On the whole, business has not really been celebrated by the
This is understandable. The truth about business – hard
work, slow progress, two steps forward and one step back – is not exactly high
If business is mentioned, it is usually in the context of
corruption – or some wealthy entrepreneur wanting to kill off James Bond very
There are, however, some honourable exceptions.
Given that film attendance may actually increase in
recession, and that some of us may soon have more time on our hands as the result
of the credit crunch, it seems a good time to suggest a few good business films
to watch. Who knows? They might give some ideas.
1 Trading Places: the
ultimate 80s film and the ultimate business film – get rich, and you get
Denholm Elliot as your butler and Jamie Lee Curtis as your girlfriend.
2 Glengarry Glen
Ross: whenever you are feeling demotivated, play Alec Baldwin’s
legendary “steak knives” speech to yourself.
3 Save the Tiger: a
depressing film, but the great Jack Lemmon captures what every entrepreneur has
felt, or will feel, at least once in his career.
4 Network: although
its blasphemous ending was unnecessary, Ned Beatty’s big speech is a masterly
analysis of global capitalism.
at the Gate: the ever-classy James Garner in a real-life story of a
mega-deal gone wrong – one feels this is how it really must have been.
Street: Michael Douglas’ infamous “greed is good” speech now sounds
doubly ironic in the light of recent events, but, listen to it closely - is it entirely wrong?
7 Working Girl: another
great film from the 80s, the decade when aspiration became cool.
To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying: makes one wonder why the
talented Robert Morse practically disappeared between this 60s film and
reappearing in the current 60s-set television series Mad Men, with which it has much in common.
9 Tin Men: an over-the-top –
and all too accurate – tribute to the testosterone-high world of sales.
10 The Big Kahuna:
a quiet, intelligent, well-cast meditation on business integrity.
11 The Boiler Room:
a deliberate homage to Glengarry Glen
Ross and Wall Street – half the
fun is spotting the references.
12 Office Space: a
clever satire, stolen by Gary Cole as the creepy boss with a bottomless cup of
13 Other People’s Money:
although the film was spoilt by a sentimental ending, Danny DeVito’s “Amen”
speech is a brilliant, ruthless defence of market forces.
14 The Hudsucker Proxy:
while we would never wish to imitate Charles Durning’s exit from a board
meeting, we know how he feels.
15 The Apartment: more a
movie with business as a setting than a business movie, but too charming to
The British gangster movie Stormy Monday is also not a business film in the strict sense, but
it is notable for one good bit of business advice – “Always keep your