Have you ever walked into the movies and come out inspired and feeling like a different person?
If you are an entrepreneur or preparing yourself to become one, you must watch these unforgettable movies to understand what I mean.
1. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs.
This is a classic film that shows the beginnings of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as they built their technology empires in the 1980s. It highlights their rivalry, trials and triumphs, and the different ways the tech founding fathers operated. You will see how a 20-year-old took on a huge corporation like IBM and learn the value of believing in your dream and following through with it no matter what. It doesn’t matter if someone copies your idea. What matters is the execution and how well you do it. Nobody can copy that. And when you’re just starting out, a little competition never hurt anyone.
2. The Social Network (2010)
“We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!” – Sean Parker.
This is another great movie that every entrepreneur should watch. It shows the meteoric rise of the world’s youngest billionaire and his Harvard dorm-room startup – Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg took a simple idea and turned it into one of the most profitable businesses to date. You’ll see how he did it and the challenges he faced along the way, including rifts with his co-founders. Apart from learning from Zuckerberg’s experience, you’ll also enjoy some deft storytelling and brilliant background score.
3. Boiler Room (2000)
“What do you mean, you’re gonna pass. Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don’t see a number on your back.” – Seth Davis
Every entrepreneur in business faces moral dilemmas at some point in their career. This movie is about a 19 year old college dropout, Seth Davis, who is faced with a dire moral issue. Seth rises to become one of the top brokers at brokerage firm J.T. Marlin, but something at the firm seems suspicious. What does he do when faced with the dilemma of money and greed versus morals and legality? What would you do? This movie will sensitize you to the very real struggle between right and wrong, money and greed and morality and legality in business.
4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” – Chris Gardner
This is an inspiring story of a struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith), who losses everything, including his wife, house and money. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and defeat, Chris picks himself up, works harder and smarter than the competition to make life better for himself and his son. It’s a powerful motivational movie based on a true story that will give you goosebumps and help you see the value of having a good attitude and strong work ethic in the pursuit of happiness and a better life.
5. Flash of Genius (2008)
“Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?” – Bob Kearns
Anyone who’s an entrepreneur must watch this movie to understand why it’s important to protect your ideas from being stolen. Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), a college professor, invents the windshield wiper that is embraced by all the auto giants of the 1960s, becoming a standard device on all cars. However, the automakers do not give Kearns the credit he is due. It might be heartbreaking to watch as Kearns fights powerful corporations for his credit, but therein lies an important lesson for all entrepreneurs to learn.
6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
“I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?” – Jordan Belfort
This controversial movie might not have won Leonardo Di Caprio (playing Jordan Belfort) an Academy Award, but it sure can teach you valuable lessons about success, fame, fortune, greed and respect for law. As Belfort says, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” However, with achieved goals, money, power, fame, women and drugs comes many temptations that can jeopardize your success. Discipline and awareness is critical to retain any success you achieve.
7. Office Space (1999)
“Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?” – Peter Gibbons
This hilarious film is for anyone who hates their 9-to-5 office job and is itching to plunge into entrepreneurship. It revolves around Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who discovers how much he hates sitting inside a cubicle every weekday, taking orders from his creepy boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole). If there’s ever a film that will make you laugh, give you a refreshing new outlook on life, motivate you to get out of a desk job you hate and fire you up to pursue a venture that you truly love, then this is it!
8. Limitless (2011)
“I had come this close to making an impact on the world. And now the only thing I was going to make an impact on was the sidewalk.” – Eddie Morra
This thrilling film about a struggling writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) will teach you something about taking shortcuts, quick fixes and the easy path to success. Eddie is sure he has no future as he is faced with unemployment and his girlfriend’s rejection. However, that all changes when an old friend gives him a mysterious pill that allows him to access 100% of his brain abilities. Stoked on the untested drug, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world, but terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threatens to collapse his house of cards. Quick and easy fixes aren’t so easy after all, or are they?.
9. Wall Street (1987)
“The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” – Gordon Gekko
This is arguably one of the best entrepreneurial movies of all time. It follows an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), who will do just about anything it takes to succeed as he is guided by the nebulous motto “Greed is good.” Suddenly, everything comes to a head when Fox is asked to help do something not only illegal, but morally reprehensible. The movie will teach you not to sell yourself out for the sake of money. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about being rich and famous.
10. The Godfather (1972)
“Great men are not born great, they grow great . . .” – Mario Puzo
Another strong contender for the all-time greatest piece of cinema for entrepreneurs. It follows the story of the Godfather and his son Michael Corleone who oversee the growth of a small family business into what eventually becomes the largest organized crime family in New York. Although we don’t recommend taking the illegal route, this is a must-see for all entrepreneurs who want to learn what it takes to get to the top, and more importantly what it takes to stay there.
I’m sure we’ve left out a few. Tell us in the comments below; what movie would you add that every entrepreneur has to watch?
Featured photo credit: Pink Cow Photography via flickr.com