Goodfellas, Money People, Hotshots – based on what cinema has portrayed, a career in the financial sector surely seems lucrative. It is, however, a gritty and laborious field, which can be very, very rewarding, or extremely harsh. Even with a lot of hard and smart work, one wrong step is enough to undo a lifetime’s worth of achievements in the financial industry. Making profits hand over fist is never easy, but in the end, that’s what matters, or at least that’s what silver screen tells us.

We are in an era that is witnessing some of the best works cinema ever produced. Although time is something that we always seem deprived of, there’s a lot we can learn about the might and the plight of finance professionals from the comfort of your couch. The best part about it is that we’re getting to learn from them even as we enjoy the plots and stories.

It is always exciting to learn about the inner workings of businesses and see depictions of how business leaders operate. In the past few years, several critically-acclaimed movies and TV shows have been set in the world of finance and business and have given a peek at the world of finances.

Top 10 TV Shows and Movies About Money, Finance, and Business

  1. Wall Street
  2. Billions
  3. The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Margin Call
  5. Rogue Trader
  6. The Big Short
  7. Shark Tank
  8. The Profit
  9. Succession
  10. Mad Money v/s Jim Cramer

Here’s a list of TV shows and movies you must watch to learn more about the corporate world:

  1. Wall Street

IMDb rating- 7.4/10

A 1987 American drama film by Oliver Stone, starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, and Daryl Hannah, Wall Street had become a cult classic. It is a story of a young and inexperienced stockbroker, played by Sheen, who works with Gordon Gekko, played by Douglas, a wealthy yet shrewd senior. The movie’s subtitles, “Greed Is Good” is a lesson in itself because we know that greed isn’t good and simply makes you want more than needed.

However, greed in matters of relentless passion, in the form of knowledge and hunger to learn, as a way to constantly get better and achieve greater goals in life is good, and that’s the comment that the movie makes beautifully while also helping viewers understand how the stock market works.

Take-away line: “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

  1. Billions

IMDb rating- 8.4/10

Billions is an ambitious drama that is set in New York’s financial district and discussed the power politics in the industry. The story is about a hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod and an intelligent U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, who try to outsmart each other constantly. They use dirty tricks, power, influence, and legal recourse to outmaneuver the other, and also occasionally agree on the same things. The show is tightly-paced and has some really witty dialogues, which make it fun to watch. You should watch the show to learn about investment, corporate competition, compliance and legal knowledge regarding running a business. Billions have a lot to things to take away from, including the fact that we all need our confidence restored at times, and dreams never get too old to be realized. With nearly five seasons already out, the show makes for a great weekend-binge plan. 

Take-away line: “You get one life, so do it all.”

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street

IMDb rating- 8.2/10 

The Wolf of Wall Street is a biographical black comedy crime film by Martin Scorsese, based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, it recounts Belfort’s perspective on his journey as a driven stockbroker in NYC and how his unethical, corrupt and immoral decisions eventually catch up with him. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill pull in the performances of their loves, starring as Belfort and his partner Donnie Azoff, with Margot Robbie as playing Belfort’s wife.

The Wolf of Wall Street has many lessons for both financial professionals and businessmen. The protagonist in the film is good to his employees, leading to their trust, loyalty, and mutual respect for him, something which is of utmost importance in the corporate world. Apart from this, it tells how one must weigh what they are sacrificing for success. And lastly, one must take life a little less seriously, enjoying the journey just as it was meant to be. The fact that it manages to be a roller coaster of fun adds to its taste.

Take-away line: “Pick up the phone and start dialing.”

  1. Margin Call

IMDb rating- 7.1/10

C. Chandor’s Margin Call is based on real incidents and the plot follows a few key people at an unnamed investment bank during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. Set over a period of 24 hours, it showcases the actions taken by the bankers during the subsequent financial collapse.

Boasting of a power-packed cast in Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto as the main leads, Margin Call is probably the smartest and most engaging movie you will ever see about the financial crisis. It tells people how not only physical but psychological factors, too, are responsible for a company’s downfall. Thus, you can learn about to handle crises and get your business through the toughest of times by watching this movie.

Take-away line: “There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.”

  1. Rogue Trader

IMDb rating- 6.4/10

Rogue Trader stars Ewan McGregor as Nick Leeson, the protagonist, who is an investment broker who was responsible for the oldest bank in Britain going bankrupt. The film focuses on the fact that in most cases, a successful business cannot be achieved by a single person. It also shows that firms must follow a disciplined and logical investment plan to avoid huge losses. Thus, you can learn about team management, ownership, accountability and the importance of owning up to your mistakes while handling money. 

Take-away line: “I, Nicholas Leeson, have just lost 50 million quid, in one day!”

  1. The Big Short

IMDb rating- 7.8/10

Featuring an impressive ensemble cast, The Big Short is an Oscar-winning 2015 American biographical drama film. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and Melissa Leo, among others, and is directed by Adam McKay. It is based on ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ by Michael Lewis; a 2010 book about how the United States housing bubble led to the financial crisis of 2008. The movie describes the crucial role of analyzing all the pros and cons before investing in the market and how one must not become blind followers without doing their homework. A thorough study and analysis of the wall street conditions is a bonus. ‘The Big Short’ also has celebs like Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie explain financial terms to the audience in simpler ways and hence becomes a must-watch.

Take-away line: “The creation of the mortgage bond market had extended Wall Street into a place it had never before been: the debts of ordinary Americans.”

  1. Shark Tank

IMDb rating- 7.6/10

Shark Tank is an American business reality series that premiered in 2009 and became a runaway hit. Starring Kevil O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, the show features a panel of investors called ‘sharks,’ who decide whether or not to invest as entrepreneurs make business presentations on their company or product.

This show features real and successful venture capitalists investing their own money for business ideas they like and is a great place to learn about money matters and entrepreneurship. It showcases young entrepreneurs all the homework they have to do before facing an investor and various sorts of obstacles they have to face in order to achieve success. What’s more, the show has critical lessons on how to pitch to investors, how to secure funding, and how to use the funding to expand businesses.

Take-away line: “I’m not trying to make friends. I’m trying to make money.”

  1. The Profit

IMDb rating- 8.3/10

‘The Profit’ is American documentary-style reality television and in each episode, Marcus Lemonis invests in struggling businesses along with his guidance in exchange for an ownership stake in the company. Marcus demonstrates the importance of people in business, providing credence to the old ‘people are the most crucial asset.’

He also emphasizes product strategy and execution since it is the basis on which businesses make a profit. Thus, there is a lot to learn about how to run a business, how to mitigate losses, and how to manage teams in this how. Whether it might be a business tip or financial advice, ‘The Profit’ does not leave you at a loss.

 Take-away line: “You don’t get anything. You have to earn it.”

  1. Succession

IMDb rating- 8.1/10

‘Succession’ is an American satirical comedy-drama television series created by Jesse Armstrong and stars Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, and Peter Friedman in the lead roles. It is a family drama centering around the fictional Roy family, owners of a huge media firm who are fighting for the company’s rights after the head of the family steps down.

Succession aptly plays out the ‘behind the scenes’ drama of a family business. It captures what goes through the minds of leaders when their businesses decline and provide lessons regarding what must be avoided to prevent the downfall of a family business, which includes trusting your people, keeping enemies closer than friends, and laying out a proper succession plan.

Take-away line: “Here’s the thing about being rich. It’s like being a superhero, only better..”

  1. Mad Money v/s Jim Cramer

IMDB Rating: 5.7/10

Although the IMDB rating does not do justice to this reality show by Jim Cramer, it is definitely a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn a thing or two about how money works. The set is a wild ride full of fun accessories, Cramer’s portrayal and mannerisms are impressive, and the anecdotes, tips, and strategies are a success. Aspiring businessmen and investors must definitely watch this show.

Take-away line: “I wish it grew on trees, but it takes hard work to make money.”

With this list, the aspiring finance professional knows what to watch this weekend. Suspense, thrill, crime, wit; you name the emotion, and you’ll feel it with these successful movies and TV shows. What’s more, you’ll also have loads of fun while at it! And while these movies’ target audience may be prospective financials, people who are not thinking of finance as a career, can also glimpse inside the racy, wild and sometimes absurd universe of big money. We have something or the other always coming up that makes us wonder what it would be like to be in their shoes, and you sure get an insight into it.