Stock markets are interesting in more ways than one. It has been incarnated in the motion picture world many times in the past few years. With the help of such movies, we have witnessed not just the technicalities, but also the grief, complexity, scams, loopholes, and a host of human feelings that come along while being associated with the markets.
Here’s a list of stock market movies or web series on finance and stock markets:
The Big Short
If you are looking for stock market movies on Amazon Prime, check out The Big Short. This 2015 multi-starrer features top stars Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, and Ryan Gosling. Directed by Adam McKay, The Big Short focuses on the US mortgage housing crisis of 2005. It is about the financial professionals who had not only rightly predicted the housing bubble collapse in 2007 but also profited from it, while many lost money due to the crisis.
Netflix’s Billions featuring Damian Lewis and Chuck Rhoades is the story of a collision between a win-at-all-costs hedge fund manager and an idealistic attorney. This stock market web series on Netflix is currently in its fifth season and has been renewed for a sixth season.
Scam 1992 is a web series on the Indian stock market and the only stock market series in Hindi so far. Based on a book by author Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal, this series on the stock market in India tells the story of Harshad Mehta and his role in the 1992 securities scam. It is a detailed account of how Mehta manipulated the market along with other players, such as bankers and politicians, leading to one of India’s biggest stock market crashes.
Wall Street is a popular choice in the list of stock market movies. This 1987 Michael Douglas movie was directed by Oliver Stone. Douglas plays Gordon Gekko, a greedy Wall Street professional who lures a young stockbroker into insider trading but eventually gets beaten at his own game. Charlie Sheen plays Bud Fox, the young stockbroker who devises a scheme to trap Gekko.
Inside Job (2010), a documentary directed by Charles Ferguson, focuses on the global financial crisis of 2008. Narrated by Matt Damon, it covers a detailed analysis of factors that led to the crisis and talks about the key players involved. Inside Job features multiple interviews with people involved in financial markets, politicians, and journalists.
This 2000 movie by director Ben Younger tells the story of a college dropout who gets involved in a call centre, selling speculative or questionable investments. The movie stars Giovanni Ribisi and Nia Long in leading roles, with Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck in important roles. Seth Davis, the main character played by Ribisi, is a disappointment for his father. Boiler Room explores his moral conflicts on getting rich and also how unethical brokerage firms can dupe investors.
The Wolf of Wall Street
In this 2013 movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker. The Martin Scorsese-directed drama tells the true story of Belfort and his rise and fall as a stockbroker. Though Belfort became very wealthy quickly by dumping penny stocks on unaware investors, drugs, lies, and greed ultimately led to his downfall.
Released in 1999, Rogue Trader features Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel and is directed by James Dearden. The movie is the true story of Nick Leeson, a rogue trader who made fraudulent and speculative trades. His irresponsible actions ultimately led to the bankruptcy of the Barings Bank, a British bank, which lost $1.3 billion.
The Wizard of Lies
Robert De Niro takes on the role of Bernie Madoff in this 2017 movie. Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme, the largest in US history, that robbed $65 billion from innocent targets. The Wizard of Lies is about the life of Madoff, who was once known as a successful investment professional and a philanthropist until it became clear that he was running a financial pyramid.
Boom Bust Boom
Presented and co-directed by Terry Jones, this 2015 documentary is about the history of economic cycles. Unlike usual finance/stock market movies, Boom Bust Boom uses puppetry and animation along with insights from Nobel prize-winning economists Daniel Kahneman, Robert J. Shiller, and Paul Krugman. With its unique take on the causes of economic crashes, the movie aims to educate people and change the economic system through education.
Margin Call is a 2011 movie directed by J.C. Chandler. Featuring stars like Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore, the movie is a financial thriller about events in a large Wall Street bank at the early stage of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The movie, set over 24 hours, is about actions taken by the employees of an investment bank towards damage control in the stock market.
This Indian crime drama, released in 2006, is loosely inspired by the stock market scam of 1992. Directed by Sameer Hanchate, the movie follows the journey of a young man into the stock market. The ambitious young man, played by Vinod Sharawat, ultimately gets caught in a web of crime and greed. The movie also stars Vikram Gokhale and Shruti Ulfat in important roles.
Are all stock market movies in English?
Most of the stock market movies are in English. However, there are a few movies in Hindi as well, such as Bazaar (2018) and Big Bull (2021). While not directly focused on the stock market, the movie Corporate (2006) provides some good business-related entertainment.
Can you use the lessons from stock market movies for trading?
Most people prefer to watch stock market movies for entertainment. Some movies provide helpful lessons on the risks of market manipulation and irresponsible investing using borrowed money, but most movies focus on greed and extreme highs and lows. However, there is no movie on investors who have made fortune through disciplined investing in the stock market.
- Margin Call, Inside Job, and The Big Short revolve around the global financial crisis of 2008.
- Inside Job and Boom Bust Boom are documentaries.
- Some movies like the Margin Call and Wall Street are entirely fictional, while some are fictional movies based on true stories.
Stock market movies and series are a great source of entertainment. They help in improving the understanding of stock markets and provides a good perspective on the profession as well.
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