Financial Markets: Recommendations for the Best 5 Movies to Learn From

financial markets
With thanks to geralt on Pixabay for the image

Financial markets are dynamic, complex and exciting. What’s more, it didn’t take Hollywood long to seize the opportunity to visually document this bold industry.

There are plenty of movies based on the financial markets—and for a good reason. When you add a great script with a Hollywood twist, you end up with blockbusters like The Big Short and the sensational The Wolf of Wall Street.

The entertainment value of these films is undeniable. However, they don’t provide an accurate representation of the real financial world. On the other hand, here is a list that combines the best of both worlds: phenomenal entertainment and factual accuracy.

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1. Inside Job

This movie, directed by Charles Ferguson and starring Matt Damon, received the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

SynopsisInside Job provides a comprehensive analysis of the 2008 global financial crisis, estimated at over $20 trillion. That economic disaster left millions without jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression. As a result, global markets nearly collapsed. Based on research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, this film traces the rise of a rogue industry which corrupted politics, regulation, and academia.

Why we recommend it: The accuracy of the action and the insights about the financial crisis of 2008 make this film a “must see.” Moreover, some market pundits noted that it provides the type of information that will educate the masses to learn from past mistakes. What’s more, it might even prevent those mistakes in the future. Additionally, the overview is global, with information from people in different locations. For example, you’ll hear from people in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

2. The Ascent of Money

Directed by Adrian Pennick, this movie received the 2009 International Emmy Award.

Synopsis: This documentary is adapted from a 2008 book by Harvard professor Niall Ferguson. The author features in the production, which airs on TV in the UK and the US. The story line follows the interconnected history of money, credit, and banking.

Why we recommend it: History and context often offer a documented perspective and a better understanding of the financial world.

3. Life and Debt

This movie was awarded a special mention at the Los Angeles IFP/West Film Festival in 2001. Afterward, the film received an audience award in Prague at the One World Film Festival in 2002.

Synopsis: This documentary is an unapologetic depiction of the “new world order.” To that end, it highlights the point of view of Jamaican workers, farmers, and government and policy officials who see the reality of globalization from the ground up.

Why we recommend it: The movie outlines the economic situation of the small country of Jamaica. Also, it explains how indebtedness makes an existing lousy situation even worse. What’s more, it’s food for thought concerning the debate on bailing out entire countries through debt lending.

4. Margin Call

This movie has an all-star cast, including Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey, and Demi Moore. It received the 2012 AACTA International Award.

Synopsis: The story revolves around a day at a large investment bank at the beginning of the financial crisis. A junior analyst discovers that the bank’s holdings in mortgage-backed securities will soon bankrupt the bank. As a result, all of the company’s traders end up selling worthless investments to clients on purpose.

Why we recommend it: The story line is reminiscent of the Goldman Sachs controversy after 2007. Besides, history can teach consumers valuable lessons.

5. Banking on Bitcoin

This movie takes on the new trend: cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.

Synopsis: This Netflix production features interviews with enthusiasts and experts covering Bitcoin’s roots, its future, and the technology behind it.

Why we recommend it: Bitcoin is considered one of the most disruptive inventions since the dot com bubble. Moreover, the film shows how technology fundamentally shapes our lives. What’s more, it underlines the new ideological ideological struggle between fringe utopians and mainstream capitalists.

The Financial Markets Make for Fascinating Story Lines

Learn more about the financial markets by seeking out and watching the films recommended here.


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