Entrepreneur movies can sometimes be a utopic dream created in a way that inspires everyone to start a business. There’s a big dream that a capable individual (most times a man) fosters, he faces a handful of obstacles on the way but at the end, everything falls into place and he’s a successful business owner who has changed the world. More often than not, the artistic approach to entrepreneur movies dilutes the true essence of it – which is to be of value to aspiring entrepreneurs in ways that they can have some significant takeaways.
So here we made a list of top 10 entrepreneur movies that actually do the trick. While all entrepreneurship movies are inspiring and teaching in their own way, there are some; fictional and non-fictional ones, that manage to leave a mark in our minds and have some lasting impact. Though they’re mostly stories of successful start-up owners, there are elements in every story that give away the tricks of the trade. The nuances of their journeys to success hold a lot of value to a newcomer into the start-up world. And it’s always a good idea to learn from the masters, so here goes.
Here are list of the top 10 entrepreneur movies of all time:
Mark Zuckerberg stands at the apex of the list of global entrepreneurs today, holding one significant place among the top names that come to mind when we recall world’s biggest entrepreneurs. He threw open a massive door that led to the social media revolution in the world as we know it today and he’s a story that deserves to be told to generations. There cannot be a list of entrepreneur movies that leaves out the story of this man’s life. There is inspiration to be drawn, ideas to ponder upon, controversy to know of and admiration to be felt for Mark and his journey on The Social Network.
Our take: The movie starring Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role as Zuckerberg makes some bold moves in questioning his very credential in the founding of Facebook. Sure, Mark was a tech genius with brilliant ideas but there were ample places he stumbled in the process of building his social media empire. Its a story we all must know, for innovation and entrepreneurship on a global level is what dreams are made of, and by hook or crook, Zuckerberg made it a reality. “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet” – it all came true and how.
2. The Founder
McDonald’s fast food chain, one of the most well established franchises around the world, has a fair share of controversy which makes for a grand tale to tell; and a grand lesson that no entrepreneur must miss. The founding story which moved on to be a hostile take-over with the out-casting of the original founders of the food chain is the key focus of this movie ‘The Founder’ which was released in 2016. The tale of ruthlessness features the journey of McDonalds’ ‘founder’ who is today one of the most successful men in the world – Ray Kroc.
Our take: The idea behind the movie is ‘there are a lot of talented and unsuccessful men in the world’, an idea that Ray Kroc outwitted with his indigenous way of ‘founding’ the global hamburger chain. For acquaintance with the sheer opportunism and ruthlessness that constitutes the start-up worked, The Founder unfailingly makes it to the list of entrepreneur movies that one must watch for lessons in the twisted ways the business world functions.
3. The Intern
A female entrepreneur’s personal life gets as messed up as it can, but she ends up with an experience that changes a lot of perspectives. The Intern is one of the entrepreneur movies that introduces a special concept that companies around the world can note down to implement. In the world of The Intern, elderly people are hired by successful firms as interns and encouraged to embark in new career directions. The reluctant Jules, played by Anne Hathaway takes on Ben, played ever so soulfully by Robert De Nero as her intern to train him in managing her online fashion site
Our take: The movie offers fresh perspectives on retirement, career options for the elderly, female bosses and fashion start-ups. There are a handful of perspectives that female entrepreneurs can derive value from. because arguably the business world comes with the stereotypical ‘balancing your family’ troubles for women and this film presents a novel view on it.
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The Jennifer Lawrence starrer ‘Joy’ is the story of a woman with a painfully troubled personal life who moves on to build her own business empire from scratch. Frustrated by a mundane act of mopping the floor on what is a typical hard day for her, she invents the famous ‘miracle mop’ that wrings itself and reduces the user’s efforts significantly. A simple solution to a prevalent problem that practically everyone can use. She moves on build a company out of it and make it a global business; all because she loved inventing solutions to problems of everyday life
Our take: There are only a handful of entrepreneur movies that feature journeys of female innovator entrepreneurs. Joy is one, and a good one at that. The fundamental idea behind entrepreneurship that ‘innovative products must solve everyday problems’ is reflected to the fullest in this story.
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A magazine with a fashion monster of a boss who’s built her own mark makes for a proper ambition for all youngsters who dream of one day becoming her. The formidably respectful boss Miranda Priestly played by Meryl Streep has turned into a reference norm for difficult, but awesome bosses. Andy Sachs, an aspiring journalist played by Anne Hathaway climbs her way up to the top of the food chain from her job as an assistant, and the journey of a newcomer in the world of masters is an inspiring tale to watch.
Again, the climb from bottom to top is a journey made for no soft soul. Resolve to make it through is one thing; but it takes persistence, tolerance, and altering one’s own personal beliefs beyond recognition.
Our take: The Devil Wears Prada features the difficult choices and decisions that women have to make in the business world, and does it in a way that lasts in our memories.
Featuring one of the largest and sauciest corporate scandal of Wall Street by the known stockbroker Jordon Belfort is The Wolf of Wall Street. The Leonardo Dicaprio starrer directed by Martin Scorsese glamorously presents the biographic downfall of Stratton Oakmont, Jordon Belfort’s firm after the rampant fraud which brought him to media limelight.
Jordon’s story is of a skilled stockbroker who works his own way into a fortune but only believes that the goal of a stockbroker is to make money for himself. While there are plenty around who fully agree with this ideal and are doing well with it, it didn’t go as planned for Belfort. His story of carving his way up to the top and then his own downfall, the scandals of his personal life and betrayal are the plotlines of this movie.
Our take: An entrepreneur entering the world of Jordon in whatever little or large way gets a peak into the ruthless possibilities of it and the story of one of its biggest players from The Wolf of Wall Street. This one includes the full recipe of entrepreneur movies.
From the year 1991-1997, two techies took over the world and changed it for the better with their technological inventions, but not amiably to each other. Entrepreneur movies have documented some nail biting instances in the global history of entrepreneurship; but this one sure tops the list because we today live in a tech world built by these giants.
Our take:The rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Bates during their initial phase of the long journeys they embarked upon is what Pirates of Silicon Valley is about. Directed by Martyn Burke and starring Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates respectively, this movie provides insight into the beginning and growth of the two tech giants as we know them today. Their battles, their falls and their eventual rise to fame sure are among the world’s most inspiring stories, and not just in the start-up world.
“You got a dream? You protect it at all costs. You want something? Go get it.”
If there ever was an ambitious, skilled man who saw rock bottom, it was Chris Gardner. Will Smith and Jaden Smith playing Chris Gardner and his son in the year of his life when he went completely bankrupt and homeless from where he made his way up is inspiring to say the least.
Chris Gardner lived to create his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm, but he started off with an investment that he could not recover in time which ended his marriage and shattered his finances down to the point of homelessness. He ends taking up an unpaid internship at a firm from where he had to work his way into a possible job; while taking care of his little son whom his wife did not take with her when she left.
Our take: The Pursuit of Happyness is a heartwarming story, but the biographical element makes it an important one, especially for viewers who share any interest in Gardner’s field of work. Entrepreneur movies usually feature stories that start from rock bottom and climb to great heights; The Pursuit of Happyness fits the frame but still stands out thanks to the incredible story and performances by its lead actors. We are left rooting for Gardner to find his way through his hardships and lamenting his decisions to push himself, sometimes beyond reasonable limits. But towards the end, the viewer is ensured that despite the ruthlessness of the world of money, skill and persistence find their way.
Startup.com is a documentary with little to no aesthetic production value. During the years 1999-2000, founders of a failed startup Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman, who had founded govWorks.com. Despite raising significant funds, the start-up failed but there were ample lessons to be learnt from it; which the documentary elaborates upon. For two years, the founders were followed around by Jehane Noujaim, who was their classmate and the maker of this documentary, to obtain insights into the booming internet world of the time. Made in documentary format that has edited over 400 hours of content spanning two years, startup.com offers real time insights into a startup that ventured into the internet world during the initial days of the internet.
10. Flash Of Genius
A patent battle was fought between inventor Robert Kearns and the Ford Motor Company for intermittent windshield wipers. The wiper was designed by Kearns to solve his own problem as he had a troubled vision owing to an accident. Impressed by the design, Ford agrees to sign a deal with him but things go amiss when the dealers stop responding to him and the new Ford automobile is launched with his wiper as a key feature.
Our take:The battle for credit and recognition that follows has its obvious downsides – Kearns is estranged from his wife and children, and his personal life takes a downfall. “Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?” It’s a long and hard battle that takes its toll on the fighter, which is why it is absolutely vital for an innovator to guard his ideas with all his might. Towards the end, the long legal battle earns Kearns a reasonable ending with a financial settlement.
Those are our top 10 picks, but here are a few bonus mentions that deserve a place in the array of best entrepreneur movies.
- Forrest Gump
The Academy winner movie makes it to almost every best movie list in the world. Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks in the role of a simple man is an incredible movie, it also ventures into the world of entrepreneurship in a rather uncommon way. A simple man starts a shrimp business to do justice to a good friend’s memory and it sky rockets in the most unexpected way. The straight forward approach that he employs towards business and financial management without the understanding of the crooked means of the business world is a beautiful part of the script. There’s only a heartfelt ideal behind his business and a simple principle in conducting his trade that led him to success.
- The Big Short
The Big Short is a creative way Hollywood has explained complex financial terms. It is based on a book and narrates the story behind the economic crisis of 2007 in America. The characters of the movie directly address the viewer at many points- which is a novel approach to telling a story in a movie. There are different stories which connect to the financial crisis and provide insight to the ways the crisis impacted lives, especially that of investors and small businessmen.
- Margin Call
The directorial debut by JC Chandor is, again, a story of centering the financial crisis of 2007, but is told using a plotline that is fit within one day at a large Wall Street investment bank. The lives of employees in a large corporate financial setup is impacted just as harshly as smaller investors during the crisis and Margin Call documents the tale intensely. Amid layoffs and reputations in jeopardy, Margin Call depicts how the big players react to crises.
- Boiler Room
Boiler Room is an intense, jam-packed story of a talented, shrewd business savvy youngster named Seth. His journey from an unlicensed casino owner to an almost criminal just to get his family’s approval is the plotline. It offers a POV of an intelligent businessman and his tricks of the trade to maneuver through the complexities of the business world. A movie that ambitious entrepreneurs must certainly not miss.
The enlisted movies about entrepreneurship have artistically documented the lives and journeys of illustrious entrepreneurs, some fictional and some not. For a business enthusiast, they offer an unmatched insight into the world they are about to embark into and the dramatic highs and lows of it. From difficult bosses, blatant idea thefts, and fraudsters to legal hardships – the business world does not take it easy on a newcomer.
But thanks to the achievers from the past, there are lessons to be learnt and maps to be followed. Entrepreneur movies make for good pit-stops in the long learning process. There sure are many more to that deserve a place in the list; but these 10 are our top picks of best entrepreneurship movies that no one must miss.