The Top 10 Business Movies:

by on August 31st, 2010

michael_douglasSo you’ve perfected your application, done 50+ internships, put together a dazzling essay, and scored a perfect 800 on the GMAT. Fantastic. But what awaits you in the world of business once you get your MBA?

To find out, check out this must-see list of the top 10 business movies:

1. Office Space

This classic office comedy ought to be required viewing at all business schools. Nothing cures possessed copy machine-induced stress or a bad case of the Mondays faster than watching Peter spar with his dull and annoying bosses.

2. Wall Street

An iconic 80’s film about greed and morality. Michael Douglas is fantastic as Gordon Gekko, the apostle of the “greed is good” ideology. He may be on to something in terms of economic theory, though the SEC may not be so understanding, as the film depicts.

3. Working Girl

Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver are fantastic in this thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy. Melanie Griffith teaches us a valuable lesson as Tess the precocious administrative assistant: Never take your secretary for granted.

4. Network

A 70’s masterpiece about the business of the media. It took home four Academy Awards and gave us the catchphrase “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Uncannily prescient and brilliantly acted, this is one that stays with you.

5. Gung Ho

This 1986 comedy stars Michael Keaton as a foreman at an American car factory that gets taken over by a Japanese manufacturer. Consider it a hilarious lesson on labor management and the importance of understanding different cultures.

6. The Hudsucker Proxy

The Coen brothers, Tim Robbins, and Paul Newman come together for a good old fashioned screwball comedy. It’s a funny flick that demonstrates the importance of looking for innovators in all levels of a company.

7. The Aviator

A tale of entrepreneurship and obsession, the life of Howard Hughes should be of interest to any future mogul. Trailblazers in the communication and transportation industries have often had to contend with opportunistic politicians. Though Hughes does admirably well, you might not want to copy some of his lifestyle choices.

8. Other People’s Money

Danny DeVito shines as “Larry the Liquidator” in this smart, early 90’s drama. In this story we see a conflict as old as time itself: Love, or money? Which would you choose?

9. Boiler Room

Similar to Wall Street in theme, this 2000 drama uses the stock game to teach a valuable business lesson: Always be skeptical of deals that seem too good to be true. Giovanni Ribisi is great as a talented rookie broker.

10. Glengarry Glen Ross

Based on an excellent play by David Mamet, this Hollywood take features an all-star cast that includes, Ed Harris, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon, and Jonathan Pryce. Required viewing for people looking to get into the real estate game.

Honorable Mentions: Antitrust, Jerry Maguire, Erin Brokovich, Trading Places, Michael Clayton, The Insider, Barbarians at the Gate, Pirates of Silicon Valley, The Pursuit of Happyness

Jonathan A. Bethune is a Content Developer for Knewton’s GMAT prep course.


  • Thanks for setting up my Netflix queue. :)

  • You left out Godfather trilogy, which is how I would like to practice my business =).

    • Yikes! :)

    • I considered adding the Godfather movies, but I wanted to separate business and gangster movies. Mafia films would constitute an entirely different list.

      If you intend to use the Godfather as your business model, do be sure that your MBA program has an elective or two on breaking kneecaps and avoiding car bombs.


    • I disagree Jonathan! It would not be very Godfather-like if I have to learn how to do the dirty work myself! =)

  • Barbarians at the Gate is another great one.

  • 1, 2, 9 = BEST EVER

  • "Schinler's List" is another favourite!

  • What... "Up in the Air" is not listed? That should be among the top three.

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