disaster that left people defrauded and also stranded on an island (The Bahamas) with almost no food, shelter, or a way home.
The bands said to perform, the stars meant to be present, the high class meals, exotic stay and everything promised were no where to be found. Everything turned out to be a lie as all the attendees of the festival saw were drenched hurricane tents, already made sandwiches, and no way off the island.
It showed how the festival was put together despite it being unable to happen in the slated months, and McFarland’s refusal to cancel it due to his inability to see that it was doomed to be a disaster from the start. In the end, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.
This movie shows the end result of “the blind leading the blind” into a picture of success that does not exist.
4. Lord of War:
Lord of War (2005) is war-crime film that shows the life of an Ukraine immigrant, Yuri Orlov who decides his only way to success is through illegal gun trade, which he eventually turns into a billion-dollar industry.
After witnessing the killing of two possible assassins by Russian mobster,Yuri is inspired to go into the arms trade in which he completes his first sale and then convinces his brother, Vitaly to become his partner. With time, he becomes successful, and his business comes to the notice of Interpol. At some point, Vitaly is shot and killed, which leads to Yuri getting disowned by his parents.
Irrespective of the bad side of his motives, Yuri’s ambition and ability to tolerate risk are some of the qualities entrepreneurs need in order to succeed. It also teaches entrepreneurs how to build customer loyalty, competitive strategy, problem solving skills, entrepreneurship skills, as well as negotiation techniques which can be used in the course of running a business.
More so, it also shows why most businesses fail through its display of supply-and-demand in this movie about success and money, by portraying how Yuri found a massive market, sourced products for the market, as well as sales and logistics in order for his business to grow.
5. Wall Street:
Wall Street (1987) portrays the bad effect of being pushed to your limit all in the pursuit for success. It tells the story of a young, ambitious stockbroker, Bud Fox who, adopting the “greed is good” slogan is caught in the economic turbulence of Wall Street as he is entangled in Gekko’s scrupulous insider trading ring.
Bud, through his businesses with Gekko becomes rich. He gathers inside information in order to make more money for him and Gekko; some of which attracts the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission. When Carl, his father suffers a heart attack as a result of Gekko planning to sell Bluestar’s assets which will leave Carl and the entire Bluestar staff unemployed, Bud comes up with a plan to drive up Bluestar’s stock before manipulating it back down again.
He succeeds, but is arrested for insider trading. In the end, Bud sets Gekko up and takes the proof to the authorities.
Mirroring the capital market, this movie shows how easy it is to be carried away by the wealthy lifestyle when you give into ambition and greed. More so, it shows how greed can push susceptible, inexperienced entrepreneurs into making immoral decisions as a result of over ambition which prevents them from doing the right thing.
6. Rogue Trader:
Rogue Trader (1999) portrays the true life story of an employee of Barings Bank; an ambitious investment broker, Nick Leeson who singlehandedly bankrupted and brought down Barings, one of the most important banks in England.
Leeson, is one of Barings’ key traders however, through an 88888 error account, he hides a huge loss when he gambles away Barings’ money. The loss amounts to over £800 million and he eventually escapes to Malaysia where he reads in the newspaper that Barings has gone bankrupt. He decides to return back, and is eventually arrested. In the end, he was sentenced to 6 years in prison for insider trading and fraud, where he is diagnosed with colon cancer.
It shows the evil effects of money to those who think having money or power will make them indispensable; as well as how money drives people into all sorts of raving behavior.
7. Twelve Angry Men:
Twelve Angry Men (1957) is a courtroom drama that shows the layers of insight on leadership.
It tells the story of of 12 juries (all men) who are forced to question their values as they determine either the conviction or acquittal of a defendant (an 18 year old male from the slum who is on trial for allegedly stabbing his father to death) on the basis of reasonable doubt, with the witnesses being a lady across the street and an old man. If found guilty, he is to be sentenced to death although on the basis of reasonable doubt, he is to be found “not guilty”.
All jurors vote “guilty” except Juror 8 on the basis of reasonable doubt. He convinces or rather explains the circumstances to the juror, all of whom change their verdict one by one to “not guilty”, except juror 3. In the end, he votes “not guilty” and the vote becomes unanimous.
This movie teaches you to evaluate your self-image from your observation of the action and personality of the jurors.
8. Office Space:
Office Space (1999) is comedy that focuses on individuals who are fed up of their job by satirizing the everyday corporate work life a 1990s software company, addressing topics like work relationships and office politics.
It looks at the lives of software company (Initech) workers who suffer under mismanagement; Peter Gibbons, a frustrated programmer who hates his job, Michael Bolton, Samir Nagheenanajar, a programmer who is annoyed that no one can pronounce his last name correctly, Milton Waddams, an ignored collator and Tom Smykowski, a sales engineer constantly worried about losing his job.
Peter, after hearing and telling Michael and Samir that their jobs will be eliminated, all decide to infect Initech’s accounting system with a virus that diverts fractions of pennies into a bank account. A bug causes the virus to steal over $300,000 in a few days, and Peter decides to take full responsibility. He writes a confession and slips it, along with a traveler’s cheque for the stolen money under Lumbergh’s office door late at night.
In the end, Initech is set on fire. Milton finds the travelers cheque and is seen on a beach in Mexico (but he is still not happy), Peter finds a construction work which he enjoys doing, while Michael and Samir start working at Initech’s rival, Initrode.This movie will leave you thinking about career development, leadership and team building.
9. The Founder:
The Founder (2016) is a biographical film that tells the story of an unsuccessful salesman, Ray Kroc, who, with persistence and ambition turned the McDonald brothers’ innovative fast food eatery into a national success.
This inspirational movie portrays the true life story of Croc’s business failure and the creation of the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain.
While selling Prince Castle brand milkshake mixers, he encounters many badly run drive-in restaurants, till he learns of a drive-in (McDonald’s) that orders an unusually large number of milkshake mixers. He drives to California to see it, where he meets the two McDonald brothers, Maurice “Mac” and Richard “Dick” McDonald and learns about the origin of McDonald’s.
He then convinces the brothers who agree to a contract to allow him lead their franchise efforts. After some failed efforts, he tries a new strategy that works and begins representing himself as the founder of McDonald’s. He faces a lot of obstacles and financial challenges along the way, which he eventually overcomes. In the end, he later buys McDonald’s from the two brothers.
Entrepreneurs can relate to Croc’s journey to success because despite failing severally in his ventures, he had an idea and pursued it with vigor thus, leading to his success.
Joy (2015), is a movie about a female entrepreneur, Joy who became a self-made millionaire by creating her own business, a the Miracle Mop.
It tells the story of an airline booking agent and a single mother who despite struggling financially with a complicated family life overcame imaginable odds to become a successful businesswoman. She dealt with tragic events, betrayal from business partners, rejection and so on yet, she fought her way to success even when defeat seemed inevitable.
Mimi and Jackie encourages Joy to pursue her inventing ambitions, which she does. She designs and builds an innovative self-wringing app. A wealthy Italian widow, Trudy, decides to invest in Joy’s product and they arrange with a company to manufacture the mop’s parts at a lower price. She then meets QVC executive, Neil Walker who agrees to sell her mops on TV; but it fails when Walker wrongly demonstrates the product.
She ends up doing a second infomercial which becomes a success as the mop sells out, earning thousands of dollars. Her business later becomes financially jeopardized when Peggy pays the manufacturers excessive overcharges without Joy’s consent, and they, in turn refuse to give a refund.
Furthermore, due to a loophole in the contract, they fraudulently take Joy’s mop designs as their own, leaving her to file for bankruptcy. Through a threat of criminal charges after realizing she has been defrauded, the owner of the manufacturing company pays for damages, refunds the overcharges, and drops any claim of ownership of her mops.
She eventually becomes a successful, independent businesswoman who sponsors other inventors, and, she moves to HSN. This inspirational movie teaches you that perseverance triumphs over any other skill in business whilst providing the pros and cons of venturing into a business.
11. The Pursuit of Happyness:
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) is a biographical film that tells the almost one year struggle of an homeless entrepreneur, Chris Gardner. This is one of the most inspirational and motivational movies about business success that you can watch.
Gardner, a homeless salesman, barely employed takes custody of his 5 year old son, Christopher Jr. He loses everything he has and is evicted from his apartments, so he and his son find themselves with no where to go.
He takes an unpaid job as an intern stockbroker in addition to being a salesman. Linda, his wife travels to New York, leaving Christopher with Gardner. His account is seized for unpaid income taxes, he and Christopher are evicted and he is left with less than $21.
At one point, he and Christopher stay in a restroom at a BART station, while sometimes, they spend nights at a homeless shelter, and when he manages to acquire some cash, they stay at a hotel. Irrespective of his life challenges, he never mentions his circumstances to anyone, or even lend one of his bosses $5 for cab fare, as he cannot afford it.
He eventually wins the full-time position as a stockbroker. In the end, he and Christopher, on their way back from Christopher’s daycare, walk down the street, as they joke with each other. The epilogue shows that he later went on to form his own multimillion-dollar brokerage firm.
Watching him overcome all the odds, will inspire you to chase your passion and sacrifice everything you have to achieve success. Like he says: “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?”
12. The Social Network:
The Social Network (2010), is a biographical movie that tells the story of the rise of Mark Zuckerberg and how he created Facebook while he was a student at Harvard. Click here to read about all about Mark Zuckerberg’s life-changing advice from his experience in creating Facebook.
In this movie, and from Mark’s life, seeing how regardless of what he was doing, he was primarily focused on his project at hand teaches entrepreneurs the importance of being focused on a set goal. It also teaches the importance of taking fast action and implementing your ideas the minute you have it as well as the importance of taking risks in order to win.