What’s the best movie about people in the financial services profession?

Updated April 2020: Spending more time at home lately and needing some movie recommendations? See below!

There are so, so, so many movies about cops and lawyers. If you’re in one of those professions, you could spend all day debating your pick for the movie that you think best represents your work, or is just the most entertaining despite not being realistic at all.

What about for people in the financial services profession? Investopedia recently published a list of “The 10 must-watch movies for finance professionals,” and it includes plenty of the picks you’d expect: “Wall Street,” the quintessential ’80s movie about greed; “Boiler Room,” the investment cautionary tale featuring one of Vin Diesel’s best performances (not saying much, but worth noting); “Glengarry Glen Ross,” which redefined coffee and people’s recognition of ethics among salespeople; “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the true story of the arguably even less ethical Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) that includes, among other things, a very memorable demonstration of how results-focused salespeople seek to create a need in buyers; and “The Big Short,” the informative and entertaining unraveling of the 2008 financial crisis from the lens of those who saw it coming. (Investopedia wisely points out the film’s clever technique of using celebrities like Margot Robbie and Anthony Bourdain to explain complex topics that viewers might otherwise try to ignore; “The Big Short” makes a lot of savvy choices, and that’s a big one.)

“Margin Call,” the lesser-known drama from 2011 about an investment firm dealing with the first 24 hours of recognition that the crisis was about to happen, is a nice addition to the list as well.

Yet as much as I like some of these movies (including the chilling “American Psycho”), you can’t deny that most of them are pretty ruthless. They align the financial world, usually focused on investments, with the types of people that create compelling drama on screen — and, for the movies based on real events, major profit and devastation off screen. I prefer this list of the “25 best insurance movies,” which includes classics like “Double Indemnity” and “The Apartment” as well as the funny, underseen “Cedar Rapids,” which stars Ed Helms and focuses on an annual conference for financial advisors.

I’d also add “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s devastating documentary about health insurance and the many reasons people suffer from a flawed system whether they’re covered or not; “The Queen of Versailles,” an unforgettable documentary about uncontrollable spending; “Inside Job,” the intelligent, Oscar-winning documentary about the 2008 financial crisis; and “Friends with Money,” an excellent drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Frances McDormand that provides a good look at the different financial situations among one social group and a reminder of the importance of getting to know each client’s situation to best understand their individual needs.

Is there a movie you’ve seen that you think captures the impact and purpose of being an advisor? What is your favorite movie involving insurance or the financial world as a whole?



  • Jack Stone says:

    Glen Garry – Glen Ross is excellent about a sales organisation of different levels of success and attitude and although it’s not about financial services (it about real estate selling) it typifies our business in a competitive environment – quite an old movie but well worth a watch

  • David Kinder, ChFC says:

    Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith.

Verified by ExactMetrics