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  • Writer's pictureAlpesh Patel

Unlocking Business Brilliance: Top 50 Movies Every Entrepreneur Must Watch! 🎥

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Here is a curated list of the top 50 movies every entrepreneur and business owner should consider watching.

Each of these films offers a unique perspective on various aspects of business, from leadership and ethics to strategy and human psychology. They serve as both cautionary tales and sources of inspiration, providing a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in entrepreneurship and business management.

1. The Social Network (2010)


Importance of Intellectual Property: The movie highlights the significance of protecting your ideas.

Team Dynamics: It shows how internal conflicts can derail even the most promising ventures.

Rapid Scaling: The journey from a dorm room to a billion-dollar company teaches the importance of scalability.

2. Wall Street (1987)


Ethical Boundaries: The film explores the ethical lines one should not cross in business.

Risk and Reward: It delves into the high-stakes world of stock trading.

Mentorship: The relationship between Bud Fox and Gordon Gekko shows both mentorship's positive and negative impacts.

3. Moneyball (2011)


Data-Driven Decisions: The film emphasises the importance of analytics in business.

Resource Management: It shows how to compete with limited resources.

Change Management: The story teaches you to manage change against traditional resistance.

4. The Founder (2016)


Vision: Ray Kroc sees the potential in a small burger joint and turns it into McDonald's.

Persistence: The film shows that not giving up is crucial to success.

Ethical Dilemmas: It raises questions about the ethics of business expansion.

5. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)


Sales Techniques: The film is a masterclass in sales and persuasion.

Employee Motivation: It explores various ways to motivate a sales team.

Ethical Sales: It warns against the pitfalls of unethical sales tactics.

6. Steve Jobs (2015)


Innovation: The film shows how Jobs was never content with the status quo.

Leadership Styles: It explores the complexities of Jobs' leadership style.

Product Launch: The movie provides insights into the intricacies of launching a product.

7. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)


Resilience: The story is a testament to human resilience and determination.

Work-Life Balance: It shows the struggles of balancing personal life with career ambitions.

Self-Belief: The protagonist's journey shows the importance of believing in oneself.

8. The Big Short (2015)


Financial Literacy: The movie educates on the complexities of the financial market.

Critical Thinking: It encourages questioning the status quo.

Risk Assessment: The film shows the importance of understanding and mitigating risks.

9. Erin Brockovich (2000)


Social Responsibility: The film emphasises the role of businesses in social welfare.

Negotiation Skills: It shows how effective negotiation can lead to win-win situations.

Empathy in Business: The story highlights the importance of compassion and understanding your stakeholders.

10. Office Space (1999)


Corporate Culture: The film satirises the life-draining aspects of a 9-to-5 job.

Employee Satisfaction: It shows how unhappy employees can affect productivity.

Work-Life Balance: The movie emphasises the importance of a balanced life for overall well-being.

11. Boiler Room (2000)


Regulatory Compliance: The movie serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of ignoring financial regulations, emphasising the importance of due diligence and compliance.

Sales Ethics: It delves into the dark side of high-pressure sales tactics, highlighting the need for ethical conduct in sales.

Workplace Culture: The toxic work environment depicted serves as a lesson on fostering a healthy, inclusive culture for long-term success.

12. The Intern (2015)


Generational Diversity: The film shows the benefits of a multi-generational workforce, encouraging entrepreneurs to leverage the unique skills and perspectives of different age groups.

Work-Life Balance: It portrays the challenges of balancing a thriving career with a personal life, particularly for women entrepreneurs.

Employee Well-being: The movie subtly emphasizes the importance of employee satisfaction and mental health.

13. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


Leadership Styles: Miranda Priestly's autocratic leadership style serves as a case study for the impact of different management approaches on employee morale and productivity.

Industry Insights: The film provides a glimpse into the fashion industry, teaching the importance of understanding your industry's nuances.

Career Priorities: It challenges viewers to consider what they are willing to sacrifice for career advancement, urging a reevaluation of personal and professional priorities.

14. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)


Ethical Boundaries: The movie is a stark reminder of the slippery slope from ambition to unethical and illegal behaviour.

Sales Mastery: Despite its ethical shortcomings, the film does offer insights into persuasive sales techniques, although these should be applied responsibly.

Corporate Governance: It highlights the need for strong internal controls and governance to prevent fraud and misconduct.

15. A Beautiful Mind (2001)


Problem-Solving: The film celebrates the power of innovative thinking and problem-solving, key skills for any entrepreneur.

Collaboration: It shows that even a genius needs collaboration and support, emphasising the importance of teamwork.

Mental Health: The movie sensitises viewers to the mental health struggles that can affect anyone, urging businesses to take mental health seriously.

16. Horrible Bosses (2011)


Management Pitfalls: The film humorously explores what not to do as a manager, providing indirect lessons on good management practices.

Employee Retention: It shows the lengths to which dissatisfied employees might go if pushed to the edge, emphasizing the importance of employee satisfaction.

Conflict Resolution: The movie, although exaggerated, hints at the need for effective conflict resolution mechanisms in the workplace.

17. The Aviator (2004)


Visionary Leadership: Howard Hughes' ambitious projects teach the value of long-term vision and risk-taking.

Attention to Detail: The film shows Hughes' obsession with details, a trait that can differentiate a good business from a great one.

Crisis Management: Hughes' personal and professional handling of various crises offers lessons in effective crisis management.

18. The Godfather (1972)


Strategic Planning: The Corleone family's intricate planning and formulation offer valuable business strategy lessons.

Negotiation Skills: The film is a masterclass in negotiation and power dynamics, teaching the importance of leverage.

Family and Business: It explores the complexities of mixing family and business, urging caution in this sensitive area.

19. The Matrix (1999)


Disruptive Innovation: The concept of "The Matrix" is a metaphor for disruptive technologies that can completely change existing business landscapes.

Adaptability: Neo's journey emphasizes the importance of adaptability and continuous learning in a rapidly changing world.

Team Dynamics: The diverse team of rebels teaches the value of teamwork and collaboration in achieving a common goal.

20. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Resilience and Patience: Andy Dufresne's journey is a lesson in long-term planning, resilience, and the power of hope.

Networking: Andy's friendships inside the prison show the importance of networking and forming alliances.

Resourcefulness: Andy's ability to make the best of his situation teaches the value of resourcefulness, a key trait for entrepreneurs.

21. American Psycho (2000)


Corporate Culture: The film critiques the soulless, cutthroat corporate culture, urging entrepreneurs to build businesses with a sense of purpose and ethical grounding.

Personal Branding: Patrick Bateman's obsession with appearances highlights the importance, yet potential pitfalls, of personal branding.

Work-Life Balance: The movie is a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting work consume your entire identity.

22. The Great Gatsby (2013)


Vision and Ambition: Jay Gatsby's relentless pursuit of his dreams teaches the importance of vision and ambition in entrepreneurship.

Networking and Social Skills: The lavish parties thrown by Gatsby show the power of networking and creating social connections.

Financial Management: Gatsby's downfall serves as a lesson in the importance of sound financial planning and risk assessment.

23. The Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)


Innovation vs. Execution: The film contrasts the innovative genius of Steve Jobs with Bill Gates' skill in execution and market capture.

Business Ethics: It explores the ethical compromises both Apple and Microsoft made in their rise to the top.

Competitive Strategy: The movie offers insights into dealing with competition, including collaboration and rivalry.

24. The Incredibles (2004)


Teamwork and Collaboration: The film shows that even superheroes are more effective when they work as a team, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in business.

Leveraging Unique Skills: Each Incredible family member has unique abilities, much like a diverse team in a business setting.

Work-Life Balance: The movie explores the challenges of balancing professional responsibilities with family life.

25. Jerry Maguire (1996)


Client Relationships: The film shows the importance of genuine relationships in business, encapsulated in the phrase "Help me help you."

Ethical Business: Jerry's journey is about finding a more ethical and meaningful way to do business.

Personal Branding: The movie shows how your personal brand can both help and hinder your professional life.

26. The Dark Knight (2008)


Leadership Under Pressure: Batman's actions during crises offer lessons in leadership and decision-making under extreme pressure.

Ethical Dilemmas: The film explores the moral choices that leaders must make, mainly when the stakes are high.

Public Relations: Harvey Dent's transformation shows the power and risks of public perception in leadership.

27. The Internship (2013)


Adaptability: The film emphasises the importance of adapting to new technologies and work environments.

Corporate Culture: It provides a glimpse into the culture of tech giants like Google, highlighting the benefits of a positive work environment.

Lifelong Learning: The older interns show learning new skills and changing your career path is always possible.

28. Limitless (2011)


Resource Optimisation: The film explores the concept of using resources (in this case, cognitive) to their fullest extent.

Ethical Boundaries: It is a cautionary tale about the lengths some people will go for success.

Risk Management: The protagonist's journey is fraught with risks, teaching the importance of risk assessment and management.

29. The Martian (2015)


Problem-Solving: The film is a masterclass in problem-solving and resourcefulness, key traits for any entrepreneur.

Teamwork: It shows the importance of teamwork and international collaboration in achieving a common, high-stakes goal.

Crisis Management: The protagonist's ability to stay calm and reason in a crisis is a lesson in effective crisis management.

30. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Negotiation Skills: Clarice Starling's interactions with Hannibal Lecter offer a deep dive into the complexities of negotiation.

Emotional Intelligence: The film shows the importance of emotional intelligence in dealing with complex and sensitive situations.

Ethical Choices: It explores the ethical dilemmas faced in pursuing a greater good, relevant for business leaders making tough decisions.

31. Catch Me If You Can (2002)


Adaptability and Quick Thinking: Frank Abagnale's ability to adapt to various identities and professions teaches the importance of being versatile and quick-witted in business.

Ethical Boundaries: While the film glamorizes a life of fraud, it is a cautionary tale about the consequences of crossing ethical lines.

Importance of Trust: The cat-and-mouse chase between Frank and Agent Hanratty underscores the value of trust and credibility in any relationship, including business.

32. The Princess Bride (1987)


Strategic Planning: The characters' various plans and strategies to rescue Princess Buttercup offer lessons in planning and execution.

Negotiation and Diplomacy: The film includes several instances of negotiation, each teaching different aspects of this crucial business skill.

The Power of Storytelling: The movie is a lesson in the power of a compelling story, a key element in branding and marketing.

33. Apollo 13 (1995)


Crisis Management: The film is a case study of managing a crisis effectively, with lives hanging in the balance.

Teamwork and Collaboration: It shows how a diverse team of experts can come together to solve a complex problem.

Decision-Making Under Pressure: The quick decisions made by both the astronauts and ground control offer lessons in making sound judgments under extreme pressure.

34. The Usual Suspects (1995)


Power Dynamics: The film explores the dynamics of power and influence, which are relevant for understanding business relationships.

Strategic Deception: While not advocating deception, the film shows the impact of a well-executed strategy.

Risk and Reward: The unfolding drama serves as a lesson in assessing risks and rewards in any venture.

35. The Departed (2006)


Corporate Espionage: The film, though in a different context, touches upon the dangers of information leaks and corporate espionage.

Ethical Dilemmas: It explores individuals' ethical compromises, offering a perspective on business ethics.

Identity and Branding: The dual lives of the main characters serve as a metaphor for the importance of a consistent brand identity.

36. The Blind Side (2009)


Human Capital: The film shows the untapped potential of every individual, emphasizing the importance of investing in human capital.

Leadership and Mentorship: It offers lessons in leadership and the impact of positive mentorship.

Social Responsibility: The story is a testament to the importance of social responsibility and giving back to the community.

37. The Theory of Everything (2014)


Resilience and Perseverance: Stephen Hawking's life story is a lesson in overcoming insurmountable odds, relevant for any entrepreneur facing challenges.

Innovation and Creativity: The film celebrates intellectual curiosity and the drive to innovate.

Work-Life Balance: It also touches upon the challenges of balancing a demanding career with personal responsibilities.

38. The Imitation Game (2014)


Innovation and Problem-Solving: Alan Turing's work is a lesson in innovative thinking and problem-solving.

Team Dynamics: The film shows how a team of diverse individuals can collaborate effectively to achieve a common goal.

Social Impact: Turing's work had a profound social impact, teaching the importance of aligning business goals with broader social objectives.

39. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)


Strategic Alliances: The shifting alliances between the three main characters offer lessons in forming and breaking strategic partnerships.

Resource Allocation: The quest for hidden gold is a metaphor for resource allocation in business.

Ethical Choices: The film explores the moral choices made in pursuing wealth relevant to business ethics.

40. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)


Leadership Styles: The contrasting leadership styles of Colonel Nicholson and Colonel Saito offer insights into effective and ineffective management.

Project Management: The bridge's construction serves as a lesson in project management and resource optimization.

Ethical Leadership: The film raises ethical questions about leadership and the greater good, relevant for business leaders making tough decisions.

41. The Hustler (1961)


Skill and Strategy: The film shows that raw talent needs to be complemented by strategy and planning.

Ethics and Integrity: It explores the ethical compromises one might face in pursuing success.

Mental Toughness: The protagonist's journey teaches the importance of mental resilience in overcoming setbacks.

42. The Untouchables (1987)


Team Building: The film shows the importance of assembling a team with complementary skills.

Ethical Leadership: It explores the challenges of maintaining ethical standards in a corrupt environment.

Strategic Planning: The meticulous planning that goes into capturing Al Capone offers lessons in strategy and execution.

43. The Miracle Worker (1962)


Communication: The film emphasizes the importance of effective communication, even under the most challenging circumstances.

Patience and Persistence: It shows that breakthroughs often come after long periods of seemingly fruitless effort.

Empathy: The story teaches the value of understanding and connecting with others on an emotional level.

44. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)


Work-Life Balance: The film explores the challenges of balancing professional ambitions with family responsibilities.

Ethical Choices: It delves into the ethical dilemmas faced in climbing the corporate ladder.

Personal Branding: The protagonist's journey is a lesson in crafting a personal brand while staying true to one's values.

45. The Paper Chase (1973)


Academic Rigor: The film shows the value of rigorous academic training as a foundation for professional success.

Mentorship: It explores the complex relationship between a student and a demanding professor, offering lessons in mentorship.

Time Management: The protagonist's struggles with workload teach the importance of effective time management.

46. The Graduate (1967)


Career Planning: The film explores the uncertainties faced by young people entering the workforce, emphasising the importance of career planning.

Networking: It shows the benefits and pitfalls of networking, particularly with influential individuals.

Personal Values: The story teaches how to stay true to one's values, even when faced with tempting shortcuts to success.

47. The Fountainhead (1949)


Visionary Thinking: The film celebrates individualism and creative thinking, key traits for entrepreneurs.

Integrity: It emphasises the importance of maintaining integrity, even at a high cost.

Market Differentiation: The protagonist's unique architectural style is a metaphor for differentiating oneself in a crowded market.

48. The Sting (1973)


Strategic Planning: The elaborate con in the film is a lesson in planning and executing complex strategies.

Risk Assessment: It shows the importance of assessing and mitigating risks in any venture.

Adaptability: The characters' ability to adapt to unexpected challenges is a valuable lesson for entrepreneurs.

49. The Caine Mutiny (1954)


Leadership Styles: The film explores different leadership styles and their impact on team morale and performance.

Accountability: It shows the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions, a crucial trait for any leader.

Conflict Resolution: The story offers lessons in resolving conflicts in high-pressure situations.

50. The Secret of My Success (1987)


Career Advancement: The film shows the importance of seizing opportunities for career advancement, even in unconventional ways.

Networking and Influence: It emphasises the role of networking and building influential relationships for career success.

Adaptability and Quick Thinking: The protagonist's ability to adapt to various roles within the same company teaches the importance of being versatile and quick-witted.

Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or an established business owner, these movies offer a rich tapestry of lessons that can inform and inspire your business endeavours.

Alpesh Patel OBE


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