Trading movies, movies about the stock market or the world of finance, are among the most exciting and thrilling movies in existence. The fast-paced, high action drama found in real-life markets and behind the scenes at trading desks around the world, often make for compelling stories that’ll captivate an audience and keep them on the edge of their seat.
Because trading and finance is serious business, it also can provide a hilarious plot for a comedy, showing off a lighter side of big-money corporations and high stakes risks.
Whatever the genre, here’s a must-watch list of the top stock market movies and best trading movies that Hollywood and the film industry has to offer.
Movies About Trading: 2011 – 2020
Margin Call (2011)
Drama / Thriller
Margin Call follows a group of employees at a major Wall Street investment bank just as the 2007-2008 financial crisis began to unfold. The film’s director and screenwriter, J. C. Chandor, was the son of a real-life investment banker and drew many of the movie’s themes from first-hand accounts and experiences. The film features Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, and Demi Moore, as the primary cast.
The movie’s plot focuses on over-leveraged mortgage-backed securities reaching historic levels of volatility, putting the entire firm at substantial risk.
Too Big To Fail (2011)
Too Big To Fail was a made-for-TV primetime HBO special based on the 2009 book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves. The film’s cast is comprised of Bill Pullman, James Woods, Tony Shalhoub, Topher Grace, and Paul Giamatti, and was nominated for a total of 11 Primetime Emmy Awards.
The movie depicts a fictional portrayal of the real-life former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and his actions surrounding the 2008 financial crisis.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Drama / Comedy
Part drama, part comedy, 100% a traders movie. The story of The Wolf of Wall Street follows Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, as he takes on a low-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm to get his foot in the door, but eventually makes a massive fortune and launches his own firm, Stratton Oakmont.
Belfort’s hi-jinx of drugs, sex, fraud, and excess make for a thoroughly enjoyable film that went on to win a Golden Globe award and received 5 Oscar nominations.
The Big Short (2015)
Drama / Comedy
The Big Short is a unique film following three concurrent stories taking price during the build-up to the sub-prime lending crisis and resulting housing market fallout.
The all-star cast features everyone from Christian Bale, to Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Goslin, and features cameo appearances from Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie, and the late Anthony Bourdain.
The film took home the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Betting on Zero (2016)
Betting on Zero is one of the few movies on this list that you can watch online on Netflix. The exclusive documentary follows billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman as he takes on dietary supplement company Herbalife, which Ackman claims is a massive pyramid scheme.
Ackman takes out a short position, essentially betting on Herbalife’s failure and profiting from it. The film was nominated for Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America and has a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Banking on Bitcoin (2017)
This documentary is less about trading and more about the ultimate trader’s asset: Bitcoin. Bitcoin is both an emerging technology based on blockchain, and the world’s best performing financial asset with the potential to disrupt modern money as it currently exists.
The documentary does a great job explaining the complicated cryptocurrency and its distributed ledger technology while offering fun anecdotes and stories of successful traders and investors.
Becoming Warren Buffet (2017)
Becoming Warren Buffet is a documentary based on one of the world’s wealthiest individuals and greatest investors of all-time, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet.
The documentary is a deep dive into the Buffet’s early days, how we got into investing, and even his interpersonal relationships that led him to become the greatest to ever exist.
Movies About Trading: 2001 – 2010
The Corporation (2003)
The Corporation looks at the ins and outs of what it is like to be a modern-day corporation and how it’s changed throughout generations from being a simple legal entity and organization to the cut throat grind it is today.
The documentary features vignettes and interviews from the likes of CEOs such as Ray Andersen, corporate world critics like Michael Moore, and businessmen like Peter Drucker, – and was nominated for over 26 international film awards.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is about top executives at the Enron Corporation, and their involvement in the company’s collapse and resulting scandal.
Enron execs were accused of an elaborate pump and dump scheme, where they drove up the price of their stocks artificially, only to sell their shares at the highest possible price, causing a stock market crash.
Wall Street Warriors (2006)
Wall Street Warriors is a recurring docu-series focusing on a variety of investors and traders that can provide inspiration or motivation for new traders seeking to get into day trading themselves.
Each episode in the series highlights a different individual, including many female traders and iconic investors.
Floored is another documentary, but this time putting a spotlight on Chicago-based traders whose jobs were put at risk due to the emergence of digital trading desks, and the electronic trading revolution.
The film demonstrates what happens on the other side of stock market trading, from financial disasters to soaring unemployment rates and more.
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Capitalism: A Love Story is a documentary film directed, written by, and starring outspoken critic Michael Moore. It focuses on the disparity between wealth in America, where the top 1 percent of people control most of the world’s money.
Moore challenges concepts of capitalism from all angles and shows how capitalism in America has become out of control and destructive.
Freakonomics is a collection of documentaries that digs deep into the science of economics, and is based on the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by economist Steven D. Levitt and writer Stephen J. Dubner.
The film features hilarious case studies on human behavior as it pertains to economics and money.
Inside Job (2010)
Matt Damon narrates this documentary focusing on the 2008 financial crisis, and “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption”.
Inside Job won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2010.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Fans of the first film had been begging for a movie like Wall Street, so the creators of the movie finally made a sequel, focusing on the 2008 financial crisis and takes place 23 years after the original.
The film features Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gordon Gekko, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, and Susan Sarandon.
Movies About Trading: 1991 – 2000
Other People’s Money (1991)
This comedy follows Lawrence “Larry the Liquidator” Garfield, played by Danny DeVito, who stakes his career on buying up other companies and selling off their assets, earning him the appropriate name.
However, the film turns from themes of greed to that of the high-risk game of romance with plenty of laughs in between.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Glengarry Glen Ross is the only film on the list adapted from a play of the same name. The film follows the story of four real estate salesmen, all fighting to keep their jobs.
The film features performances from Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, and Alec Baldwin, with many of the cast members nominated for a variety of industry awards.
Rogue Trader (1999)
Rogue Trader is based on the true story of the real-life of former derivatives broker Nick Leeson and the 1995 collapse of Barings Bank.
Leeson becomes one of Barings’ top traders, but little do they realize, Leeson has gone rogue and is hiding enormous losses right under the bank’s nose. The losses eventually bankrupt the bank, and Leeson attempts to escape.
Boiler Room (2000)
Boiler Room focuses on a college dropout who later launches his own unlicensed casino, giving him a taste of wealth and riches. There, the lead character meets the founder of an investment firm known for pumping and dumping stocks on investors left with losses.
Later, the FBI catches on and makes the main character their informant. The film’s all-star cast features Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Scott Caan, and Ben Affleck.
Movies About Trading: 1980 – 1990
Trading Places (1983)
Trading Places is a comedy featuring two comedy legends, Eddie Murphy, and Dan Ackroyd. The film follows a homeless street hustler and a commodities broker who trade places after a bet.
To this day, Trading Places is considered one of the funniest films focusing on the world of finance and was nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Comedy.
Billion Dollar Day (1986)
Billion Dollar Day focuses on the world’s most liquid market, the foreign currency or forex market. The documentary follows forex currency traders across New York, London, and Hong Kong.
Each trader reveals the challenges they face each day, and how they work to overcome them and profit from these lucrative markets.
Wall Street (1987)
Wall Street is hands down the most famous and popular movie focusing on Wall Street, the stock market, trading, and the world of finance.
The movie follows the life of a young stockbroker played by Charlie Sheen, who meets fictional icon Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, and is exposed to extreme corruption and wealth as the story about stock trading unfolds.
Trader focuses on real-life futures trader Paul Tudor Jones II and was filmed ahead of the 1987 stock market crash.
Jones believes that America is on the cusp of the end of a 200-year bull market, and the resulting collapse will completely change the landscape of the global economy.
The Best Trading Movies of All-Time
This list features some of the best trading movies of all-time, across a variety of genres. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to find an enjoyable flick among the above list of trading movie classics. But if you need a place to start, the below titles should be your first stops.
For those interested in a drama, Wall Street goes down in history as the most popular of the movies featured here, with more recent films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short following close behind.
If you’re looking for a laugh, Trading Places features two comedic legends, while Other People’s Money is a great choice. Even The Wolf of Wall Street has its share of hilarious moments, thanks to Jonah Hill’s performance.
The list is filled with hard-hitting informational documentaries, and there’s something for everyone. For those interested in new technologies, Banking on Bitcoin is a can’t miss, while Wall Street Warriors offers an inside look into the far-stretching world of traditional finance.
These movies offer a glimpse into what it’s like to be a trader and profit from markets. If these films pique your interest enough to look into trying your hand at day trading, then consider registering for a free account at PrimeXBT to start practicing.
PrimeXBT offers a less than 60-second sign up process, low minimum deposits, and detailed tutorials to help get you started. The trading platform offers Bitcoin-based margin trading, allowing traders to turn a low minimum deposit into position sizes much larger than their capital would normally allow, maximizing the opportunity for profit.