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20 Movies All Entrepreneurs Should Watch

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Movies are a great way to learn from others as stories, fiction and non fiction, are taught to the viewer in an easy to understand way. There’s a lot to be learnt from these stories as they show you how exceptional people who have come before you have done it.

#1. The Godfather

An offer you can’t refuse.

One of the greatest films in the world based on the best book I’ve ever read. The Godfather is the story about the growth of a small family business as it becomes the largest organized crime family in New York, fighting off opposition at any expense. The Godfather and his son Michael Corleone are the brains behind the family and this film gives you an insight into what it takes to become one of the most powerful family businesses in the country.

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#2. Glengarry Glen Ross

Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

In the fast paced world of Chicago real estate, competition and incentive is what decides who’s the best. That’s why they’re having a little sales competition – First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is you’re fired. With stakes that high, and the pressure on, the salesmen show that they’re willing to do anything it takes to succeed in business, but the most interesting part of this is film, is what exactly that is.

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#3. Wall Street

Every dream has its price.

In the life of an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud Fox will do just about anything it takes to succeed, and for him, that includes a little bit of insider trading. See what happens when the desire to succeed takes over your life and the motto of ‘Greed is good’ directs how you do business. But what happens when you’re pushed to your limits and asked to do something you can’t or won’t do? Suddenly everything comes to a head when Fox is asked to help do something, not only illegal, but morally reprehensible.

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#4. The Game

There are no rules in The Game.

What do you get the guy who has everything? Nicholas Van Orton (played by Michael Douglas) is a wealthy San Francisco banker who’s life is wrapped up in his business, which has left him as somewhat of a loner. His brother Conrad gives him the gift of a lifetime, which would prove to change his perspective on the world and the way that he’s going to live it. When bad things start to happen to you, you start to question what’s really important in live, business, success and money, or actually living?

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#5. Boiler Room

Motion creates Emotion!

After entering the stockbroking profession to impress his father, Seth Davis, a Queens College dropout, soon realizes the huge earning potential ahead of him. But with commissions much larger than any other company, Seth soon learns that not everything is what it’s cracked up to be and he’s forced to face the dilemma of money and greed vs. morals and legality. For any young entrepreneur starting out in business, it’s a very real possibility that you’re going to face moral dilemmas and the way that they’re dealt with in this film is very eye opening.

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#6. Jerry Maguire

The rest of his life begins now.

This is a story about a man who’s at the top of his game; beautiful partner, the biggest clients, lots of respect. But then he decides to step back and question it all and proposes his new thoughts to the rest of the company, which ultimately ends in him losing it all. Everyone turns his back on him, except for one, very volatile client, Rod Tidwell. From here you see Jerry examine what it really important to his business and life and works towards bringing it all back together again, only this time, the way it should be.

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#7. Trading Places

Take two complete strangers, make one of them rich the other poor… just watch the fun while they’re… Trading Places.

What happens when you take the rich and the poor and make them switch places? A social experiment ran by Mortimer and Randolph Duke, brother and owners of a commodities brokerage firm, proves to be very interesting when the switched pair run into each other. A life changing event for both of them, poses the question of what’s more important in life, friends and love, or money and power?

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#8. Office Space

Work Sucks.

When your hypnotist dies just after they’ve put you in a state of complete bliss, you can’t help but have a refreshing outlook on life. If there’s ever a film to make you want to get out of a desk job in the corporate world, then this is it. Peter Gibbons is a man who can’t help but be promoted as he consistently starts to slack off and do things his own way, but trouble starts to arise when his new careless nature starts to lead to him stealing from the company in a much bigger way than he expected.

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#9. Pursuit of Happyness

Based on a true story.

This is a real life story of a man who believes so badly in a product that he can’t sell that he ends up losing his house, his wife and his money, being left with just himself and his son. This in itself is an important lesson to be learnt, but it’s the steps that he takes from here that really shape him into who he becomes. Against all odds, he takes an unpaid internship to become a stockbroker, fighting against his peers for a single job at the end of it. This is a powerful true story that sticks with you as you face your own personal struggles in business.

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#10. Catch Me If You Can

The true story of a real fake.

Again, this is another true story, about a young conman who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer and history professor during his stint as fraudulent cheque casher. What’s amazing about this film and the life of Frank Abegnale Jr. is how much he managed to achieve in a much tougher environment and under more stress than most people are used to. Whether it’s legal or not, business is business and Frank was one of the best at what he did.

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#11. Wolf of Wall Street

There’s no nobility in poverty.

This is a story of a man who went from nothing tom something, and something very big at that. It’s an inspirational film for the amount of perseverance Jordan Belfort puts into it, but that’s not what I love the most about this film. This movie does a great job at depicting how business cultures are created in fast-growth companies (minus the corruption seen in this one).

Belfort’s rallying cry of “Don’t take no for an answer” is specific to the mission of his company. My team and I use the rallying cry “total contact” which means all team members own the solution to any problems brought to their attention — no passing off to somebody else.

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#12. Shawshank Redemption

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

This is one of the greatest films of all time, and one I’m sure that the majority of readers have seen before, purely because of its undeniable greatness. It’s the story of a man who manages to succeed in the worst possible conditions imaginable – false imprisonment for the murder of his cheating wife and lover. From making friends with another con inside the prison, Andy manages to make the best out of a very bad situation and through perseverance manages to achieve more than he ever thought possible.

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#13. The Social Network

You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies

This is another story of the young, successful and intelligent man, only this time, it’s based on a true story of the world’s youngest billionaire – Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and owner of Facebook. The story is pretty amazing and has been made famous by this film, he starts off as a Harvard student with a strong streak of arrogance and huge potential, he creates a new social network based upon the most prestigious email address in the country, the Harvard email address. The rest, as they say, is history.

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#14. Pirates of Silicon Valley

Good artists copy… Great artists steal.

There are no two bigger names in technology than Microsoft and Apple and this is their story. This is an amusing documentary style film about their competition and their rise to the enormous companies that they are today. It’s slightly dated today, and perhaps The Social Network is a little bit more relevant, but it still holds some very valuable information and pointers to learn from. After all, you’re gotta be a pretty special person to become as powerful as they have.

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#15. Forrest Gump

The story of a lifetime.

This is a simple man with good intentions, who accidentally becomes phenomenally successful from living his life the best way he knows how. He wins medals, becomes a professional ping-pong player, takes up running, owns a huge shrimping company and inspires people all across the country. The simple nature of Forrest makes him very appealing to world as he proves that you don’t have to be a super genius to make something work, you just have to try.

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#16. Blow

Based on a true story.

Another great film based on a true story, this time only slightly more illegal than the last, it’s a film based on George Jung and his career as a cocaine dealer. What started off as a small time operation working with pot, he is eventually imprisoned and introduced to cocaine and that’s where things start to explode. He’s rumored to have handled about 85% of all of the supply of cocaine in the 1970’s, making him an incredibly powerful and successful man, and this film is all about exactly how he did it.

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#17. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Nice guys finish last. Meet the winners.

This is the story about two con men, big time and small time, and their struggle to compete together in a small French town which isn’t big enough for the both of them. So they decide to take part in a bet in which the loser leaves town and allows the other to carry on with their business. The only problem is that the bet is to see who can extract $50,o00 from a young female target – a pretty high stake. Of course hilarity ensues as you get to watch how the minds of con men work as they compete against each other to reach the goal first.

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#18. The Aviator

Some men dream the future. He built it.

A biopic depicting the early years of director and aviator Howard Hughes’ career from the late 1920’s to mid 40’s. It wasn’t the money he made or the time he spent that made him so great, it was the attention to detail and perfection that he strived for that set him apart from his competition. He faced many obstacles along the way from rival companies and malicious rumors, but nothing stopped him from becoming exactly who he wanted to be.

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#19. Risky Business

There’s a time for playing it safe and a time for Risky Business.

A good story about what you have to do when you take your dad’s Porsche out for a trip and start to realize that you’re going to need a lot of money, which you’re going to have to raise in a very creative way. With his parents away and responsibility out of the window, Joel starts to realize that it’s not all as easy as he was expecting, having to look after friends and source cash any way he can. An interesting look at what people can come up with when they’re put on the spot to come up with some fast cash.

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#20. The Corporation

This film takes a good, long look at what happens when you take a business and you model it to be legally a person – a corporation. What happens though when the sole purpose of this person is to make money for its shareholders though? It starts to act without a conscience which threatens the world, our future and the people working for it. This isn’t just a film about evil corporations though, it’s also about what we can do to stop them from taking over everything that we know. I saw this film in the cinema and it’s well worth seeing again, it’s completely eye opening.

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Now you know which 20 movies you should definitely watch as an entrepreneur!

Perhaps one day we’ll be watching a movie about your success.

To our success!

-Team IncomeDiary

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Comments

  1. Amanda Miller says:

    Great list! The Shawshank Redemption and GGGR are two of my personal favs. ABC..

  2. Jamie Northrup says:

    Boiler Room is my favorite movie of all time, I have the movie poster framed on the wall in my office.

  3. Superb list Michael – I like them all and there are a few I would add: ‘The Firm’ and Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ both about being trapped in a terrible job – love those, and am thankful that I work from home in my own business and in my own time… thanks to the internet!!!

  4. Steve@Internet Lifestyle says:

    A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.

    LOL,

    Love this list. I am a pretty big movie fan and i have seen all of these except “Pirates of Silicon Valley

    Great list and great points on why they are great for entrepreneurs.

  5. Geoffrey Gordon says:

    Love the pursuit of happyness, great list Josh. I personally would add superhero movies because they really help inspire you like… The Dark Knight 🙂

  6. All good movies Michael but hardly required for entrepenuers. With the exception of “Pursuit of Happyness” and “Rocky” and “The Aviator”, I think there are more inspiring Movies to watch. 2 of my favorites are “Rudy” and “The Jolson Story” ( Original Old Al Jolson Bio Movie) These two movies were about people who not only wanted something in life but they would stop at nothing to have it. Another great movie of inspiration I like is “Ray” with Jamie Fox as Ray Charles. Great movie about striving to “BE” while facing difficult obstacles.

  7. Faisal Javed Mir says:

    Superb list and great work done, Michael.

  8. Internet Marketing With Mark says:

    great list, gotta love wall street, definitely a favourite… I like the 2nd one too but 1st is better I must say. Catch me if you can is another cool film

  9. Mark Hibbitts says:

    Great list! Notice though how so many movies depict the rich as money grabbing, dishonest, and greedy… and that’s in kids films too. When you consider how much of this programming we are subjected to from an early age it’s really no wonder that so many people end up poor. How many people want to be crooks? Not many, so if you subconsciously think that’s what you need to be you’ll sabotage your success every time you get close.

    Good movies nonetheless 🙂

  10. Wall street – check the size of Michael Douglas’s cellphone, haha, that’s my best part!

  11. Nice list Josh
    I’ve seen them all! Shawshank is one of the best movies of all time…I think you gotta throw Scarface in there too…How to win friends and influence people 🙂
    Mark

  12. Hi Josh
    The Last Don has a twist in the tail. Working Girl shows that honesty pays in the end. The Hurricane is about gross in justice and also about people dedicated to helping others unselfishly.
    Some of my favourite films really inspire me to work, I love to have them running quietly in the background.
    Dee

  13. I’ve seen several of those movies and they were very inspirational.

  14. fazal mayar says:

    great list mate, we can definitely learn from movies as entrepreneurs and learn from people’s successes or mistakes

  15. This is a fantastic list. I especially love “The Pursuit Of Happyness.” What’s great about this movie is that it’s based on a true rags to riches story of how the character overcame so many struggles to become a successful stockbroker.

    The most important messages that I received from this movie is to follow your dreams and never give up and become Unstoppable.

  16. I think I understand where you were going with this post, Josh.

    Each movie example you presented showed how people from a wide range of circumstances(And totally different environments) could show initiative and entrepreneurial smarts, in spite of the unique obstacles they were facing.

  17. I have seen 16 out of the 20. The Social Network and The Pirates of Silicon Valley are two I want to see. Are entrepreneurs more movie goers?

  18. Great list. Lots of inspirational films that I’ve seen and some that I haven’t (now put on the “to watch list”). Would also add “Wag the Dog” – great movie to get you thinking how to create a “buzz” about your business.

  19. Brian Hamlett says:

    While this is definitely an excellent list. Let me back up further than the determination, hope, fight, playing-the-game, taking chances movies and focus in on one that deals with the mindset needed for a successful entrepreneur.

    Dead Poets Society

    Focuses in on having a world-view perspective that is non-conforming, always looking at things differently, and following a passion – even if it doesn’t make much logical sense in the world of business.

  20. Prasanth Chandra says:

    Awesome list full of my all time favorite movies.. Seen them all..

    Each movie inspires you and helps you to push harder and work better..

  21. Aremanda Mason says:

    Wow! This is an awesome list. I’m always searching for great list like this…I recently picked up Glengary Glen Ross from my local library (great place to find good movies). I really enjoyed it too.

  22. Ruth Anne Wood, producer says:

    I hope to add my movie in the works Opulas to the list every entrepreneur should watch. I’m putting together a group of superstar entrepreneurs/investors to co-star with Hollywood actors with my friend Rick Toone who shot many (40+) super bowl ads and movies including “Saving Private Ryan”. Want to get involved? Email me at ruth@scriptingforsuccess.com and like Opulas! TAGLINE “A second chance to live a life of health, wealth, love and opulence”

  23. Praveen Rajarao says:

    This is a complete list, my favorites are Forrest Gump & Shawshank Redemption. I think I would add The Terminal to this list, one of my favorite movies of all time.

  24. What a great list – such inspiring movies! The Pursuit of Happyness is probably the best of the best. I’ve seen many of the movies you picked and absolutely love every one of them, so I know I need to see the rest!

    Thanks, Josh!

  25. fred mwabamba says:

    Michael u have touched me a lot, i was reviewing your post with my brother and he just say wow!! this guys was in your head. The godfather my number one in the list.

  26. Great list, i would add Limitless to it :).
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219289/

  27. Pursuit of Happyness is my all time favorite followed by Forest Gump..

  28. Joshua Zamora says:

    Great list! I love boiler room and pursuit of happyness.

    Blow was great too LOL

  29. Tinashe Noel Tafira says:

    Thanks very much Josh and Michael for the inspiration i get from all your articles.The most dangerous & unstoppable person in the world is one who is inspired…with your inspiring articles i am destined for greatness….superb movie list gents!!!

  30. I haven’t seen Blow yet, I might hire that out soon.

    I saw a short video the other day online (more a motivational thing) and that was really good and inspirational. I like working out and be active so it was pretty effective.

    Here is the video if you are interested: http://www.myrun.com.au/how-bad-do-you-want-it

    Hope it can motivate you 🙂

  31. Hi Michael,

    This is a very interesting list. Thank you for taking the time to search and post them.

  32. Jimmy Shilaho says:

    Brilliant selections Mike.

  33. Richard John says:

    I’m going in this week on some of these films. Thanks for the insight Josh.

  34. GarryMoss says:

    I would have added: The Neverending Story, The Matrix, Facing the Giants (might want to discount the preachiness, keeping in mind that it’s about a Christian High School), and Peaceful Warrior.