Trading Tips

The best movies about trading and investing

If you don't know what to do with your free time on Easter and want to take a break from studying charts for a few days, we can recommend a few interesting trading/investing movies that you should definitely watch.

Right off the bat, want to note, that we've intentionally left classics like Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street, which we hope everyone has seen, off our list.

Boiler Room

A little brother to much better known films like Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street, while the practices of fraudulent companies are not presented in such a "polished" way. However, for people who have experience working in similar firms, this is a great film that shows in a somewhat more civil (but perhaps all the more realistic) way the practices of smaller brokerage firms that sold worthless stock to ordinary people. What this film has in common with the much better known films mentioned above is that it is also inspired by Jordan Belfort, from The Wolf of Wall Street, and the characters in the film watch the film Wall Street in one scene.

The Big short

Certainly one of the best films, it shows in an attractive way, supported by very good performances by the star cast, what led to the 2008 financial crisis and why its effects were so significant and affected so many people. One of the main characters in the film is Michael Burry, a well-known investor who made his name shorting instruments tied to subprime mortgages.

Dumb Money

One of the most recent films to tackle financial markets is Dumb Money, from 2023, which follows the incredible story of Keith Gill, an investor and analyst at MassMutual, who had a $53,000 position in GameStop stock in 2019 that he thought was undervalued. It was his videos on social media that are considered the start of a mania, in which small investors were eventually able to beat the big hedge funds that shorted GameStop's title in 2021. At its peak, the value of Gill's investment was nearly $50 million.

Inside Job

It is not a feature film, but it does give you a lot more information about what was behind the 2008 financial crisis. Although it is a subject that few people understand, in this film it is presented through the mouth of Matt Damon in such a way that even a complete layman should understand how this giant financial mess came about. How was it possible for three small banks in Iceland to borrow three times the GDP of the whole of Iceland and get the highest credit rating? How could banks be created that were then 'too big to fail' and over which even the regulators had no leverage? How did the products with the cryptic name of Collateralized Debt Obligations work and how did the whole thing come crashing down like a house of cards? All this is presented here in a very clear and comprehensive way.

Margin Call

Another great film with a great cast. The film describes the beginning of the financial crisis in a very attractive way, this time from the point of view of a bank. The bank discovers, thanks to its analyst, that the real value of its speculative assets is at a level that, even with a small movement in price, could drive the bank into bankruptcy. Trying to rescue a bank knowing that traders are selling zero-value assets is an excellent illustration of how the zero-sum market, which is one of the fundamental characteristics of the financial derivatives market, works.

Rogue Trader

A bit old school, but still an interesting film about how one trader, Nick Leeson, who first tackled the bank's problems with bad trades and fraud, eventually brought one of the oldest merchant banks in the UK to its knees. The film follows the gradual transition from a trader who tried to solve his colleagues' problems and managed to make big money to a fraudster who abused his position, covered up his losing trades and whose losses eventually reached a staggering £827 million ($1.4 billion).

The Wizard of Lies

This film tells the story of Bernard Madoff, who ran perhaps the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of financial markets. The biggest positive is Robert De Niro's performance in the title role, but we don't learn much about the tactics of the fraudulent scheme from the film. The film is more of a psychological probe, charting the impact of the billionaire's downfall on himself and his family members, who apparently had no idea of his fraud for years.

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