Top 12 Movies every Finance/ Risk Management Student and Professional Should Watch

People watching a movie

Margin Call (2011)

Reason To recommend: Movie starts from the Risk management department of investment bank and revolves around forecast made by risk management and the decisions taken by board of investment bank. After watching this movie, you will understand the importance of risk management department.

Related FRM Topic: General Risk Management Profession (No direct reference to topic).

Movie Bio: Margin Call is a 2011 American independent drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor. The story takes place over a 36-hour period at a large Wall Street investment bank and highlights the initial stages of the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The ensemble cast features Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci.

The film was shot over a period of 18 days in New York City and New Jersey. Its production budget was estimated to be $3.4 million, which was funded by independent investors and film funds. It premiered in the United States on October 3, 2011, at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City and was released in theaters nationwide on October 21.

Margin Call is a drama that centers on the key people at an investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis of 2007–2008. It is an examination of the greed and fear that drove the financial industry in the years leading up to the crisis. At risk is the jobs of the employees and their futures, as well as the financial security of millions of people. The film also looks at the moral delima of the board and risk management team in investment bank.

The Big Short (2015)

Reason to Recommend: This movie set in pre financial crisis period and focuses on the events which lead to the 2007 – 2008 financial crisis. There are guest appearances of actors where they explain key terms like Mortgage-Backed Securities, CDOs, etc in Laymans terms by breaking the fourth wall. Margot Robbie explaining Subprime mortgages and Selena Gomez talking about synthetic CDOs is fun to watch.

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Financial Crisis of 2007.

Movie Bio: The film follows the lives of several characters from the book, as they each try to make a profit from the impending economic collapse. The four main characters are Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Mark Baum (Steve Carell), Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), and Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt). They are all on the outside of the financial industry, and each has their own unique perspective on the impending economic collapse.

The film also follows the story of two Wall Street traders (Melissa Leo and Marisa Tomei) who are betting against the market, and a group of investors (John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, and Hamish Linklater) who use unconventional methods to make their profits.

The film is a mix of drama and comedy, as it follows the characters in their struggles with the banking system. It is an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the financial world and the people who inhabit it.

Inside Job (2010)

Reason to Recommend: Similar to movie The Big short, this documentary is based on financial crisis of 2007 -08 but focus is on the events on political and regulatory side of the industry.

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Financial Crisis 2007-08

Movie Bio: Inside Job is a 2010 American documentary film about the late-2000s financial crisis directed by Charles Ferguson. The film centers on the actions and decisions of several major financial institutions, investment banks, and government regulators that led to the crisis. It features interviews with prominent financial and political figures such as former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

The film chronicles the financial crisis of 2007–2010, beginning with the collapse of the housing and credit bubbles in 2008, and continuing through President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan. It is divided into five parts: The Bubble, The Crisis, The Response, Regulation and Reform, and Aftermath. Inside Job examines the causes of the crisis, the role of Wall Street, the economic costs of the crisis, and possible solutions to the problem. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2011.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Reason to Recommend: This documentary explains the events which lead to collapse of Enron and also talks about how CEO Jeffery exploited the accounting principles (fair value accounting).

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Financial Disaster

Movie Bio: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) is a documentary film that tells the story of the spectacular rise and fall of the Enron Corporation. Directed by Alex Gibney, the film is based on the book of the same name written by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. It chronicles the events leading up to Enron’s dramatic downfall in the early 2000s due to widespread corporate fraud and corruption.

The film documents the ruthless corporate culture of Enron, and reveals how the company’s top executives – CEO Jeffrey Skilling, Chairman Kenneth Lay, and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow – manipulated the finances to create a false picture of success. It also explores how the company’s accounting practices were enabled by the major accounting firm Arthur Andersen, and how the company’s top executives enriched themselves at the expense of the company’s stockholders.

The film features interviews with former Enron employees and journalists, financial analysts, and other observers, as well as archival footage and stock market charts. It provides an in-depth look at how the corporation’s fraudulent business practices caused its spectacular collapse, and how its key executives evaded accountability for their actions.

Trillion Dollar Bet (2000)

Reason to Recommend: Someone said (that someone is me), ‘behind every successful financial disaster there is a genius man’ and LTCM is proof. This documentary explains the events which lead to LTCM collapse.

Reference to FRM Topic: FRM Part I- Financial Disaster

Movie Bio: Trillion Dollar Bet is a 2000 documentary film that follows the rise and fall of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM). The documentary follows the creative genius of John Meriwether and his team of Nobel Prize winners and Wall Street veterans as they attempt to revolutionize the world of high finance. As the team amasses an investment fund of over $100 billion, their success gives way to massive losses that threaten the global financial system. Through interviews with former LTCM employees, the film gives an insider’s look at the events that led to the fund’s failure, and explores the implications of the trillion dollar bet. The film features interviews with former LTCM partners, Nobel Prize-winning economists, and Wall Street analysts, and offers an insight into the high-stakes world of finance and the dangers of excessive risk-taking.

Rogue Trader (1999)

Reason to Recommend: Never trust anyone, specially stock traders. This movie will take you in the trading in late 1980s. You will see the trading floor before the computer era.

Reference to FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Financial Disaster

Movie Bio: Rogue Trader is a 1999 drama film directed by James Dearden and starring Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, and Tom Wilkinson. It is based on the memoirs of Nick Leeson, an employee of Barings Bank who caused its collapse in 1995 by fraud and unauthorized speculative trading.

The film follows Leeson (McGregor) as he is recruited by Barings Bank in the late 1980s and is quickly promoted to General Manager of their Singapore office. His ambition and naivety leads him to make a series of questionable decisions, resulting in massive losses and the eventual downfall of the bank. Friel plays Leeson’s wife, who is unaware of her husband’s illegal activities. Wilkinson plays the senior manager of Barings Bank who is ultimately responsible for the bank’s downfall.

The film received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office, but has since gained a cult following. It was nominated for several awards, including a British Academy Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Wilkinson.

Too big to fail (2011)

Reason to Recommend: The movie is about Leahman brother collapse and the role of Henry Paulson (then US Secretory of the Treasury).

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Financial Disasters

Movie Bio: Too Big to Fail is a 2011 HBO television film based on the book of the same name by Andrew Ross Sorkin. The film dramatizes the 2008 financial crisis and the actions taken by Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner to prevent a complete collapse of the global financial system. The film stars William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, Topher Grace, James Woods, Edward Asner, Bill Pullman, Matthew Modine and Cynthia Nixon. It was directed by Curtis Hanson and written by Peter Gould. The film follows the key players in the 2008 financial crisis, including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (William Hurt), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (Paul Giamatti), and New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner (Billy Crudup). It also covers the actions taken by the US government, the Federal Reserve, and major banks to prevent a complete collapse of the global financial system. The film is a dramatization of the events that took place in 2008, and features interviews with some of the key players involved in the crisis. In addition to the main characters, the film also features appearances from key figures such as Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, and Hank Paulson.

Wall Street (1987)

Reason to Recommend: Gekko is fictional character (may be inspired by someone) arguably influenced lots of young traders of the time. This movie is not so relevant anymore but it set the path for upcoming traders. This movie will motivate you a lot but don’t follow Gekko’s path (to jail).

Famous clip from the movie – Greed is Good

Greed is Good Speech

Reference to FRM Topic: FRM Part II – Current issues Reading based on Gorden Gekko (now removed from curriculum)

Movie Bio: Wall Street is a 1987 drama film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, and Daryl Hannah. The film tells the story of a young and ambitious stockbroker, Bud Fox (Sheen), who gets involved in the high-stakes world of Wall Street trading and mergers and acquisitions. He quickly becomes involved with the ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Douglas), who takes him under his wing and teaches him the tricks of the trade.

Fox soon discovers that Gekko’s ambitions take a dark turn when Gekko begins to manipulate stocks to his own financial advantage. Fox is forced to choose between loyalty to Gekko and loyalty to his own moral code. The film examines the morality of corporate greed and malfeasance in the 1980s. It eventually won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Douglas).

Moneyball (2011)

Reason to Recommend: This movie is statistics lesson for everyone.

Reference to FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Quants Subject

Movie Bio: Moneyball is a 2011 American sports drama film based on the 2003 non-fiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis. Directed by Bennett Miller and written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, it stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, and Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, Beane’s assistant.

The film follows Beane and Brand’s attempts to assemble a competitive team of players on a shoestring budget by taking a data-driven, analytical approach to the sport of baseball. Beane and Brand use sabermetrics, a form of analytics, to assess the value of players and acquire undervalued talent. It examines the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics and their general manager Billy Beane’s attempts to assemble a competitive team despite Oakland’s small budget.

The film was a commercial success and earned positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Pitt and Hill, the screenplay, and the depiction of the sabermetrics approach to baseball. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for Pitt, and won Best Film Editing.

Quants: The Alchemist of Wall Street

Reason to Recommend: As the name suggests, this is again quants lesson for everyone but at advanced level. This documentary by Paul Willmot talks about the involment of mathematics in finance and its impact on the industry.

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part I – Quants Subject

Movie Bio:
Quants: The Alchemist of Wall Street is a documentary film about the rise of quantitative trading and the people behind it. The film follows the careers of several prominent quantitative traders, highlighting their strategies and successes, as well as their struggles and failures. It examines the impact of quantitative trading on the global financial markets, as well as its implications for the future of the industry. The film also sheds light on the ethical considerations and moral implications of quantitative trading. Through interviews with industry leaders, academics, and regulators, Quants: The Alchemist of Wall Street provides an insightful look into the world of quantitative trading, and the people who have made it their livelihood.

The Wizard of lies (2017)

Reason to Recommend: This movie is about former chairman of NASDAQ running the biggest ponzy scheme.

Related FRM Topic: FRM Part II – Finding Bernie Madoff

Movie Bio: The Wizard of Lies is a 2017 HBO biographical crime film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Sam Levinson, Sam Baum and John Burnham Schwartz. It is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Diana B. Henriques. The film stars Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff, Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife Ruth, and Alessandro Nivola as their older son Mark.

The story follows Bernie Madoff, a Wall Street investor, who cheated thousands of investors out of billions of dollars over the course of decades by perpetrating a Ponzi scheme. The film focuses on Madoff’s family and their reactions to his notorious crimes, as well as his attempts to avoid detection by the authorities. The film follows Madoff’s downfall and its aftermath, including the criminal proceedings against him and his family. The film also explores the impact of his fraud on his victims.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Reason to Recommend: If I don’t recommend someone will comment on this add ‘Wolf of WS’ in this list. This movie is entertaining and mainly revolvs around the lifestyle of a man running successful broker firm selling penny stocks.

Related FRM Topic: NA

Movie Bio: The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Terence Winter, based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, a New York stockbroker who runs a firm that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.

The Wolf of Wall Street was released to critical acclaim and was a major financial success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2013 with a worldwide gross of over $392 million. The film garnered five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for DiCaprio, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill. It also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

The film follows Belfort’s rise from penny stockbroker to Wall Street kingpin, as well as his downfall from wealth and power. It also explores his hedonistic lifestyle and indulgence in drugs and sex. It has been noted for its accurate portrayal of the excesses of Wall Street culture, with DiCaprio’s performance earning him praise.

Do you have any movie recommendations? Please drop your suggestion in comment section.


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