The Wolf of Wall Street hit cinemas back in 2013 and it has divided critics across the globe. Some have called it a disgraceful celebration of corruption and greed, others an unfair attack on the financial sector and other as a modern classic that tackles the subject of greed head on. It also raises the question of how big business is generally depicted on the silver screen. Here are a few of the most famous examples of films that deal with business.
The obvious place to begin and, in many ways, a companion piece of The Wolf of Wall Street, Oliver Stone's 1987 hit takes on stock market corruption and insider trading. Charlie Sheen's financial up and comer's corruption at the hands of Michael Douglas' ruthless investor Gordon Gekko has informed how finance has been portrayed on screen ever since, with the immortal quote “Greed is good” falling into common parlance as the rallying cry for ultra-ambitious business people the world over.
It's a Wonderful Life
A far more positive view of how business people can affect the world around them is offered by Frank Capra in this Christmas time favourite from 1946. Sam Bailey is a small Savings and Loan officer from a small town whose common decency and humanity touches all those around him.
Mike Nichols' 1988 comedy about Melanie Griffith's working class secretary's tough time as she works her way through the ranks at Wall Street should be closely watched by anybody planning a career in finance. By no means an attack on corporatism, it still underlines the importance of watching your back in the corporate environment, particularly when you have a boss like Sigourney Weaver's Kathleen Parker around to steal your ideas and claim them as her own.
Too Big to Fail
Directed by Curtis Hanson, this television film depicts the 2008 financial crisis, in particular looking at the way the American Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson attempts to address the issue as the severity of the breakdown became apparent. It's a sobering look at how arrogance and greed in the place of confidence and ambition can lead severe problems across the business world.