With the chill of winter upon us, it’s the perfect time of year to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and indulge in a movie binge fest. Here’s a roundup of our 10 favorite movies about everyone’s favorite topic (or not): money. These films may be humorous and lighthearted, designed to make us laugh; or they might touch upon some darker issues related to money. Warning: spoiler alert.
10. Wall Street (1987)
This Oliver Stone classic starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas on insider trading, deceit, and the greed and excess of the ‘80s will have you on the edge of your seat.
What we can learn from it: Keep your money close and your enemies closer. Just kidding. This complex drama will have you thinking deeply about the heyday of ridiculous excess of the ‘80s and how greed can propel crooked acts. And even though Gordon Gekko (Douglas) is quite a depraved soul, we can’t help but admire his fancy cufflinks and pocket squares.
9. Richie Rich (1994)
Meet Richie Rich Jr., the world’s wealthiest kid. He has all the toys and not a single friend to enjoy them with. Will he be able to save the family fortune from the evil grasp of Lawrence Van Dough?
What we can learn from it: Money can’t buy you happiness or friends, but it will allow you to hire a family scientist to build crazy cool inventions that can help you find chocolate in a pile of presents.
8. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Based on the true story of one man’s struggle with homelessness, The Pursuit of Happyness chronicles Chris Gardner, a down-and-out salesman who is on the brink of a major career change. When his wife leaves him, Gardner finds himself strapped with his young son, an eviction notice, and a prestigious but unpaid internship at a stock brokerage. He works for a more promising future as he and his son live on the streets and are shuffled in and out of homeless shelters.
What we can learn from it: If you hit a low in life, with faith and perseverance, all things are possible. Just hang in there.
7. Trading Places (1983)
When a bet is wagered between two millionaires, the lives of two people from opposite sides of the tracks–an obnoxious, snooty investor (Dan Aykroyd) and hustlin’ hobo (Eddie Murphy) are reversed.
What we can learn from it: To really understand how the other half lives, try being in their shoes for a day—metaphorically, if not literally.
6. The Money Pit (1986)
A young couple thinks they scored a major deal on a gorgeous mansion—until they move in and it falls apart. Their attempts at fixing it up lead to greater disaster and more wasted money.
What we can learn from it: It’s foolish to keep dumping money into an endeavor that is just eating up your funds. Sometimes it’s best to just let it go (no need to sing the song from Frozen or anything). Also when it comes to real estate, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. There are hardly deals when it comes to buying or renting property; you really do get what you pay for.
5. Blank Check (1994)
When tweenster Preston gets his bike run over by a gangster on the lam, he accidentally is given a blank check—which he cashes in for a million dollars. His spending spree bliss is short-lived when the criminals want their money back.
What we can learn from it: There are times when we can all act like big kids with unlimited disposable income: we spend on frivolous things we don’t need and can’t really afford. Also: if your bike gets run over by a car, there’s a good chance you won’t rake in a million dollars from it.
4. Brewster’s Millions (1985)
What would you do if you needed to spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million, and you couldn’t tell anyone about it? That’s the dilemma faced by minor league baseball player Monty Brewster.
What we can learn from it: It’s pretty ridiculous and illogical to squander $30 million to make $300 million. Hate to be a buzz kill, but you’ll need to put that money toward investments to make it grow, not buy fancy toys.
3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This beloved classic Christmas film starring Jimmy Stewart is still poignant and relevant today. A guardian angel shows a man who is contemplating suicide what life would’ve been like for the people around him if he had never been born.
What we can learn from it: It isn’t the end of the world if you make a money mistake or have a lot of debt. Remember that you are greater than your money; it’s who you are as a human being and the impact you make in other people’s lives that are most important.
2. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
How far would you go to win a contest if your job is on the line? The movie adaption of David Mamet’s play follows four salesmen in the span of two days in a real estate office as they compete in a sales contest with some crazy incentives.
What we can learn from it: When you combine work and money and a contest, people can get a little nuts. So you might want to think twice about doing a weight loss contest at your workplace.
1. Inside Job (2010)
An in-depth look at the 2008 global economic crisis and the factors that led to the financial meltdown.
What we can learn from it: While it’s easy to point fingers, it’s important to look at the big picture and examine how financial problems can arise on a massive scale.
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the top films about money. What are some of your favorite films about the topic?