From making ends meet to making millions, the topic of finance has inspired many an instant hit in Hollywood.
Colourful characters and improbable odds often found in these movies provide a blueprint for classic drama. Think Gordon Gekko. Think Patrick Bateman. Think of Enron’s story and it’s hard to remember where fiction ends and fact begins.
The larger than life stories of tragedy, comedy, greed, excess, moral failings and redemption makes for great cinema.
For example, Christian Bale’s wildly unhinged Patrick Bateman in American psycho is a successful investment banker in the excessive 80s with a dark, all-consuming secret. American Psycho portrays the surreal world of Wall Street where humanity takes a holiday and ethics are synonymous with inhibitions. Throw in some gratuitious sex scenes and gore, and it’s a hit for the masses as well as the indie crowd.
Another top film on the list is based on the nonfiction book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. The movie captures the housing bubble that triggered the 2007 financial crisis. Told through the eyes of a select few who saw it coming, the movie simplifies and explains sophisticated financial instruments such as mortgage-backed bonds through good old fashioned compelling storytelling.
But the top finance film to the rule the roost is Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Like other finance films of the 80s, it was intended to reveal the greed and hedonism of New York’s moneyed moguls. The cult classic still holds its appeal for traders, brokers, analysts and bankers 30 years on for its timelessness as a cautionary tale about the dangers of insider trading.
ABC Finance analysed the 10 top films about finance, including how well each did at the box office compared to their monetary budget in an infographic below. Read on for more.