If you have some downtime and want to unwind, but do not wish to go too far away from your work zone, then the following are films you may find inspirational or enjoyable as a trader. Not all these films are specifically about trading or the stock market, though there can still be important takeaways for a trader:
The Wolf of Wall Street
The 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street is an immensely popular film directed by Martin Scorsese that created a major buzz during the awards season that year, earning five nominations for the Academy Awards, four for the BAFTAs and two for the Golden Globes.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey, the film is set in the 1980s and shows a glimpse of the fast-paced life of a Wall Street broker.
DiCaprio, the protagonist, gets roped into the spoils of the stockbroker culture, losing sight of simply trading for gains and instead getting waylaid by greed and substances.
Again, while nothing about the films main plot sounds like it should be inspirational to traders, it does a great job of setting up the world of stockbroking. Some of the instances that take place in the film may be familiar to traders.
While the world in the film is extremely descriptive and evocative, it also lays out clear demarcations for how one should practice trading. The Wolf of Wall Street is a film about what not to do as a trader, if you will.
In that sense, it can be extremely inspirational as it shows you a window into what can be a very murky world. The lesson is to keep your head on your shoulders and trade honestly, though with passion and attentiveness.
If nothing else, the determination and wit of the characters, even if they engage in illegal activities that must not be condoned, can be some kind of inspiration. It is only a matter of channeling it right.
Trading Places is a 1983 comedy film starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. The film is a humorous take on society and opportunities. Brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke decide to switch the fortunes of two individuals as part of a nature versus nurture experiment.
Aykroyd, who works at the Dukes‘ firm is fired and Murphy, a homeless person who had once been accused of robbery by the former, is hired in Aykroyd’s place and patronized by the Dukes.
Chaos ensues and the film goes through various events, including an excitement-filled climax where the Dukes are given a taste of their own medicine by the men they were experimenting on.
Through sharp business acumen and innovation, the two men manage to transform their fortunes and leave the two Dukes bankrupt by making a timely intervention on a trade.
Overnight, the two are able to change their fortunes, displaying the wonders that having a strategy on the trading floor can do. While it is considered one of the finest American comedies, the film can also be great for traders looking for inspiration to turn their fortunes through innovation.
The film carries with it a spirit of entrepreneurship and taking your destiny into your own hands. The two Dukes are smugly playing with the lives of these individuals, but the real twist is how the two individuals who have been roped into this experiment without their consent use the trading floor to fight back and reclaim their agency.
Boiler Room is a 2000 crime drama directed by Ben Younger, starring Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi and Nia Long. The film follows the journey of a college dropout from Queens who gets a job as an investment broker where he makes a lot of money until he manages to unearth the scam his new employers are running.
The film‘s plot is full of deception, corruption and all the various ways in which people can illegally tweak the stock market rules to make a profit. While none of those things should be an inspiration for any trader, the film has several lessons to offer to those who want to keep their head up in the business of trading and make an honest day’s salary.
There are several practices you can identify in the film that you may want to steer clear of. No matter how lucrative the stock market can be, at the same time, it can also be a place full of deception and schemes that seem alluring at first but can land you in a lot of trouble in the long run.
The film warns against many such trappings of the market and can be an inspirational film for novice traders to watch.
Two for the Money
Starring the Godfather himself Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, Two for the Money is a 2005 sports drama film directed by DJ Caruso, that can be quite entertaining and in many parts inspirational for a trader.
In the film, a college athlete sustains an injury that ends his sporting career. However, he gets together with the head of a sports consulting company in the United States and together they mint a lot of money through sports analysis, forecasts and rubbing shoulders in the betting circuit.
The film goes through the ups and downs of sports trading, is full of adrenaline and, of course, a few valuable lessons that every trader must take home—such as doing your research before every trade instead of relying solely on a feeling or an instinct.
Though the film did not perform too spectacularly at the box office, it has certainly gripped the imagination of traders and is a great film to watch if only for the graph of a high stakes job.
Traders will recognize the adrenaline that comes with their profession and how one can perform, even excel under pressure. If you happen to be a trader as well as a sports fan, this film is likely to be doubly enjoyable.
Glengarry Glen Ross
Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1992 Hollywood drama film adapted from a 1984 play of the same name. Directed by James Foley, the film has several big names to boast of, such as Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey and Jack Lemmon, to name only a few.
The plot of the film pans out over two days in a real estate office in a big American metropolitan (presumably New York based on the visuals, though the play is set in Chicago, Illinois).
Four real estate salesmen in the office are provided with leads they must follow up with and close deals on by the end of the month. The threat of job security looms large as they are told only two salesmen will survive by the end of the ordeal, the remaining will be fired.
The name of the film is borrowed from the Glengarry leads, which is the code for the most lucrative and promising real estate leads—the top prize that the salesmen are competing for. The film depicts the various methods the salesmen take to close in on their leads and secure their jobs.
Though this is not a film about trading, it certainly captures the spirit of hustling that is required for one to perform well as a trader. There is a heightened sense of competition among the salesmen, talk of life, morality and the sheer desperation one must need to close a real estate deal, though the client should never be able to suspect this desperation. Similarly, for traders, this determination is a requirement but it must be played out with tact.
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