10 Best Stock Market Movies to Watch on Netflix

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These are the 10 stock market movies that every investor should watch! Plus, they're all available on Netflix.

With a plethora of media content widely available to anyone who has internet access, watching movies can effectively enhance your knowledge and know-how. There’s no doubt that a considerable number of the population worldwide are subscribed to Netflix since it’s one of the strongest and most widely used subscription streaming services. While many people decide to stay inside their homes more often than before, online movie streaming has become more widely used. The great news is some movies are both educational and entertaining.

If you’re interested in learning about the stock market and the financial world, watching movies and some famous cinematic masterpieces can give you downright realistic financial and life lessons. The stock market is a complex topic to be discerned by anyone, but watching some educational movies about them can prep your mind early on. What’s even better is that these movies are entirely thrilling, award-winning, realistic, and star-studded. 

You can dive deeper into the stock market by checking more information online or start with this long list of stock market themed movies on Netflix if you want to enrich your financial market education:

stock market movies

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street 

Hollywood blockbuster, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ depicted Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s life and career. This character was portrayed by the ever-famous actor, Leonardo Dicaprio. The story showcases Belfort’s journey when he started an entry-level job, took part in massive losses on the stock market, got involved in some fishy stocks scheme, and decided to open his own firm. 

You can probably relate to him when you plan to start investing in the stock market. Belfort has a lot of trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In this movie, the corrupt underbelly of the finance world was clearly highlighted.

The movie is about the life and experiences of an infamous stock scammer, Jordan Belfort. Both Jonah Hill and Leonardo Dicaprio showcased their best acting skills in this movie. In real life, The Wolf of Wall Street revolves around Stratton Oakmont, a large public company that went public during the late 1980s and was involved in an illegal financial scheme. 

As you examine with a critical eye, you will see numerous tactics, strategies, and methods from The Wolf of Wall Street that can be applied in doing business. It’s highly critical that you specifically know what you want for your company to achieve, just like Belfort knew he wanted to get rich, no matter what the odds are. It was proven in this movie that you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you are more specific, and in the movie, Jordan Belfort illustrates this perfectly. He didn’t let the failure of his small business deter him, instead, he took it as a challenge to make him more determined to succeed on Wall Street.

3. The Big Short 

This movie is available on Netflix and comes with a thrilling synopsis. According to Wall Street guru Michael Burry, several subprime mortgages were at risk of defaulting in 2008. Burry risked his investors’ money by investing in credit default swaps worth more than USD $1 billion. The character in the movie named Jared Vennett was portrayed by Ryan Gosling, and a hedge-fund specialist named Mark Baum in the movie was characterized by Steve Carell. Aside from these two personalities, there are many other greedy characters in the story. Together, these men gained a sizable amount of profit from the imminent economic collapse in the United States (US) during those times.

This movie tells the story of a few savvy traders who envisioned before anybody else that a few smart traders triggered the housing bubble, which led to the crisis in 2007 and 2008. Three separate stories are told in the movie: Michael Burry’s successful fund venture, Jared Venett’s entrance into the Credit Default Swap (CDS) market, and Geller and Shipley’s massive shorting profits. In addition to focusing on debt securities, it also covers some critical trading concepts and provides insight into how unpredictable events can impact the stock market.

The Big Short was also considered as a Hollywood blockbuster and earned more than USD$130 million in the United States alone and won several Academy Awards. This movie taught valuable lessons about human nature, Wall Street greed, and how it can erode the lives of average Americans. This definitely is a must-watch movie for anyone who fancies the world of the stock market.

3. Rogue Trader 

Rogue Trader, which follows the story of Nick Leeson, who suddenly became successful and fails dramatically, it’s one of the most interesting movies to watch about the stock market because it teaches important lessons about risk management and financial oversight. It shows how Leeson uses carefully crafted accounts to make his superiors unaware of huge financial errors. The movie gives a peek into a trader’s mind and how he tries desperately to hide his blunders and oversights. And at some point, perhaps many other traders could relate to such tendencies.

Even though Leeson’s story is entertaining, it’s pretty instructive about risk management and financial inaccuracy. Nick Leeson’s book, ‘Rogue Trader: How I brought down Barings Bank and shook the world of finance,’ was the inspiration for the movie and one of the best examples of why a trader should never go against the market.

4. Betting On Zero 

Netflix has a film that explores the reality of Wall Street greed, and this is a movie entitled ‘Betting on Zero.’ Herbalife is a giant pyramid scheme according to Bill Ackman’s crusade. He discusses how the organization scammed distributors and how Herbalife’s C.E.O. disagreed throughout the presentation. 

Though not particularly distinctive in style, the nonfiction work Betting on Zero proves fascinating for its subject matter. Global nutritional giant Herbalife’s executives claim that hedge fund titan Bill Ackman is a market manipulator out to bankrupt them. In the movie, Bill Ackman was on his journey to expose Herbalife to be the biggest pyramid scheme ever and that completely eradicating and closing it down would be “good for America.” 

5. Barbarians At The Gate 

This movie is so popular that it won two Golden Globes awards and had 16 total nominations in the cinema industry. RJR Nabisco’s leveraged buyout is the focus of this true story. This movie revolved around the main character F. Ross Johnson who was portrayed by James Garner as the C.E.O. and president. He was in the process of trying to acquire the company, that’s why he hired Wall Street investment managers, but soon enough in the movie, they became his opponents.

Meanwhile, other key players begin to arise, including the ruthless executive Henry Kravis who was characterized by Jonathan Pryce, clashes started to build up between him and Johnson. With bids rolling in and Kravis making savvy moves, Johnson is faced with a dilemma on how to win over the rest.

The takeover of that company ended up with a staggering deal value of USD $25 billion, which is a classic example of the takeover spree taking place in the financial sector at the time. In the end of the movie, you’ll learn a great deal about corporate greed and the execution of multibillion-dollar deals.

6. Inside Job 

This documentary film tackles examining the financial practices and policies that led up to the 2008 crisis. In this documentary, which has been widely acclaimed, you will gain insight into the real-life causes and consequences of such a devastating event. Many viewers were hooked on this award-winning academy documentary, and many people view it as the best film about financial crises. 

This film explored the events that led up and contributed to the financial crisis then. With high-profile interviews and Matt Damon’s gripping narration, this film is a compelling true story wrapped up in informative interviews and excellent cinematography. Despite the movie’s lack of hope for change, the mere fact that such a film gained fame is a positive sign. It’s one of the best movies on the list and definitely a must-see.

7. Margin Call 

This film came out with eight awards and one Oscar nomination, which conveys why it’s a must-watch movie. In this film, you can get a glimpse into how fragile our financial system is and the possibility of total devastation during market shock waves. It was a roller coaster ride experience in 24 hours when the 2008 financial crisis was at its peak.

The key players in the investment firm were portrayed by Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany, who went to extreme measures when an analyst discloses information that could derail their entire business. In the story, an analyst at a financial company heading up a risk management division was fired. There were implications in the current project that he was handling but everybody ignored. Upon completing the analysis, his protege seeks out the actual reason behind the economic collapse.

Whenever an asset is sold at a steep discount, it’s called a fire sale. Since they can buy low and sell high, many investors are looking for these opportunities. That said, they buy undervalued products in bulk, and hope to profit from their eventual price increase when the price goes up. It’s fine to hoard super-cheap stocks, but you should think twice about why someone would want to offload them, especially if they’re in a hurry. This is one lesson that you need to learn from this movie. 

8. Equity

The story follows an investment banker trying to work her way up to a Wall Street firm while a prosecutor investigates suspected corruption. This is a refreshing take on male-dominated Wall Street movies, the movie ‘Equity’ follows a female financial banker on the streets of New York City. In the film, a woman strives to become a successful Wall Street trader, but unfortunately, was wrongly accused of being corrupt. 

She sets out on a quest to uncover a web of corruption within the system to prove her worth. Her close friend has betrayed her but she’s not giving up easily. This is one of the best stock market movies you can find which portrayed a female protagonist. It explores the difficulties that a woman faces when dealing with the tough nature of the stock market. Many female traders and bankers can surely relate to this film. 

9. Boiler Room 

Seth Davis is a college dropout in this 2000 drama film. An illegal investment firm in the suburbs hires him as a broker. As his career flourishes, he puts money above all else. But later, he begins to wonder whether the firm is legitimate. 

In contrast to Barbarians at the Gates, Boiler Room is based on the pump and dump scheme, an absolute bottom rung of the financial ladder. Although Boiler Room is a fictional work, pump-and-dump companies do exist, as well as the pain and suffering they cause their victims.

The film warns those beginning to invest in shares to stick with transparent and established companies based on solid fundamentals and never invest in companies that are too good to be true on the get-go. The alpha mentality of stockbrokers of the early 1990s drove their success, which is what you should adopt as well. Regardless of whether you sometimes fail, never forget that every opportunity can possibly be a great one.

10. Wall Street 

Nearly 30 years after it was made, Wall Street continues to wield tremendous power as a recruiting tool for stock traders, financial brokers, analysts, and bankers. A 23-year sequel to the original film, set in New York during the 2008 financial crisis. Michael Douglas portrays Gordon Gekko, a supposedly reformed criminal, along with him in the movie was his family, including his daughter Winnie, and her fiancé, Jacob Moore.

The characters all have unique perspectives on money, driven by different motivations. Bud wants to accumulate more money because he believes it will make him happy. Having more money is Gordon Gekko’s religion, and his life’s purpose is to acquire more of it. In Lou’s opinion, pursuing it will control your life and lead you down a path you do not wish to take. Carl does not need it and does not measure it. Despite what Gekko says, we know that greed, or the love of money, isn’t a good thing, as we can see from the movie ‘Wall Street’ as a life lesson.

Conclusion

Even if you aren’t considering a career in finance, these movies can give you a glimpse into how the field is absurdly wild and risky. Despite many of these stock market movies covering topics such as corruption and crime, they still provide valuable information about the stock market.

Through these films that provide insight into the global markets, you can combine education and entertainment at the same time. Check out these movies in your spare time, and ride on a roller coaster of emotions, that might awaken your interests in the financial sector.

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About the author

Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs is a personal finance expert, and the founder of My Millennial Guide, a personal finance site helping you put more money in your pocket. He helps millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. He regularly writes about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. He has been quoted as a top personal finance blogger in major publications including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, MSN Money and more.

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