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Entrepreneurs must be willing to tolerate hard work, long hours, and obstacles at every turn if they want to ensure the success of their business ventures.
Whether you’re new to the field or have years of experience under your belt, there will be times when you’ll ask whether the pursuit of success is worth it.
The year 2020 brought a global economic downturn, and now, more than ever, entrepreneurs need inspiration to keep going.
Movies offer a welcome break from the challenges entrepreneurs face. They can lift morale and provide valuable insights into the world of business and finance.
Today, we’re sharing our curated list of the best entrepreneur movies. These films were selected mainly because they are both inspirational and able to provide insight into the world of entrepreneurs. We used the following criteria when selecting the films featured in this article:
In no particular order, we present to you the best entrepreneur movies of all time.
11 Best Inspirational Entrepreneur Movies of All Time
1. Citizen Kane
Let's start with one of the most discussed movies of all time—Citizen Kane, which was released in 1941. At this time, Orson Welles, who produced, co-wrote, directed, and starred in the film, was already famous for his The War of the Worlds radio broadcast. Citizen Kane won the award for best writing in the 14th Academy Awards. With its cinematography, plot twist, and noteworthy performances by the actors, the movie has been declared one of the most influential of all time.
The film introduces us to newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. Throughout the movie, we learn about Kane’s life and how he became one of the most influential entrepreneurs of his time.
This movie serves as a reminder that although success is a goal that entrepreneurs aim for, there are other, more important things worth achieving in life. (Check out this post for 129 30-Day Challenge ideas to create a better life.)
2. The Pursuit of Happyness
This 2006 movie starred Will Smith and is considered an inspiration for entrepreneurs going through difficulties on their journeys to success. (Check out 165 uplifting quotes for difficult times in your life.)
The movie is based on autobiographical book written by stockbroker Chris Gardner, where he shared his experience as a homeless single father.
In The Pursuit of Happyness, we see a man who worked hard but still ended up losing almost all that mattered in his life. However, he was willing to do everything that it took to get back on top.
This movie reminds us to never give up on our dreams, no matter how hard the journey is.
3. The Founder
Although the film’s main character is not very endearing, this movie is still worth watching for the key takeaways it offers about entrepreneurship, including important things to consider when it comes to negotiating contracts in business partnerships.
The film takes us back to the time when brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald started their burger business. It shows how, through the brothers’ partnership with Ray Kroc, their burger stand became one of the most popular fast food chains in the United States and throughout the world.
The movie reminds us that a simple idea, when implemented correctly, can grow in popularity and take the world by storm.
4. Erin Brockovich
This biographical movie was released in 2000 and is based on the life of Erin Brockovich, highlighting her contribution to the case brought against Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The film stars Julia Roberts as Brockovich. Roberts’ portrayal earned her an Academy Award for best actress in 2001.
This movie is especially empowering for female entrepreneurs who face challenges such as gender discrimination on their way to growing their business ventures. The film reminds us to stay true to our vision and keep going, even if the odds seem stacked against us.
For extra motivation, check out these resilience quotes to overcome any adversity in life.
5. The Big Short
The Big Short was released in 2015 and won the Oscar for the best adapted screenplay in 2016.
This movie is an adaptation of the book of the same title written by Michael Lewis. Lewis’ book showed how the mid-2000 U.S. financial crisis was triggered by compounding events, with the housing market crash being the major contributor. In the movie, we see how several individuals were able to profit from the catastrophe.
The film teaches us lessons about investing, which is not necessarily always done “by the book.” Oftentimes, it pays to listen to your intuition regarding where to put your money, despite what other people say.
6. Jerry Maguire
The American Film Institute ranks Jerry Maguire as the 10th best sports movie of all time. Cuba Gooding, Jr. won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in the film, and the movie went on to receive more accolades from other prestigious award-giving bodies.
In this film, we meet sports agent Jerry Maguire. He has everything going for him—a stellar career, the certainty of a romantic relationship, and a wide network of friends. However, his personal convictions come into conflict with the highly competitive nature of being a sports agent. Things fall apart in his life, but through his experiences he discovers the true meaning of success.
The movie shows us how important it is to be true to ourselves if we are to achieve lasting happiness and real success.
7. The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada was released in 2006 and is one of the highest grossing films of that year. Meryl Streep received the Golden Globe award for best actress (motion picture musical or comedy) for her portrayal of Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly.
In the movie, we witness Andy Sach’s travails as she works as co-assistant to Miranda Priestly. Priestly is a powerful force in the fashion world, and uses her personal power to propel her ambitions forward. Her determination inspires viewers to have the same passion for their own goals and dreams.
Although Priestly is an anti-hero, she shows us the fruits of hard work, as well as giving us a good understanding of the industry she works in and the negotiations required get to where she wants to be in terms of success.
8. Wall Street
This 1987 film came to epitomize success during that period. After seeing the film, many people were inspired to become stockbrokers. Michael Douglas won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko.
The film introduces us to Bud Fox, a stockbroker who has ambitions of becoming filthy rich like his hero, corporate raider Gordon Gekko. This leads Fox to approach Gekko, and the two eventually collaborate on ventures that use unethical and illegal trading to gain money.
The film compels us to look within and examine our own ethics when it comes to achieving what we want.
How far will you go to achieve your ambitions?
Also, how far will you go to redeem yourself?
Finally, Wall Street reminds us that there is more to being an entrepreneur than acquiring a vast amount of wealth.
This biographical film is about a young woman who overcame a lot of challenges to create her own business empire. It is based on the life of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano. The film shows the rewards of believing in your dreams no matter what stands in your way.
This movie is valuable for the lessons it imparts about having the right mindset for success, resilience, and persistence.
Furthermore, it empowers us by helping us remember that we may come from different walks of life, but we can all be successful if we are willing to work hard for the lives we dream of. (You can check out some vision board ideas that help make your dreams come true.)
For her portrayal of Joy Mangano in this film, Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe award for best actress (motion picture musical or comedy).
10. The Social Network
The Social Network is a multi-award-winning film that was first released in 2010. It won three Academy Awards, namely:
Other prestigious award-giving bodies have also recognized the artistic merits of this film. Moreover, it was hailed as one of the best movies of 2010.
The film takes us to the beginning of what would one day become one of the most influential (and one of the most addicting) forces in social media: Facebook. We see Mark Zuckerberg bring the social network to life with the help of his friends. Then we witness their fight over the ownership of the social media giant, as well as other challenges inherent in creating a startup that takes the world by storm.
The movie is a model of the entrepreneurial spirit, but also comes with a warning about the consequences of an idea that catches on and takes over the world.
This film premiered in 2011 to critical acclaim and box office success. It is based on a nonfiction book of the same title. The movie and book document the attempts of Oakland Athletics baseball team general manager Billy Beane to assemble a team to face the “giants” of baseball.
The film reminds us that entrepreneurial success is often not just about sheer talent. Instead, it also depends on the level of grit that a person possesses. Furthermore, the movie provides a timely message: Embrace technology related to your field and it might just help you succeed in ways you’ve never imagined before.
Final Thoughts on the Best Entrepreneur Movies
There you have it—11 of the best entrepreneur movies. Among other things, these films serve as reminders that the sacrifices you make are worth it in the end.
I hope they inspire you and give you a fresh perspective about your own journey as an entrepreneur.
Speaking of perspective, you might also want to check out our list of the best philosophical movies of all time.
Furthermore, here are some resources that you might want to check out on how to become a better entrepreneur:
If you're looking for inspirational movies for young yet-to-be entrepreneurs, check out our list of motivational movies for students and these great movies about teamwork.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.