Stay on your Hustle: The 22 Best Entrepreneurial Movies

Stay on your Hustle The 22 Best Entrepreneurial Movies

Running a business is hard.

The below movies are great for a break and can help you remember why you got into business in the first place.

This post was brought to you by Process Street, proces management software for teams. Check out the process manifesto.

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

“I believe in total immersion, if you want to be rich, you have to program your mind to be rich. You have to unlearn all the thoughts that were making you poor and replace them with new thoughts – rich thoughts.”

Wolf of Wall Street is a must-see for individuals who are partaking in new ventures, small-to-medium-sized businesses or even large corporations. The film is based on the true story of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort; a stockbroker who eventually runs a firm that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s. While Mr. Belfort was taken for fraud and corruption, the story is fantastic: a man who starts out as the lowest on the totem pole rises up and soon makes close to $1 million dollars USD per week. Needless to say, Wolf of Wall Street is packed with motivational pieces and a quick lesson on the do’s and don’ts in business.

Jobs (2013)

“Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is a name that is recognized worldwide. This film traces his career from the early years in his Palo Alto garage to his rise as one of the most admired innovators in the computing industry. The movie focuses on the key moments that drove Jobs’ success, in addition, the conversations that made him a controversial figure as well as a deeply complex man who dedicated his life to revolutionizing the way the world uses computers.

The Godfather (1972, 1974, 1990)

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” 

One of the most popular book to movie adaptations of all time focuses on the Corleone family and how they headed the largest organized crime group in New York. It chronicles the growth of a small family business to one of the most powerful in the United States. It’s basically all about being ruthless and letting nothing stand in the way of success.

Rocky (1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2006)

“You’re gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you’ve ever dreamed. But when it’s over, I know you’ll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it.” 

Follow your dreams; that’s what this movie is all about. One of the most fascinating aspects of this film is the back story. Sylvester Stallone was flat out broke but he had ambition. It only took him 24 hours to write the entire script for Rocky. He tried and failed to sell the movie because his only condition could not be met: he wanted to play Rocky. He turned down as much as $400,000 in the process. Finally, for a much smaller amount, he was able to sell the movie. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Risky Business (1983)

“Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.”

The film that launched Tom Cruise to stardom is about high school student who comes from a rich family, Joel Goodson. When his parents go out of town, hijinks ensue. An unauthorized trip in his father’s Porsche consequently leads to a need for a large amount of cash. Joel has to think of creative ways to raise cash in a short amount of time. Not only is this film hilarious, it gives us a good insight of what lengths people are willing to go to for cash.

Trading Places (1983)

“Think big, think positive. Never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Buy low, sell high. Fear . . . that’s the other guy’s problem.”

Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd star in this film about what happens when a poor man and a rich man, well…trade places. The switch is brought about by the wealthy Duke brothers played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche. A one-dollar bet is made over heredity vs. environment. Can an impoverished street hustler (Eddie Murphy) thrive in a commodities brokerage career with the right kind of training? On the other hand, can an aristocratic yuppie (Dan Aykroyd) survive without his riches?  Needless to say, both of their lives change drastically and an important life question is posed: friends and love or money and power?

Wall Street (1987)

“Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life. Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.”

This film focuses on Bud Fox, a young and ambitious stockbroker who will stop at nothing to succeed. He gets involved in insider trading and basically lets his desire to succeed take over his life, subscribing to the motto that “greed is good”. His limits are put to the test when he’s asked to do something beyond his moral boundaries.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

“A poacher who shoots at rabbits may scare big game away.”

A small-time and big-time conman try to work together but are unsuccessful. They decide that one of them has to leave town and who gets to stay is determined by a bet. Whoever extracts $50.000 from a young female target wins. The sum is no match for one, the age of the lady no match for the other. The results are hilarious.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

“A man is his job.”

Set in the cutthroat industry of Chicago real estate, this movie showcases the ruthlessness of salesmen. Alec Baldwin’s character says that “it takes brass balls to sell”. It really does. The effort, confidence, and savvy to sell whatever product is both admirable and loathsome.

Forrest Gump (1994)

“My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.””

Forrest Gump is a good example of how a little luck goes a long way. Forrest isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the box but, with a little luck and a lot of good friends, he managed to achieve so much: medals, professional ping-pong career, running records, money from an inadvertently successful shrimping company.

Shawshank Redemption (1994)

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Undoubtedly one of the greatest films of all time, Shawshank Redemption is the story of how a man rises from an impossibly dreadful situation. Andy Dufresne is wrongfully accused of murdering his wife and her lover. In prison, he stands out because he is clean-cut, quiet and educated. He makes unlikely friends and, through sheer perseverance manages to turn his life around.

Jerry Maguire (1996)

“Success consists of simply getting up one more time than you fall.”

Jerry Maguire is the story of a man who, at the top of his game, suddenly gets an epiphany. His change of heart does not go over well with the rest of his company so he ends up losing everything. With a volatile client called Rod Tidwell, he works to put his life and business back together again using his fresh perspective.

The Game

“Discovering the object of the game is the object of the game.”

Michael Douglas plays a wealthy San Francisco banker who’s life revolves around his business. His perspective starts to change when his brother gives him the gift of a lifetime. It leads him to start questioning whether business, success, and money are really more important than living life to the fullest.

Office Space (1999)

“It’s not just about me and my dream of doing nothing. It’s about all of us. I don’t know what happened to me at that hypnotherapist and, I don’t know, maybe it was just shock and it’s wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die – Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.”

Peter Gibbons lives a miserable life: he hates his job, his girlfriend is cheating on him and he has an unbearable neighbor. He visits a hypnotherapist who dies after putting him in a state of complete bliss. Peter is freed from worrying so he no longer feels like he needs to keep his job. Ironically, his new carefree attitude helps him go up the corporate ladder. Trouble arises when his friends who work for the same company are fired.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Pirates of Silicon Valley is a documentary style film about the two biggest names in technology: Microsoft and Apple. Though it may be considered obsolete these days, it contains some relevant information that could still be applied to current business practices. They are, after all, still around and there is something to be learned from their longevity.

Boiler Room (2000)

“Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.”

Seth Davis is a morally decent college dropout who becomes a stockbroker to impress his father. He soon discovers that he has a great potential to earn a lot of money because he is a terrific salesman. Once training is over, the pay is much larger than average, and Seth questions why. Curiosity leads him to an ethical dilemma and he soon discovers that his job is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Blow (2001)

“Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.”

Blow is film, that’s based on George Jung’s life and his illustrious career as a cocaine dealer in the 1970’s. George grew up in a family who’s patriarch couldn’t provide for them. He vows that he will never share the same fate as his father so when a friend of his offers him the opportunity to deal marijuana, he takes it. His pot pushing operation lands him in jail where he discover the more lucrative market of cocaine. He achieved brilliant levels of success but eventually had to pay the costs of practicing such a crooked profession.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.”

Catch Me If You Can is another movie based on a true story. It revolves around a con man named Frank Abnegale Jr. who successfully impersonates an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer, and history professor. He manages to cash more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries. What he did may not have been legal but it cannot be denied that Frank was a brilliant businessman.

 The Corporation (2003)

“Through the voices of CEOs, whistle blowers, brokers, gurus and spies, insiders and outsiders, we present the corporation as a paradox, an institution that creates great wealth, but causes enormous, and often hidden harms.”

In the late 18th century, the corporation was declared by an American legal decision as a person. Since then, it has become a dominant economic, political and social force all over the world. This film takes an in-depth psychological examination of the organization model through several case studies. The study shows that in its behavior, this type of “person” typically acts like a dangerously destructive psychopath without conscience. Furthermore, it illustrates the threat this psychopath has for the globe and our future. It also shows how that people with courage, intelligence and determination can, with the right tools, stop it.

The Aviator (2004)

“Sometimes I truly fear that I… am losing my mind. And if I did it… it would be like flying blind.”

This is a biopic that focuses on depicting Howard Hughes’ life from the late 1920’s to 1947. It shows how turned a small fortune into a huge one. Although it must be said that it wasn’t the money that made him great, it was his keen eye for detail and his perfectionism. The film shows how he overcame various obstacles such as rival companies and malicious rumors to be the man that he is now remembered to be.

Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something.”

This is another movie that’s based on a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner. In 1981, he invested the family savings in bone-density scanners that left his family broke. His wife leaves him and their son to go to New York. He and his son are forced to live on the streets. Christopher sees the chance to fight for a stockbroker internship position at Dean Witter, vying for one career at the end of six months training period without any salary with other twenty candidates. It is a powerful story with an equally powerful lesson to teach those who face personal struggles in business.

The Social Network (2010)

“Everybody on campus was using it. “Facebook me” was the common expression after two weeks. And Mark was the biggest thing on a campus that included 19 Nobel laureates, 15 Pulitzer prize winners, 2 future Olympians and a movie star.”

This film is based on the story of the world’s youngest billionaire, Facebook creator, and owner Mark Zuckerberg. In 2003, Mark started working on a website inside his Harvard dorm room that will eventually lead him to create what is considered as one of the most innovative social networks in modern history. Socially awkward but highly intelligent, Mark faces a few challenges in the form of break-ups, lawsuits and losing friends.

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Vinay Patankar

CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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