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Top 5 Movies About Money

Who doesn’t love money? We think about it constantly, we envy those who have more of it than we do, and our entire society is dictated by the almighty dollar bill. Hollywood caught onto this notion a long time ago and has made countless movies about money. Some have glorified the lifestyle of the rich and famous while others have attempted to highlight the personal misery inherent in greed and corruption. Whatever the angle, each film tells a story of how money affects us and how we use it to interact with the world. A select few have made their way to the forefront of popular culture and have heavily influenced the way we think about money, be it a glamorous stack of $100 bills or easy credit cards. Below are the best movies about money that we have come to know and love.

1. Wall Street (1987)

Directed by: Oliver Stone. Starring: Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah Greed on Wall Street was immortalized in the public sphere with the character of Gordon Gekko and his ruthless crusade of getting rich by any means necessary. In fact, Michael Douglas’ character coined the phrase “greed is good.” He takes a young and ambitious stock broker named Bud Fox under his wing and manipulates him to get insider information. After taking it a step too far by dismantling the airline company Bud’s father worked for after buying the majority of shares, Bud retaliates by conducting a scheme that forces Gekko to sell off plummeting shares of another company. Both end up going to prison for insider trading and securities fraud which just goes to show that, in the end, greed and crime doesn’t pay.


2. Boiler Room (2000)

Directed by: Ben Younger. Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck Giovanni Ribisi stars in this money drama about a college dropout named Seth Davis, looking to get rich quick. He starts by running an illegal casino in his apartment before turning to work for a small brokerage firm. Davis excels in his new job but quickly learns that the entire firm is tainted and his job is to be a pawn running pump and dump schemes on unsuspecting investors. After knowingly screwing an honest man out of his life savings at the direction of his boss, Seth turns over information to the FBI after being confronted. Getting rich quick comes at a steep price; you may be living large at first, but greed will always come back to bite you.


3. Casino (1995)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese. Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone Money, corruption, and mob violence: this was how Las Vegas was run in the 1970’s. The film chronicles Sam “Ace” Rothstein (played by De Niro), a mafia sports handicapper who is assigned to run a Vegas casino. He is successful at first, but he runs into the inevitable problems that come with a life of greed and corruption. In the end, all those close to him end up dead as he survives a narrow assassination attempt himself and moves away from Las Vegas for good. Oh, and Joe Pesci's character stabs a guy to death with a ballpoint pen.


4. Trading Places (1983)

Directed by: John Landis. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy Made at a time when Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy were still funny, Trading Places tells the story of a wealthy commodities broker and a homeless man whose positions are switched at the will of two powerful brothers (who run the commodities firm) for the purpose of amusement and settling a bet. When the two learn about this bet, they plot revenge and ruin the fortune of the brothers while simultaneously making financial gains from their loss. In this case, karma hits hard on those who feel entitled while those who initially suffered reap the rewards.


5. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Directed by: Cameron Crowe. Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Renee Zellweger A heartwarming film that shows money isn’t everything, Jerry Maguire is about a young sports agent who does things his own way after suffering from a guilty conscience and gets fired from his firm. Instead of doing business based on whatever makes him the most money, he decides to invest more time and effort into the desires of the client while simultaneously developing a relationship with a single mom. The movie ends with a football player happy to finish his career where he wants and Jerry being the family man he’s always wanted to be.

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Logan Abbott's picture

Logan Abbott is a personal finance and credit card expert with over 5 years of experience writing about each topic. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and also contributes to other online finance publications. He has been quoted in the New York Times, San Diego Union Tribune, TheStreet, and more.

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