Good business movies—with the exception of those shown in the conference room– feature the greed, tragedy and revenge of a Shakespearean play, plus a dose of romance and triumph. What’s not to like? Here you’ll find some of our favorites and details about the upcoming release of “The Wolf of Wall Street.’’
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013)
Paramount Pictures plans to release this film starring Leonardo DiCaprio on Dec. 25.
The film is about Jordan Belfort, who was convicted of crimes related to stock market manipulation and running a penny stock boiler room for which he spent time in prison.
Starring Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad
“Jobs’’ chronicles the early years of Apple, Inc., the now-ubiquitous computer company that revolutionized the entire industry, and its founder, Steve Jobs.
‘The Insider’ (1999)
Starring Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, and Christopher Plummer
It’s truth versus the tobacco industry in this story of tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand, who airs his company’s wrongdoing on CBS’ “60 Minutes.’’
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946)
Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed
More than a Christmastime must-see, this film is a business story. Small-town businessman George Bailey runs into financial trouble and is desperate enough to end his life, until an angel intervenes.
‘Office Space’ (1999)
Starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, and David Herman
Peter Gibbons despises his job. So when his occupational therapist drops dead in front of him, Gibbons takes action by becoming the laziest employee at work—an act somehow lauded by bosses—and the ringleader in a quest to scam his cubicle- and memo-happy company.
‘Other People’s Money’ (1991)
Starring Danny DeVito, Gregory Peck, and Penelope Ann Miller
It’s the classic big fish versus small fish, when a Wall Street magnate tries to take over a family-run company but runs into a female roadblock.
‘Horrible Bosses’ (2010)
Starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis
Rather than quit their jobs during a recession, three friends decide to hire a murder consultant to get rid of their management problems.
‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
Starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, and Dorothy Comingore
Business movie junkies and film studies majors alike have attempted to decode this mysterious film, which unfolds after a newspaper publishing tycoon dies with an obscure word on his lips: “Rosebud.’’
‘Trading Places’ (1993)
Starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd
Two unethical millionaire brothers make a bet for nurture over nature, believing that a wealthy stock broker and a con man can trade places and fall readily into their new roles.
‘9 to 5’ (1980)
Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton
A trio of angry secretaries, including recent divorcee Judy Bernly, seek revenge on their male chauvinist boss.
‘Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room’ (2005)
Starring John Beard and Tim Belden
Such an explosive business scandal could not have escaped translation to cinema. Based on the book “The Smartest Guys in the Room’’ by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, the movie investigates the company’s downfall in a shadowy and ominous account.
‘Up in the Air’ (2009)
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick
With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people as a “corporate downsizing expert,’’ Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company grounds him.
‘Boxing Gym’ (2010)
Starring Richard Lord
A documentary about a boxing gym in Austin, Texas, that looks at the discipline of training of the diverse group of people who go there.
‘All the President’s Men’ (1976)
Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford
In the run-up to the 1972 elections, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward covers what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters. When what he thought was a small incident turns out to involve Republican fund organizers, the story takes him and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein on a trail that eventually leads into the White House itself.
‘The Apartment’ (1960)
Starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine
In order to attempt to get promoted at his company, a man allows its executives to use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.
‘The Company Men’ (2010)
Starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones
Three men fight to keep their jobs while their company is in the process of downsizing.
‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ (1992)
Starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Alec Baldwin
The ruthless real estate business is in the spotlight in this story of four salesmen competing to sell houses and keep their jobs.
Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci
Henry Hill and his Brooklyn neighborhood friends climb the mob ladder, revealing the blue-collar perspective of the crime business. Following in the footsteps of The Godfather, Goodfellas doesn’t disappoint.
‘Working Girl’ (1988)
Starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, and Sigourney Weaver
A secretary rises again, this time when her boss, Katherine, breaks her leg. Tess McGill steps in and gets retaliation after learning that her injured higher up had plans to swipe McGill’s big business idea.
‘Jerry Maguire’ (1996)
Starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who doubts his cutthroat ways and, as a result, loses his job and all but one of his clients. But like any successful sports story, Maguire’s luck is about to take another turn.
‘The Associate’ (1996)
Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Dianne Wiest
Whoopi Goldberg plays a Wall Street financial analyst battling prejudices in her goal to move up the financial ladder.
‘The Secret of My Success’ (1987)
Starring Michael J. Fox and Helen Slater
Michael J. Fox plays a typical college grad with typical dreams of money, power, and women. But he takes the atypical path to corporate success by creating a shortcut from the mail room to the executive suite.
‘The Social Network’ (2010)
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, and Andrew Garfield
Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg got a lot more than he bargained for when he created Facebook– the social media game changer leads him through more than a few personal and legal scrapes.
‘Wall Street’ (1987)
Starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas
A freshman stockbroker gets his orientation via greedy superpower Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) for what becomes a moral-testing adventure.
Douglas reprised the role in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’’ (2010), which picks up Gekko’s story after he’s release from jail.
‘The Shop Around the Corner’ (1940)
Starring Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart
A small-office movie about what it’s like to work for people and get to know everything about them, without always really wanting to. At the end of the day, they’re family.
‘A Prairie Home Companion’ (2006)
Starring Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, and Woody Harrelson
A look at what goes on backstage during the last broadcast of America’s most celebrated radio show, where personalities like country music singers, singing cowboys, and security guards hold court.
‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (2006)
Starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep
A freshly graduated journalist has to change her clothes and behavior in order to succeed as an assistant for the ruthless and powerful fashion magazine executive, Miranda Priestley.