Screentime: Stock Market Movies

Screentime: Stock Market Movies

Grab a bag of popcorn and turn up the sound, as Spiking scopes out some must-watch movies for stock market enthusiasts. From…

Dr. Clemen Chiang
Dr. Clemen Chiang

Grab a bag of popcorn and turn up the sound, as Spiking scopes out some must-watch movies for stock market enthusiasts. From true-stories-turned-theatre-fare to the equivalent of financial fanfics on film, these movies are regulars on to-watch lists of investors and non-financial types alike.

Described as a social media app for stock market investors, Spiking lets you follow your favourite investors at the Singapore Exchange just as you would your favourite movie stars. See if you can find some of them stealing scenes in the following films, most of which have been mentioned on Investopedia, IMDB, Liberated Stock Trader, Dave, Fortune, CNN Money and Business Insider.

The Bourse at the Box Office

1. Working Girl (1993), starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver and Alec Baldwin; directed by Mike Nichols. A secretary working at an investment bank has an idea which is stolen by her boss. She has the chance to steal it back, however, and succeed in the investment banking business.

2. Trading Places (1983), starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche; directed by John Landis. This is a comedy about two rich commodity brokers making a bet, as to whether a common criminal and an uppity investor can successfully switch roles and identities.

3. Wall Street (1987), starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Tamara Tunie and Franklin Cover; directed by Oliver Stone. Probably the most well-known and iconic stock market movie of all time, this film is about ambitious, young stockbroker, Bud Foxx, who will stop at nothing to succeed. Foxx looks to Gordon Gecko, a Wall Street head honcho, for advice and guidance.

4. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), starring Leonardo di Caprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConnaughey; directed by Martin Scorsese. This film is about the rise of New York stockbroker, Jordan Belfort to Wall Street’s highest heights, and his fall due to corruption and crime. This film was based on the book by the same name (check Spiking’s previous post on stock market reads).

5. Inside Job (2010), starring Matt Damon, William Ackman, Daniel Alpert and Jonathan Alpert; directed by Charles Ferguson. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary — Feature, this film details the causes of the 2008 global financial crisis. The film discusses Wall Street, dubious banking procedures and the US financial system.

6. Boiler Room (2000), starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long and Nicky Katt; directed by Ben Younger. Operators of a “boiler room” fool gullible investors into buying useless stocks in a “pump and dump” scheme. A college dropout works for the boiler room thinking he has an honest job.

7. The Big Short (2015), starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt; directed by Adam McKay. Also based on an eponymous book, this film follows four investors who made a killing during the housing bubble in the mid-2000s. The movie also blames avaricious bankers for the US financial crisis.

8. The Scam (2009), starring Park Yong-ha, Park Hee-soon, Kim Mu-yeol and Kim Min-jung. South Korea’s first stock market movie tells the story of Hyun-soo, a full-time investor who spent years struggling before achieving success at the bourse. Gangster-cum-financier Hwang Jong-gu hires Hyun-soo, involving him in an elaborate stock market scam.

9. Something Ventured (2011), directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Golfine. A documentary about the early days of Silicon Valley and how Intel, Apple and Atari achieved success. The film features the likes of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore; Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell; second Apple CEO, Mike Markkula; and Cisco co-founder, Sandy Lerner. Investors looking to buy tech stocks might want to watch this one.

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10. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith; directed by Gabriele Muccino. This is the story of Chris Gardner’s struggles during his stint in Dean Witter Reynolds’ stocker brokerage training programme. He and his young son were homeless during his training period, which proved to be a step in his long journey towards becoming a multi-millionaire.

11. Rogue Trader (1999), starring Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Yves Beneyton and Betsy Brantley; directed by James Drearden. This film tells the true story of Nick Leeson, who single-handedly wrought the downfall of top British bank, Barings. (Spiking mentioned Nick Leeson’s activities on the Singapore stock exchange in a previous post.)

12. Margin Call (2011), starring Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany; directed by J. C. Chandor. This fictional story describes how a group of Wall Street investment bankers get a margin call and have 36 hours to protect their employer just before the collapse of the housing market.

13. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), starring John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer and George W. Bush; directed by Alex Gibney. This is the story of the rise and fall of Enron, and how the perpetrators of financial crime can steer clear of the law with the help of highly-paid lawyers.

14. Overheard 2 (2011), starring Louis Koo, Lau Ching-wan and Daniel Wu; directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong. This sequel to the Hong Kong stock market film, Overheard, tells the story of head broker, Manson Lo, through the point of view of an eavesdropper. That Manson Lo works with some of the wealthiest people in Hong Kong to fix share prices is only the tip of the iceberg uncovered by police inspectors.

15. Barbarians at the Gate (1993), starring James Garner, Jonathan Pryce, Peter Riegert and Joanna Cassidy; directed by Glenn Jordan. Get an inside look at how mergers and acquisitions (which Spiking has discussed in a previous post) take place with this retelling of the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.

16. Too Big to Fail (2011), starring James Woods, John Heard, William Hurt and Erin Dilly; directed by Curtis Hanson. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is spotlighted in this retelling of the 2008 financial crisis, which is an HBO production of an adaptation of the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

17. Floored (2009), Bobby Ansani, Jeff Ansani, Ron Beebe and Chris Felix; directed by James Allen Smith. Now that most stock market trades take place electronically, this film provides a somewhat sentimental look back, as exchange traders in Chicago recount what it was like in the days when trading largely took place on tumultuous trading floors.

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