We have a list of the 11 Greatest Wall Street Movies & Documentaries you need in your movie playlist. These movies have a good message as to how uncertain things can be in dealing with the stock market, and also how rewarding things can be if you play your cards right.
Add these to your Movie collection and inspired by the greatest Wall Street movies of our time.
The Top Wall Street Movies
Boiler Room (2000)
In a sentence: If you’ve ever worked in a job in sales or telemarketing, this should seem all too familiar to you.
Plot: Vin Diesel and Giovanni Ribisi as Long Island pump and dump brokers? Count us in. This classic flick showcases Ribisi’s rise to the top as he learns the ins-and-outs of operating in a boiler room out of Long Island. It’s very similar to Jordan Belfort‘s upbringing, minus the yachts and excessive drug use.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
In a sentence: “The leads are weak? You’re weak!” -Alec Baldwin
Plot: Glengarry Glen Ross takes place off of Wall Street but still deals with the incentives that salesman deal with, including bonuses and cars and how they’ll do anything to close the sale. Alec Baldwin is only in the movie for about 10 minutes but gives an speech that deserves an Oscar to a group of all-star actors including Jack Lemon, Kevin Spacey and Ed Harris.
Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
In a sentence: The film’s ability to tackle different New York City social classes is without question.
Plot: Originally a book by Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities targeted the Manhattan elite of the 1980s and their distance from the rest of the city. Tom Hanks, as the film’s lead, gets involved in an extramarital affair and, eventually, a tragic murder results. Remains excellent viewing to understand New York’s stratification today.
Rogue Trader (1999)
In a sentence: Faster paced British version of “Wall Street.”
Plot: Based on the real-life story of Barings Bank trader Nick Leeson, Ewan McGregor does a surprisingly awesome job of emulating the British wunderkind down to his addiction to fruit candies. While a relatively unsuccessful movie at the box office, Rogue Trader is entertaining.
Trading Places (1983)
In a sentence: No movie about Wall Street is funnier than the 1983 comedy “Trading Places.”
Plot: Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd are at their best as director John Landis tells the tale of how one man’s fall from Wall Street is another man’s blessing. Watching Murphy talk about futures and markets is hilarious and unparalleled in humor.
Wall Street (1987)
In a sentence: The classic Wall Street film.
Plot: Oliver Stone originally set out to depict the greed associated with Wall Street in the 1980s. Little did he know, it would go on to become one of the finest pieces of financial cinema ever created. Traders still go nuts for this movie and everyone loves Michael Douglas’ character Gordan Gekko, who is modeled partly after Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
In a sentence: Part 2 of the classic Wall Street, Gordon Gekko is released from jail to start a new life, does he start a new life or does he get caught up back in the spiralling world he created on Wall Street?
Plot: To take down a merciless finance executive, a young trader agrees to a disgraced Wall street legend’s proposal in exchange for the man to be reunited with his daughter, the trader’s fiancée.
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (2005)
In a sentence: One of the best documentaries ever made. Ever.
Plot: Enron: TSGITR tells the tale of Enron’s rise and fall from grace, including the strange tales of executives Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow, and Timothy Belden. This breathtaking movie also features interviews from former energy traders and hedge fund king Jim Chanos.
In a sentence: Brilliant… If you can find it.
Plot: Made in 1987 during the raging bull-market, this little-known documentary stars Paul Tudor Jones and chronicles his day-to-day life as an active investor. Jones uses techniques like historical chart reading, taken from Jesse Livermore, to predict the Black Monday crash on film. Even though it portrays Jones in a positive light, finding a (legitimate and legal) copy of this movie is nearly impossible to find as it’s rumored that Jones bought all 1000 copies in existence.
American Psycho (2000)
In a sentence: You’ll never look at business cards the same way again.
Plot: Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale in American Psycho, is the consummate Wall Street professional, beyond the fact that he’s losing his mind. Throughout the film Bateman utters some absolute classics, including a soliloquy on Phil Collins that likely changed his career for ever. The film also made ‘The Dorsia’ a catchphrase for an exclusive restaurant.
Quants: The Alchemists Of Wall Street (2010)
In a sentence: A rare look inside the minds of mathematical geniuses who have invented financial models that have both destroyed and made Wall Street.
Plot: Quants is 45-minute documentary on the inner-workings of quantitative analysts on Wall Street. If you’d like to watch it, it’s embedded below via YouTube.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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