There’s a good reason movies and television have become so popular in our everyday lives. Films have a better way of conveying messages and stories that textbooks cannot. From documentaries, fictional stories, and more, we now have the ability to use our free time in a way that can often be informative.
The following list spans the gambit of business films available today. Though most titles can be found on the list of available Netflix movies, there is also a chance you may find some on Amazon Prime or any other streaming service you typically use.
So whether you’re looking for a competitive edge at the office, inspiration for your own start-up, or seeking a deeper understanding of the nuances surrounding the failures and success stories of big brands, you’re in the right place. Below are our 15 best business movies on Netflix and beyond..
Each movie on our list, fictional or based on true events, tells a compelling story with valuable insights from finance to management and the challenges of doing business with integrity in one’s personal life and professional life.
15 Best Business Movies on Netflix and Beyond
This list encompasses the movies you will find listed in this article. Though many of the stories share key takeaways about the financial crisis and the business world at large, they are not listed in any particular order.
Venture capitalism and the role it plays in nurturing and fueling some of the biggest brands we know today. The story is an insightful education on the start, development, and growth of the venture capital industry. The main characters are a list of industry experts from the corporate world.
Director: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Starring: The documentary features interviews with various venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, including Arthur Rock, Tom Perkins, Don Valentine, Nolan Bushnell, Gordon Moore, Jimmy Treybig, Bill Bowes, Sandy Lerner, Reid Dennis, Franklin “Pitch” Johnson
RT: The movie has an 88% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Thanks to the internet, how money works and moves through our society has changed in many ways. One of those new avenues is crowdfunding. This story takes a look at how the concept of crowdfunding came about and how it can be used and has been used to fund the start-up of many products and businesses. This film captures the innovation of the entrepreneurial spirit necessary to succeed in the world of business.
Director: Jørg M. Kundinger and Timon Birkhofer
Starring: The documentary features interviews with various entrepreneurs and crowdfunding experts, including Brian Fargo, Zach Crain, Jackson Robinson, Fred Graver, Max Temkin, Emily Best, John Coveyou
RT: 80% critic approval
This 2011 original film explores the financial crisis of 2007-2008 within a gripping 24-hour window. This story offers more profound insight into the dynamics of some of New York City’s most prominent financial institutions and the lengths they will go to in order to protect their company above all else. Aside from the peek into the higher reaches of the financial world, this well-written and star cast did an excellent job making a rather gripping drama and entertaining watch.
Director: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci
RT: 87% approval rating from critics and 80% audience score
The Big Short
Also, based on the actual events leading up to the 2008 housing bubble and financial crisis. This story shows, in hindsight, how reckless and obvious the housing market bubble was to the select few looking at the correct indicators.
Though covering essentially the same topic as Margin Call, this story takes a completely different approach and perspective to tell the story. With an equally star-studded cast, The Big Short is another excellent watch for anyone interested in understanding investing and how the financial markets work on a high level.
Hopefully, both movies will be viewed as a cautionary tale of history unworthy of repeating. But if there is any common thread woven throughout the list of movies, it is that greed will likely always get the better of us.
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
RT: 88% Critic approval
The Social Network
A film that explores the founding of Facebook and the rise of its creator, Mark Zuckerberg. The film delves into several business concepts, including entrepreneurship, innovation, networking, and the challenges of scaling a startup. This film also highlights the challenges of securing the rights and ownership of a person’s idea. It’s hard to avoid putting this film on any list of best movies when it received an Academy Award nomination in eight categories.
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer
RT: 96% Critic approval
A more lighthearted look at the world of startups headed by young entrepreneurs and the leadership challenges they face. This film is great for insights into interpersonal work dynamics and some suitable life lessons too. Though not based on a particular business, the film is relatable and similar to many stories regarding the pressures of young success.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro
RT: 60% Critic approval
The Pursuit of Happyness
A story of true grit and determination that received the Best Picture nomination upon its release. This biographical drama is based on the story of Chris Gardner’s journey from homelessness to becoming a successful stockbroker. The film portrays Gardner’s relentless pursuit of a better life for himself and his son, showcasing the sacrifices and challenges he faces along the way. The film highlights the value of hard work, networking, and seizing opportunities as key factors in achieving professional success and overcoming adversity. This heartfelt story will undoubtedly leave you feeling inspired and motivated to pursue your dreams.
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
RT: 67% Critic approval
Wolf of Wall Street
Another Best Picture nominee. This story is based on the professional and personal life of former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who rose to immense wealth and success but indulged in a life of excess, greed, and corruption. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, the movie portrays his rapid ascent in the world of finance, fueled by unscrupulous practices and a hedonistic lifestyle. It’s important to note that the film primarily focuses on the negative aspects of business but does offer some key takeaways and cautionary tales of salesmanship and persuasion, corporate culture, and leadership.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill
RT: 78% Critic approval
Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1
The 2022 documentary looks to uncover why a brand with a phenomenal growth of 65 million in just 18 months soon unraveled and all but disappeared from the world of basketball.
Director: Kevin Wilson Jr.
Starring: The documentary includes a list of various personalities, including the AND1 co-founders.
RT: N/A at the time of publication
White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch
This movie explores what happens when brand image and company culture go too far. This film covers the discriminatory hiring practices used by Abercrombie and Fitch and how they profited off an extreme form of exclusivity.
Director: Alison Klayman
Starring: The cast is filled with dozens of notable figures, from journalists and activists to former AF models, employees, celebrities, and more.
RT: 64% from critics
Andre & His Olive Tree
This documentary is more like an art film in reverence for a fantastic legacy of excellence in the food and beverage industry. The film follows chef Andre Chiang as he announces to his team that he will be closing the two-star Michelin restaurant. Why is he closing the restaurant? Why give it all up when you’re so near the top of an otherwise cutthroat industry? As the story unfolds, some of these questions are still left without definitive answers, making this movie a stark contrast from the cautionary tale of greed in so many of the other films on this list.
Director: Josiah Ng
Starring: André Chiang, Sudarampai ‘Pam’ Chiang
RT: N/A at the time of publication
A biographical drama that explores the business concepts behind the success story of the fast-food chain McDonald’s. The film delves into the story and life of Ray Kroc, a struggling milkshake machine salesman who sees the potential in the innovative fast-food operation created by the McDonald brothers. The movie explores key business concepts such as entrepreneurship, franchising, operational efficiency, brand building, and the challenges of business partnerships and negotiations. It offers insights into the complexities of building a successful business empire and the ethical dilemmas that can arise along the way.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch
RT: 80% Critic approval rating
Dolly Parton: Here I am
In this documentary, audiences get a glimpse inside the world of renowned musician Dolly Parton. Since she was a young woman, she has built a successful brand and empire, encompassing music, entertainment, merchandise, and philanthropy. When it comes to developing a personal brand, few have done it more flawlessly than Dolly, and before the age of social media, too. Branding, entrepreneurship, strategic partnerships, and leveraging personal talent and authenticity for business growth are just a few of the themes throughout the film.
Director: Francis Whately
Starring: Dolly Parton
RT: N/A at the time of publication
Self Made: The Story of Madame CJ Walker
This film chronicles the life of Sarah Breedlove, later known as Madam C.J. Walker, the first self-made female millionaire in the United States. The story delves into several business concepts, including entrepreneurship, resilience, branding, and salesmanship. It showcases Walker’s journey as she develops and markets a line of hair care products specifically for Black women, leveraging her personal experiences and identifying an untapped market. The series explores the challenges she faces as an African-American woman in a predominantly white business world, highlighting the importance of perseverance and determination in overcoming adversity and building a successful enterprise.
Director: Kasi Lemmons, DeMane Davis
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo
RT: 64% Approval from critics
Examine the life and work of attorney Gloria Allred, a prominent women’s rights activist and legal advocate. This documentary is a crash course in several business concepts, including advocacy, branding, media strategy, and the power of storytelling. It showcases Allred’s approach to using the legal system as a tool for social change, fighting for gender equality and justice for her clients. The documentary also delves into Allred’s public persona and how she strategically utilizes media attention to amplify her causes and build her reputation. Through Allred’s story, the film offers insights into the intersection of law, activism, and media in driving social and business impact.
Director: Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman
Starring: Gloria Allred
RT: 74% Critic approval
I hope you have enjoyed our list of top business movies. It is worth mentioning that there are a number of Netflix TV shows about business that offer valuable insights.
Sometimes, the shorter format of an episode can be easier to fit into your busy personal life. Some of the series mentioned below are new releases, while others are classics but still relevant today. Make sure to save this list of movies and TV shows for your next night of binge-watching Netflix.
Business Docuseries worth checking out
The Playbook: A coaches Rules for Life
How to Get Rich
Work What We Do All Day
Seven Days Out
Abstract: The Arf of Design
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.