30 Great Movies About Money

Embarking on a cinematic odyssey to curate an exceptional list of films centered around the captivating realm of money, I anticipated a modest collection. However, I was soon swept away by a vast and mesmerizing array of cinematic gems that revolve around the complexities of wealth. It is a testament to the profound impact money has on our lives that so many visionary filmmakers have been drawn to explore its multifaceted nature.

With meticulous care, I have carefully selected 30 extraordinary movies that span diverse genres and narratives, each intricately intertwined with the omnipresence of money. From enchanting tales suitable for the entire family to thought-provoking narratives crafted for discerning adults, this curated collection showcases the profound influence of financial dynamics on human existence. As you delve into these films, you will be captivated by the intricate stories they unravel and the valuable insights they offer, shedding light on the intricacies of wealth and its impact on our lives.

Without further ado, join me on this captivating journey as we immerse ourselves in a cinematic landscape where fortunes rise and fall, desires clash, and the pursuit of riches unveils the depths of the human experience. These films are more than just entertainment; they are windows into the intricate tapestry of money and its profound influence on our collective narrative.

  1. The Big Short (2015) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
    Based on the true story of the 2008 financial crisis, The Big Short follows a group of finance professionals who predict the collapse of the housing market and decide to profit from it. This gripping film sheds light on the intricate web of financial instruments and the individuals who saw the impending disaster while others turned a blind eye.
  2. Up in the Air (2009) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
    Up in the Air centers around Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, who travels extensively for work as a corporate downsizer. As he navigates the world of constant travel and detachment, he confronts the value of personal connections, job security, and the pursuit of a fulfilling life amidst a career driven by financial considerations.
  3. Trading Places (1983) – Comedy, Rated R
    Starring: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis
    Trading Places tells the hilarious story of a bet between two wealthy brothers who swap the lives of a successful broker and a street hustler. This social satire explores themes of class, privilege, and the influence of money on individuals’ lives, delivering laughs along the way.
  4. The Social Network (2010) – Drama, Rated PG-13
    Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
    The Social Network depicts the rise of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. As Zuckerberg navigates the world of entrepreneurship, lawsuits, and personal relationships, the film explores the transformative power of a groundbreaking idea and the financial empire that emerges from it.
  5. The Queen of Versailles (2012) – Documentary, Rated PG
    Directed by: Lauren Greenfield
    The Queen of Versailles offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of a billionaire couple, David and Jackie Siegel, as they embark on building the largest and most extravagant mansion in America. However, their plans are disrupted by the 2008 financial crisis, revealing the consequences of excessive wealth and the fragility of materialistic pursuits.
  6. Boiler Room (2000) – Thriller, Rated R
    Starring: Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi
    Boiler Room intertwines elements of Wall Street and Glengarry Glen Ross (both of which also feature in this list) to present an engaging investment drama. Led by a talented young cast, the film follows the story of a resourceful college dropout who transitions from operating an illegal casino to establishing a seemingly legitimate investment business built on aggressive cold-calling. However, the inevitable bursting of the bubble sets the stage for intense drama to unfold.
  7. Brewster’s Millions (1985) – Comedy, Rated PG
    Starring: Richard Pryor, John Candy
    A beloved classic from the 80s, Brewster’s Millions centers around a minor league baseball player who receives an irresistible proposition: spend $30 million within 30 days and have nothing to show for it, and receive a staggering $300 million in return. There’s one catch—he cannot disclose the deal to anyone. Hilarity ensues as he extravagantly splurges on frivolous expenses, leaving everyone convinced of his insanity. However, he soon discovers that spending large sums of money is not as effortless or enjoyable as he initially believed.
  8. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) – Documentary, Rated R
    Starring: Michael Moore
    Michael Moore, a polarizing figure with contrasting opinions from the left and right, showcases his documentary filmmaking prowess in Capitalism: A Love Story. This thought-provoking film delves into the intricate relationship between American democracy, capitalism, and the economic collapse of the United States. It takes aim at Reagonomics, George W. Bush, and the free enterprise system, raising pertinent questions about the destination of all the wealth and who should be held accountable.
  9. Casino (1995) – Crime Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci
    While Goodfellas, another film exploring the theme of money, may be a personal favorite, Casino masterfully delves into the dark underbelly of wealth. Set in the 70s, the movie revolves around Ace Rothstein (DeNiro), a brilliant gambling connoisseur with connections to the mob. When he is tasked with managing the Tangiers casino, he turns it into a gold mine. However, with success comes inevitable complications, as the captivating Ginger (Stone) and ruthless mobster Nicky Santoro (Pesci) take full advantage of Ace’s achievements.
  10. The Color of Money (1996) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise
    Serving as a sequel to the original Paul Newman film, The Hustler, The Color of Money—directed by Martin Scorsese—explores the interplay between money, exploitation, and revenge. Tom Cruise portrays Vincent Lauria, a talented yet clueless pool player, while Newman returns as the wily “Fast” Eddie Felson, a former hustler who knows the tricks of the game. This film delivers one of the most memorable quotes of all time: “If you got an area of excellence…you’re the best at something, anything…then rich can be arranged.”
  11. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) – Documentary, Rated R
    Directed by: Alex Gibney
    Certain movies leave a profound impact, leaving you angrier and more frustrated than you ever thought possible. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is one such film. It sheds light on the corrupt and deceitful business practices of the Enron corporation, which manipulated California’s deregulated electricity market to amass billions of dollars. The fallout from their actions led to tragic consequences, including suicides, massive job losses, and one of the largest bankruptcies in modern history.
  12. The Firm (1993) – Thriller, Rated R
    Starring: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman
    Tom Cruise assumes the role of Mitch McDeere, an intelligent young lawyer who joins a small yet highly lucrative law firm. As he becomes increasingly suspicious of the unusually high number of lawyer deaths associated with the firm, he unravels its connections to organized crime. A significant moment in The Firm occurs when Mitch’s wife longs for the days when they struggled to scrape together enough money to buy pizza.
  13. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin
    Worth watching for Alec Baldwin’s iconic monologue alone, Glengarry Glen Ross, penned by David Mamet, is a film brimming with eloquent and thought-provoking dialogues. Set in a struggling Chicago real estate office, the movie explores the lengths to which salesmen are willing to go to close deals and avoid losing their jobs. Each character’s pursuit of financial success unveils the raw realities of the human condition. And always remember, “coffee’s for closers.”
  14. I.O.U.S.A. (2008) – Documentary, Rated PG
    Directed by: Patrick Creadon
    The United States’ national debt is rapidly spiraling out of control. As a nation, we have become dependent on credit, saving less than ever before, and our tax revenues alone are no longer sufficient to sustain us. I.O.U.S.A. offers a sobering portrayal of this predicament. The film follows the U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker, as he traverses the country, highlighting the extent of the damage done and the impending economic catastrophe looming ahead.
  15. In Debt We Trust (2007) – Documentary, Rated R
    Directed by: Danny Schechter
    In Debt We Trust shares striking similarities with I.O.U.S.A., but approaches the subject matter from a more personal standpoint. This documentary examines the alarming trend of “borrow now, pay later” that has swept the nation. We have shifted from owing less than what we had in savings to accumulating more debt, making minimum payments, and relying heavily on credit. The film raises concerns about the consequences this behavior will have on future generations and the world at large. The warning it delivers is more chilling than any horror movie.
  16. Indecent Proposal (1993) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson
    Imagine finding yourself in dire financial straits, on the brink of losing everything unless you can acquire a substantial sum ofmoney. Indecent Proposal explores this very scenario. A young couple, played by Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson, is faced with a life-altering proposition from a wealthy stranger, portrayed by Robert Redford. He offers them a mind-boggling amount of money in exchange for one night with the wife. The moral dilemma, emotional turmoil, and the fragility of relationships are put to the test as they grapple with the consequences of their decision.
  17. Inside Job (2010) – Documentary, Rated PG-13
    Directed by: Charles Ferguson
    Inside Job takes an incisive look into the 2008 financial crisis that sent shockwaves through the global economy. Through interviews with economists, policymakers, and financial insiders, this documentary meticulously dissects the events leading up to the collapse and exposes the systemic flaws and unethical practices that contributed to the meltdown. Inside Job serves as a stark reminder of the far-reaching impact of greed and the need for accountability in the financial world.
  18. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) – Drama, Rated PG-13
    Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
    Based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness follows the arduous journey of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, as he struggles to make ends meet and provide for his young son. Despite facing homelessness, financial setbacks, and countless obstacles, Gardner’s determination, resilience, and unwavering love for his son drive him to pursue a better life. This uplifting film reminds us of the indomitable human spirit and the pursuit of one’s dreams against all odds.
  19. Margin Call (2011) – Thriller, Rated R
    Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto
    Set during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis, Margin Call delves into the high-stakes world of investment banking. As an investment firm discovers the imminent collapse of the market, they must make tough decisions that could either save or sink the company. This tense and thought-provoking film peels back the layers of greed, deception, and moral ambiguity that permeate the financial industry, raising profound questions about ethics and the consequences of unchecked ambition.
  20. Moneyball (2011) – Sports Drama, Rated PG-13
    Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill
    Moneyball, based on a true story, presents a fresh perspective on the world of professional baseball and the power of statistical analysis. Brad Pitt portrays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, who revolutionizes the game by assembling a team based on data-driven player evaluations rather than traditional scouting methods. This captivating film explores the clash between tradition and innovation, the pursuit of success, and the value of finding undervalued assets in an industry driven by money.
  21. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Black Comedy, Rated R
    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
    Directed by Martin Scorsese and inspired by the real-life story of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street offers a wild, no-holds-barred depiction of excess, greed, and corruption in the world of high finance. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a tour-de-force performance as Belfort, a charismatic stockbroker who builds an empire fueled by manipulation, fraud, and unrestrained hedonism. This darkly comedic and cautionary tale serves as a stark reminder of the destructive allure of wealth and the consequences that follow.
  22. Wall Street (1987) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen
    Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone, epitomizes the ruthless world of corporate greed and insider trading. Michael Douglas delivers an iconic performance as Gordon Gekko, a wealthy and unscrupulous corporate raider who takes a young and ambitious stockbroker, played by Charlie Sheen, under his wing. As the young broker succumbs to the allure of wealth and power, he must confront his own moral compass and decide if he is willing to compromise his integrity for financial success.
  23. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – Drama, Not Rated
    Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
    “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a timeless classic that takes us on an emotional journey exploring the profound impact of money on our lives. James Stewart delivers a remarkable performance as George Bailey, a man facing financial ruin and contemplating suicide. Guided by his guardian angel, he sees a world where he never existed and realizes the immense value of his own life and the lives he has touched. This heartwarming film reminds us of the true meaning of wealth and the power of human connections.
  24. Jerry Maguire (1996) – Drama/Romance, Rated R
    Starring: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.
    “Jerry Maguire” delves into the complexities of money, success, and personal fulfillment. Tom Cruise portrays Jerry Maguire, a sports agent who experiences a moral awakening and decides to redefine his career by putting his clients’ well-being above financial gain. This inspiring film explores themes of loyalty, love, and finding true happiness amidst the materialistic world of professional sports. With a captivating storyline and memorable performances, “Jerry Maguire” reminds us that wealth is not solely measured by monetary achievements.
  25. Maxed Out (2006) – Documentary, Not Rated
    Directed by: James D. Scurlock
    “Maxed Out” offers a thought-provoking examination of the debt crisis plaguing America. Through the lens of personal stories and expert insights, this documentary reveals the predatory lending practices and financial struggles faced by individuals burdened with overwhelming debt. With a blend of satire and powerful narratives, the film exposes the darker side of the credit industry and raises important questions about the consequences of living beyond our means.
  26. Office Space (1999) – Comedy, Rated R
    Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Ron Livingston
    “Office Space” hilariously portrays the daily grind of office life and the disillusionment that can arise from being trapped in a monotonous job driven by financial concerns. Ron Livingston stars as Peter Gibbons, a disenchanted software company employee who rebels against the corporate machine. This cult classic satirizes workplace culture, the pursuit of material success, and the quest for genuine happiness. With its witty humor and relatable themes, “Office Space” reminds us to find fulfillment beyond the confines of our cubicles.
  27. The One Percent (2006) – Documentary, Not Rated
    Directed by: Jamie Johnson
    “The One Percent” offers a compelling exploration of wealth inequality and its consequences in America. Filmmaker Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, provides a personal perspective as he delves into the lives of the super-rich, examining their immense wealth and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Through interviews and observations, this documentary challenges us to critically analyze the impact of economic disparities on society and the future of our nation.
  28. Other People’s Money (1991) – Comedy Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Danny DeVito, Gregory Peck
    “Other People’s Money” tells a captivating story about the clash between personal lives and the pursuit of financial gain. Danny DeVito delivers a stellar performance as Larry the Liquidator, a ruthless investor who seeks to dismantle struggling companies for profit. When he encounters a family-owned business, he faces unexpected challenges from a feisty lawyer and a relative of the owners who refuse to let their lives be reduced to mere numbers. This film explores the delicate balance between money and humanity, highlighting the importance of personal connections and the value of a life beyond financial success.
  29. Rogue Trader (1999) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel
    “Rogue Trader” depicts the real-life story of Nick Leeson, a trader whose risky financial maneuvers led to the collapse of Barings Bank. Ewan McGregor portrays Leeson as he rises through the ranks and becomes entangled in a web of unauthorized trades and deceptive practices. This gripping drama delves into the psychological and financial pressures faced by individuals in the high-stakes world of banking and raises questions about the moral and ethical boundaries of pursuing wealth at any cost.
  30. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – Drama, Rated R
    Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor
    “Slumdog Millionaire” is a captivating rags-to-riches story set against the backdrop of Mumbai’s slums. Dev Patel stars as Jamal Malik, a young man who participates in the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in the hopes of reuniting with his lost love. Through a series of flashbacks, we witness Jamal’s extraordinary journey and the experiences that have shaped his knowledge and resilience. This Oscar-winning film explores the power dynamics of money, love, and destiny, highlighting the indomitable spirit of the human soul.
  31. (BONUS) The Sting (1973) – Crime Comedy, Rated PG
    Starring: Robert Redford, Paul Newman
    “The Sting” is a classic crime comedy that weaves an intricate tale of deception, revenge, and, of course, the allure of money. Robert Redford and Paul Newman deliver charismatic performances as two con men seeking to outsmart a notorious crime boss in 1930s Chicago. With its stylish setting and clever plot twists, “The Sting” takes audiences on a thrilling ride through the world of high-stakes gambling and elaborate confidence schemes. This Academy Award-winning film not only entertains with its witty dialogue and charismatic characters but also explores the lengths people will go to for a chance at fortune and justice.

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These 30 movies, each with its unique approach and perspective, shed light on the multifaceted role money plays in our lives. Whether through thrilling dramas, insightful documentaries, or thought-provoking comedies, they offer glimpses into the complex dynamics and consequences associated with wealth, power, and financial decision-making. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and embark on a cinematic journey that explores the captivating world of money.

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