Top 40 inspirational startup movies for entrepreneurs & founders

movies for entrepreneurs & startup founders
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A couple of months back we came up with a list of inspirational movies for women entrepreneurs, now we have come up with this even more extensive list of inspirational movies for entrepreneurs and startup founders which touch the realm of their hustle and consistency. So without further ado, I would like to take you through my list of best movies for entrepreneurs.

List of Motivational & inspirational movies for entrepreneurs

Whether you are a real estate business owner, a tech startup founder like e-commerce, investor, or running a deep-tech startup that runs over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, there’s at least one movie for you in the list below.

Disclaimer: The movies are not listed in any particular order or based on any ratings or metrics.

Wall Street (1987)

A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do something to get to the top, alongside buying and selling unlawful indoors records taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the young man underneath his wing. A personal favorite entrepreneur movie for the majority of the business and startup individuals across the globe.

Wall Street – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Stanley Weiser, Oliver Stone
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Tamara Tunie
IMDB Rating: 7.4

Watch Wall Street on Hotstar
Watch Wall Street on Google Play
Watch Wall Street on YouTube

Moneyball (2011)

A must watch for business data analysts. Billy Beane, the general manager of Oakland A feels handicapped with the lowest salary constraint in baseball. In an attempt to win the World Series, he finds a competitive advantage. Billy is about to turn baseball on its ear when he uses statistical data to analyze and place value on the players he picks for the team.

Moneyball – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Bennett Miller
Writers: Steven Zaillian (screenplay), Aaron Sorkin (screenplay)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill
IMDB Rating: 7.6

Watch Moneyball on YouTube
Watch Moneyball on Google Play

Catch me if you Can (2002)

Frank Abagnale (Leonardi DiCaprio) is an infamous con artist who steals millions of dollars from people with his masterful artwork of deception. To stop him Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) steps on a trail to take him down.

Catch me if you can – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Jeff Nathanson (screenplay), Frank Abagnale Jr. (book) (as Frank W. Abagnale)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
IMDB Rating: 8.1

Watch Catch me if you can on Netflix
Watch Catch me if you can on Amazon Prime

The Social Network (2010)

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) creates a Social Networking Website Facebook with the help of his buddy Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). However, a spate of lies and secrets tears the relationship of the creators of the platform that connects people.

The Social Network – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: David Fincher
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
IMDB Rating: 7.7

Watch Social Network on Netflix

The Founder (2016)

Ray, a salesperson, meets the owners of McDonald, a burger joint in Southern California. He realises the capacity of the location and comes to a decision to turn it into the biggest restaurant business in the world.

The Founder – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Robert Siegel
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch
IMDB Rating: 7.2

Watch The Founder on Hotstar

Office Space (1999)

Office Space is a 1999 American Comedy Film written and directed by Mike Judge. It satirizes the regular work lifestyles of an average mid-to-overdue-1990s software enterprise, focusing on a handful of people fed up with their jobs. You’d really connect with this if you run a coworking space business or work from one.

Office Space – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Mike Judge
Writers: Mike Judge (Milton animated shorts), Mike Judge (screenplay)
Cast: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman
IMDB Rating: 7.7

Watch Office Space on iTunes (2001)

Startup.Com is a 2001 American Documentary Film about the Media Company, which raised $60 million funding from Hearst Interactive Media, KKR, the New York Investment Fund, and Sapient. The film portrays the genesis and failure of the company. This movie has the potential to make you take failures with positivity. – Director, Cast & Rating:

Directors: Chris Hegedus, Jehane Noujaim
Cast: Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman, Kenneth Austin
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Twelve Angry Man (1957)

This courtroom drama tells the tale of a jury of 12 men who plan the conviction of an 18-year antique defendant on the premise of affordable doubt, forcing the jurors to question their morals and values.

Twelve Angry Man – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Sidney Lumet
Writers: Reginald Rose (story), Reginald Rose (screenplay)
Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
IMDB Rating: 8.9

The Big Short (2015)

The film is based on the 2010 book ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ by Michael Lewis which basically revolves around how the financial crisis of 2007–2008 were triggered by the United States housing bubble.

The Big Short – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Charles Randolph (screenplay by), Adam McKay (screenplay by)
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling
IMDB Rating: 7.8

Watch The Big Short on Netflix
Watch The Big Short on YouTube
Watch The Big Short on Google Play

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Nominated for the best picture in 2014 Academy Awards, the Wolf of Wall Street is a comedy-crime film that revolves around the real story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a stockbroker in the New York City and how his company Stratton Oakmont engaged in rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street.

Wolf of Wall Street – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
IMDB Rating: 8.2

Watch Wolf of Wall Street on Google Play
Watch Wolf of Wall Street on YouTube

Rogue Trader (1999)

The film features the story of Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), an ambitious investment broker who singlehandedly bankrupted one of the oldest and most important banks in Britain.

Rogue Trader – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: James Dearden
Writers: James Dearden, Nick Leeson (autobiography)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Yves Beneyton
IMDB Rating: 6.4

Lord of War (2005)

The film is a good example of a character possessing great leadership capabilities. The movie features Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), an illegal arms dealer who leverages a great business deal in an attempt to end the Cold War and worldwide terrorism.

Lord of War – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto
IMDB Rating: 7.6

Watch Lord of War on iTunes

Boiler Room (2000)

A university drop-out gets a job as a dealer in an investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to fulfilment. However, his success clouds his judgement, drawing him into corruption and greed.

Boiler Room – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Ben Younger
Writer: Ben Younger
Stars: Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Watch Boiler Room on iTunes

Fyre (2019)

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is a 2019 American documentary film about Billy McFarland and the failed FYRE Festival of 2017.

Fyre – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Chris Smith
Stars: Billy McFarland, Jason Bell, Gabrielle Bluestone
IMDB Rating: 7.2

Watch FYRE on Netflix

Jerry McGuire (1996)

After getting fired from his job for exposing the alleged illegal practices, Sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) starts his own company. However, he manages to find only a single client.

Jerry McGuire – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger
IMDB Rating: 7.3

Watch Jerry MacGuire on YouTube
Watch Jerry MacGuire on Google Play

Something Ventured (2011)

Something Ventured plot revolves around the venture capitalists who worked with entrepreneurs to start and build big companies like Apple, Intel, Genentech, Cisco, Atari, Tandem, and others.

Something Ventured – Director, Cast & Rating:

Directors: Daniel Geller (co-director), Dayna Goldfine (co-director)
Stars: Bill Bowes, Herbert Boyer, Po Bronson
IMDB Rating:

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based on the true story of Chris Gardner played by Will Smith who takes up an unpaid internship in a brokerage firm after he loses his life’s profits selling a product he invested in. His spouse leaves him and he is left with the custody of his son played by Jaden Smith.

The Pursuit of Happyness – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Writer: Steve Conrad (as Steven Conrad)
Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
IMDB Rating: 8.0

Watch The Pursuit of Happyness on Netflix
Watch The Pursuit of Happyness on SonyLIV

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

The movie highlights the stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs starring Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates – changing people’s lives.

Pirates of Silicon Valley – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Martyn Burke
Writers: Paul Freiberger (book), Michael Swaine (book)
Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Noah Wyle, Joey Slotnick
IMDB Rating: 7.3

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

A must watch for sales professionals and real estate business owners. Starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin, The movie features the story of salesmen working in a real estate firm. After getting the unfortunate news about the dismissal of employment of all employees except the top two, Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) who has a sick daughter, struggles his way to get the best leads for the firm to save his employment.

Glengarry Glen Ross – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: James Foley
Writers: David Mamet (based on the play by), David Mamet (screenplay by)
Stars: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin
IMDB Rating: 7.8

Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Produced by Elon Musk, the film features the story of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), a lobbyist for the cigarette business, struggles to explain the nature of his work to his 12-year-old son while trying to be a role model to him.

Thank You for Smoking – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Jason Reitman (screenplay), Christopher Buckley (novel)
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello
IMDB Rating: 7.6

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

For anyone anxious about starting their first corporate job or too apprehensive about taking on new and difficult challenges, The Devil Wears Prada is a must-watch. You see how unremarkable Andy (Anne Hathaway) is in many ways. At the same time, you see how resilient she is every time she’s made to feel like an outcast. She adapts herself to the new environment presented to her and eventually manages to succeed. Its conclusion is also a good lesson on staying grounded and not letting even a small amount of success get to your head.

The Devil Wears Prada – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: David Frankel
Writers: Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay), Lauren Weisberger (novel)
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Adrian Grenier
IMDB Rating: 6.9

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)

A must watch for media and advertising entrepreneurs, the movies outlines the story of an advertising executive who builds a creative block and then grows a boil on his neck that develops into a second, talking head that takes over him.

P.S.- If you really think that the release dated 1989 makes this movie and old prune in todays high-tech digital marketing world, you are wrong, since the marketing concepts and basic framework never changes and it is all about studying human behaviour.

How to Get Ahead in Advertising – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Bruce Robinson
Writer: Bruce Robinson
Stars: Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson
IMDB Rating: 6.9

Joy (2015)

Joy is about an outspoken young woman who fiercely charges at her dreams. She is ready to take on the several challenges a life of entrepreneurship is going to entail. She manages to find humour despite the challenges life throws at her. Also, it is a movie that showcases the realistic and plain life of movie stars. While the plot may not necessarily seem compelling it is a must-watch for Lawrence’s performance alone.

Joy – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell (screenplay), Annie Mumolo (story)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
IMDB Rating: 6.6

The Commitments (1991)

Based on the novel of 1987 ‘The Commitments’ by Roddy Doyle, the movie tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), a young music fanatic who assembles a group of working-class youths to form a band named ‘The Commitments’.

The Commitments – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Alan Parker
Writers: Roddy Doyle (novel), Dick Clement (screenplay)
Stars: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball
IMDB Rating: 7.6

The Aviator (2004)

The movies is a biopic of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), a legendary director and aviator. The movie features his early life years and career from the 1920s to mid-1940s.

The Aviator – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: John Logan
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
IMDB Rating: 7.5

Two for the Money (2005)

Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey), a former college football star after sustaining a career-ending injury, takes a job handicapping football games. His success at choosing winners catches the eye of Walter Abrams (Al Pacino), the slick head of one of the biggest sports consulting operations in the United States. Walter takes Brandon under his wing, and soon they are making tremendous amounts of money.

Two for the Money – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Al Pacino, Rene Russo
IMDB Rating: 6.3

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)

A must watch for sales professionals and business owners working in the automotive sector. The movie tells the story of Ben Selleck’s (James Brolin) car dealership, in Temecula, California, is failing and he is forced to hire a mercenary, Don Ready (Jeremy Piven). They have 211 cars to sell over the 4th of July weekend. Don’s team of Babs (Kathryn Hahn), Jibby (Ving Rhames), and Brent (David Koechner) promise Ben that they will make the dealership a profit after the weekend.

P.S.- No this movie is not only for inspiring the sales guys, but and entrepreneur movie entirely.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Neal Brennan
Writers: Andy Stock, Rick Stempson
Stars: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ving Rhames, David Koechner
IMDB Rating: 5.8

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Many may disagree but the truth is – everything gets tougher when you are a woman. It is for that reason that Erin Brockovich has made it to this list. You see how the odds are always against her favour. How being a broke single mom just exacerbates the situation. But she always fights back. She is manipulative and aggressive and is able to get what she wants. These are the skills that make an entrepreneur.

Erin Brockovich – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Susannah Grant
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
IMDB Rating: 7.3

Any Given Sunday (1999)

The American sports drama film directed by Oliver Stone, partially based on the novel ‘On Any Given Sunday’, tells the story of the Miami Sharks, a great football team’s attempt to build an organisation called Associated Football Franchises of America (AFFA).

Any Given Sunday – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Daniel Pyne (screen story), John Logan (screen story)
Stars: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz
IMDB Rating: 6.9

Trading Places (1983)

An American comedy film telling the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet. I won’t write more about it since it can bite off the climax.

Trading Places – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: John Landis
Writers: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy
IMDB Rating: 7.5

Generation Startup (2016)

The Generation Startup film brings together the struggles of six graduates who put everything on the line to build their startups. Directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Miller Houser, the film celebrates risk-taking, urban revitalization, and diversity while delivering a vital call-to-action-with entrepreneurship at a record low, the country’s economic future is at stake.

It really broke my heart when I saw the IMDB rating of Generation Startup, I hope one day the ‘Startup Movies’ culture will boom up and young people will start recognising the importance of this movie.

Generation Startup – Director, Cast & Rating:

Directors: Cheryl Miller Houser (co-director), Cynthia Wade (co-director)
Stars: Dextina Booker, Kate Catlin, Avery Hairston
IMDB Rating: 6.7

The Great Hack (2019)

If you are a data analyst then you ought to watch this. Based on the very recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The movie features the stories and work of Prof. David carrol (former business development director, Cambridge Analytica), and a British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr who make an attempt to expose the doings of Cambridge Analytica in the politics including UK’s Brexit and US elections, 2016.

The Greek Hack – Director, Cast & Rating:

Directors: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim
Writers: Karim Amer, Erin Barnett
Stars: Brittany Kaiser, David Carroll, Paul-Olivier Dehaye
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Steve Jobs (2015)

The title states it all. The very much appreciated and celebrated movie, directed by the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, brings together all the pieces of the real-life story of Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Walter Isaacson (book)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen | See full cast & crew
IMDB Rating: 7.2

The Startup Kids (2012)

I found it really inspiring and motivational. The Startup Kids is an hour-long documentary of young technology entrepreneurs of the US and Europe. The movie brings together the lives of various entrepreneurs on account of their respective companies. It includes interviews with notable startup founders and investors including Tim Draper, a venture capitalist and MG Siegler, currently a general partner at Google Ventures, and a columnist on TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

The Startup Kids – Director, Cast & Rating:

Directors: Vala Halldorsdottir, Sesselja Vilhjalmsdottir
Stars: Trip Adler, Alexa Andrzejewski, Mike Butcher
IMDB Rating: 6.7

Margin Call (2011)

The film highlights the actions of a group of employees for a 24-hour period during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 – accompanied by great casting including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci.

Margin Call – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Stars: Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey
IMDB Rating: 7.1

Flash of Genius (2008)

The story focuses on Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear) and his legal battle against the Ford Motor Company after they developed an intermittent windshield wiper based on the ideas patented by Robert.

Flash of Genius – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Marc Abraham
Writers: Philip Railsback, John Seabrook (article)
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Alan Alda
IMDB Rating: 7.0

The Call of the Entrepreneur (2007)

Haven’t created a lean canvas or a roadmap for your startup yet, better watch The Call of the Entrepreneur first. The movie brings together the stories of three entrepreneurs: A failing dairy farmer in rural Evart, Michigan A merchant banker in New York City A refugee from Communist China Reverend Robert Sirico, author of The Entrepreneurial Vocation, joins Michael Novak, George Gilder and other experts in exploring how entrepreneurs shape our world.

This is my favorite startup movie and I’ve witnessed a strong similarity between The Call of the Entrepreneur and TVF Pitchers series.

The Call of the Entrepreneur – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Simon Scionka
Writer: Jonathan Witt (scriptwriter)
Stars: Ed O’Brien, Peter Boettke, George Gilder
IMDB Rating: 7.3

E-Dreams (2001)

The real story of the rise and fall of the e-commerce startup that utilised bike messengers to deliver products ordered online within an hour.

E-Dreams – Director, Cast & Rating:

Director: Wonsuk Chin
Stars: Joseph Park, Yong Kang, Thoeger Hansen
IMDB Rating: 6.8

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

A documentary movie based on the book of the same name, taking you through a study of one of the largest Business Scandals in American history.

Enron – Director, Cast & Rating

Director: Alex Gibney
Writers: Alex Gibney, Bethany McLean (book)
Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer
IMDB Rating: 7.6

Watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room on Netflix

Over to you…

Did any other movies inspire you as an entrepreneur or startup founder? Or do you want to share your list of inspirational movies for entrepreneurs which we can add to the above list of entrepreneur movies? You are welcome to share your favorite entrepreneur movies and thoughts in the comments below.

Last updated on 19 Feb 2020

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About the author


M Haseeb

Co-founder & CEO of LAFFAZ Media. A tech enthusiast, digital marketer and critical thinker. Has helped over 50 Indian startups by building digital marketing strategies.

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