Since the iconic Wall Street movie was released in 1987, trading-related movies have become an endless attempt to record real-life events of traders and investors around the world.
Indeed, trading movies are exciting to watch, and every person who is intrigued by the trading and financial world must watch them.
In this post, we’ll present some of the most iconic trading and stock market movies of all time. Keep reading and watching.
12 Trading Movies That Every Trader Must Watch
Here’s our list of the best stock market movies to watch:
1. Wall Street (1987)
Greed is good. Oliver Stone’s masterpiece from 1987 is still relevant today, three and a half decades after the first well-known trading-related movie was released. Essentially, Wall Street portrays the innocent and corrupted sides of the US stock market in the 80s and criticizes the capitalist American corporation and individual culture.
The story of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), willing to do anything he can to get to the top, eventually brings him closer to a greedy corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). As Fox is seduced by the power and the status of being a successful Wall Street persona, he must deal with moral and ethical dilemmas as he gets involved with insider trading.
IMDb Score: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
Our Verdict: A cliche but a must-watch movie for every person
2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
In 2010, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was released, and unfortunately, the movie had terrible reviews. The sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1987 Oscar-winning film did not do as well as the original movie and got mixed reviews from the audience and critics. But overall, at least in my opinion, it’s a good film to watch, especially for new traders and those intrigued by the 2008 financial crisis.
IMDb Score: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
Our Verdict: Watch it… but only if you watched the first one
3. The Big Short (2015)
What a great movie. In my opinion, it is one of the best stock market movies with a lineup of excellent actors – Brad Pitt, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and more.
The only problem with this movie, in my view, is that it relates to a very specific time and place. It explains perfectly the 2008 financial crisis, the corruption of the US financial system, and the way some traders and hedge fund managers exploited the stock market crash (that is the big short).
However, it doesn’t really show how professional financial traders work on Wall Street firms, or how stock trading is done in today’s markets.
Still, this is a must-watch movie.
IMDb Score: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Our Verdict: Definitely watch
4. Margin Call (2011)
Released in 2011, Margin Call is a fascinating drama film that tells the story of a 24-hour period at an investment bank before the disaster of the 2008 financial collapse.
The film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay, shows the reckless attitude of big banks and large corporations that caused a ‘margin call’ scenario for the global economy, meaning the most significant financial crisis since the great depression.
IMDb Score: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Our Verdict: Watch and never forget
5. Boiler Room (2000)
Much like The Wolf of Wall Street and Wall Street 1, Boiler Room is another film presenting the moral and ethical issues of working at a pump and dump scheme company. In fact, Boiler Room is reportedly based, more or less, on the story of Jordan Belfort. Yes, the same guy from the Wolf of Wall Street.
Even though Boiler Room ultimately shows how to sell rather than trade, it’s a film that helps you understand how financial assets become overvalued and how unregulated the stock market and financial markets are, in general.
IMDb Score: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%
Our Verdict: Go and get popcorn
6. Rogue Trader (1998)
Undoubtedly one of the most undervalued trading-related movies. In my opinion, it is certainly one of the best trading movies of all time, not only because of the remarkable story but also because it presents the actual life events of a floor trader.
Rogue Trader tells the story of Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), an investment futures trader of Barings Bank who was responsible for the bankruptcy of one of the oldest and most important banks in the United Kingdom. For traders, the film shows how emotions can affect decision-making and how important it is to use risk management tools and control your emotions when trading.
IMDb Score: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%
Our Verdict: Don’t miss
7. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Glengarry Glen Ross is a legendary movie not only for traders but also for sales agents. This cult movie portrays the greed and pressure involved in working as a salesperson in big corporations.
Though it is not entirely a trading-related film, the story of real estate salespeople working for a shady company also portrays the pressure and competitiveness of financial markets. Filled with unforgettable quotes and an impressive cast that includes Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, and Ed Harris – Glengarry Glen Ross is undoubtedly one of the top finance movies to watch.
IMDB Score: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Our Verdict: Watch and learn
8. Too Big to Fail (2011)
Too Big to Fail is a great drama-documentary film based on the book of Andrew Ross Sorkin, a reporter for The New York Times. The film is perhaps the most realistic and accurate of all financial films and precisely shows how private banks and central banks were involved in the financial crisis in 2008.
The award-winning movie features some of the financial industry’s big names, including central bank leaders and politicians. Long story short, you might be disappointed by the leaders of the global financial system, but you’ll enjoy the movie.
IMDb Score: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%
Our Verdict: Watch and forget
9. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Well, there are mixed opinions about the Wolf of Wall Street. Some might argue that the film has shown the dark side of Wall Street and glorifies Jordan Belfort, who allegedly scammed people in the 80s. Even Leonardo Dicaprio dealt with significant criticism after filming the controversial movie.
Still, it deserves a place on the list of top stock market movies. I mean, Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, and Margot Robbie are all part of the film based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, who founded the scammy brokerage investment firm Stratton Oakmont. With an all-star cast, the movie shows how Wall Street traders and the financial services industry were characterized by greed and self-interest.
IMDb Score: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
Our Verdict: Watch it, but only if you are really bored
10. The Hummingbird Project (2018)
If you are interested in high-frequency trading (HFT), then this is the movie for you to watch. Even though it is not the most fascinating trading film you’ll ever watch, it sheds light on the phenomenon of HFT trading and the huge potential of making profits using powerful and fast computers.
The finance movie, which is not based on a true story, tells the story of two high-frequency traders who try to build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey. Frankly, the movie is not great, but still, it’s an informative and fun movie to watch as it shows what it requires to automate stock market trading.
IMDb Score: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%
Our Verdict: Worth the time
11. Arbitrage (2012)
Arbitrage is a gripping 2012 thriller that revolves around Robert Miller, a successful hedge fund manager who appears to have everything – a loving wife, beautiful children, and immense wealth.
However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he becomes involved in a fatal accident while having an affair with a young artist. As he tries to cover up the incident, he finds himself entangled in a web of lies and deceit that threatens to destroy everything he has worked for.
Richard Gere delivers a compelling performance as Robert, portraying the character’s ruthless ambition and inner turmoil as he struggles to keep his secrets hidden. The film also features impressive performances from Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling.
Overall, this movie is a tense and thought-provoking drama that explores the lengths people will go to protect their reputation and maintain their status.
IMDB Score: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Our Verdict: More than just a “rich-person” movie
12. Trading Places (1983)
Trading Places is a classic 1983 comedy that follows the story of two men, a wealthy investor and a homeless street hustler, who switch lives after a bet made by two wealthy brothers. The two men must adapt to their new environments and navigate through a series of hilarious and outrageous situations, all while trying to take down the wealthy brothers who are manipulating their lives.
The film stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, who deliver brilliant performances and comedic timing. Trading Places is a timeless comedy that explores the themes of social class, greed, and the American Dream.
IMDB Score: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Our Verdict: Enjoyable and fun to watch
A Quick Summary of the Top Trading Movies
|#||Movie title||IMDB score||Rotten Tomatoes score||Our score|
|2||Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps||6.2||55%||6/10|
|3||The Big Short||7.8||89%||9/10|
|7||Glengarry Glen Ross||7.7||95%||10/10|
|8||Too Big to Fail||6.2||77%||6/10|
|9||The Wolf of Wall Street||8.2||79%||9/10|
|10||The Hummingbird Project||6.2||58%||6/10|
COMING SOON: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Ok, our last pick is a stock trading movie that has not yet been released but is going to… soon. And it is going to be released after the most popular streaming service company, Netflix acquired the movie rights for the financial drama “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”
For those unfamiliar with the name, Michael Lewis is a former trader at Salomon investment firm and the author of ‘Liar’s Poker’, Moneyball, and Flash Boys. If you read the books, you’ll want to watch the movie as well….
BONUS: Don’t forget to check this great blog post on the best trading documentaries that every trader must watch.
Unfortunately, most trading-related films present the negative aspects and the corrupted nature of the finance industry. From Wall Street’s inside trading to investors’ dilemma in The Big Short movie – there’s always a repetitive narrative in stock market movies.
Nevertheless, any of the movies in the above list is a must-watch for newcomers and advanced traders. Understanding the life of traders and investors and the dynamics of financial markets is crucial for every individual who wants to become a successful trader. Other famous worth watching stock market movies include The Smartest Guys and Wall Street Warriors.
We hope you will enjoy the movies. And, if you want to get further insight into the trading world, we suggest you watch some of the best trading and stock market documentaries or start reading some of the best trading books for beginner and advanced traders.