The Greatest Movies for Stock Market Investors

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Sometimes we forget that even when the market is in the middle of a bull run, it can still kick you in the teeth. So the next time you look at your P&L and discover you had a bad day, turn off the computer, hide your smartphone, and relax while watching one of these four film classics about the stock market, its investors, and those desperate to make a killing.

"Boiler Room"

This underrated flick from 2000 follows the character of Seth, played by the very talented Giovanni Ribisi, as he learns the ins and outs of selling speculative (and most likely fraudulent) penny stocks to what he refers to as "those suckers."

"Boiler Room" takes a deep dive into a fly-by-night brokerage firm filled with hyper-aggressive young stock jocks peddling "sure to fail" stocks to unsuspecting buyers over the phone. Two of the film's highlights are the "RECO" scene, which is brilliantly played by a pre-stardom Vin Diesel and a 28-year-old pre-megastar you'll recognize as Ben Affleck.


This is the famed documentary (at one point loss to the passage of time) that profiles a young Paul Tudor Jones just as he is about to make one of the greatest calls in market history -- the crash of 1987.

The most compelling scene in this 1987 one-hour PBS documentary is when we watch Paul Tudor Jones, who stays up all night trading Hong Kong bonds while downing Budweisers. This is a fascinating look at the frantic, highly charged marketplace and a true legend of the markets.

"Trading Places"

"Trading Places" is a star-studded 1983 film featuring Dan Akyrod, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche, and Ralph Bellamy. It's hard not to love this movie classic, especially the final scene that takes place on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (even though in the movie it is supposed to be set in New York).

Another film fact you might not know (even if you've watched the film more than once) is that the final scene in which the Dukes are bankrupted, Winthorpe (Dan Akyrod) and Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are actually shorting orange juice futures in order to break the Dukes.

"Wall Street"

This granddaddy of them all is director Oliver Stone's ode to the late 1980's excess that ran rampant on Wall Street. The film's archetype of financial greed is Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who nabbed an Oscar win for his performance.

Douglas shares the screen with a young Charlie Sheen, who plays Bud Fox, an eager fanboy-turned-protégée, who slimes his way up the corporate ladder with Gekko until his conscience gets the better of him. 

Other Films to Watch

Some other good stock market and investor films include: 

  • "Quicksilver"
  • "Barbarians at the Gate"
  • "Too Big to Fail"
  • "Rogue Trader"
  • "Margin Call"
  • "Inside Job"
  • "Enron"
  • "The Smartest Guys in the Room"